Buccaneers G.M. thinks he drafted three first-rounders this year


Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht took some heat for trading into the second round to take a kicker.

But part of the reason Licht didn’t mind is that he thought Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo was a first-round talent. Then again, Licht’s confident in his drafts as a whole, as he thinks he ended up with three first-rounders this year and seven the last two years.

In an interview with Scott Reynolds of Pewter Report, Licht explained that they had first-round grades on not just cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, but defensive end Noah Spence and Aguayo as well. Coupled with four players from last year’s draft he had rated that highly (quarterback Jameis Winston, left tackle Donovan Smith, guard Ali Marpet and linebacker Kwon Alexander), the Bucs think they struck it rich.

We think we got four last year,” Licht said. “That’s the goal – to get multiple first-round draft picks each year. When it’s all said done, to look back and say, ‘We got multiple first-round picks in this draft’ – that was the goal.”

Of course, it’s possible that Licht just values the guys he chooses differently than others. But of the lot of them, the one that would raise the most eyebrows is Aguayo, not because he’s a bad kicker, but because he’s a kicker and they traded up to get him.

By picking up an extra fourth-rounder by trading down with the Bears, the Bucs had the ammunition to make the move for the Florida State kicker. And even though he got what he thought was a first-rounder with last year’s fourth, not everyone is so successful, and Licht pointed to those numbers.

“In the 2005-15 drafts in the fourth rounds, there were 390 players drafted in the fourth round,” Licht said. “Twenty percent of those went on to become starters or Darren Sproles-type players. I consider Sproles as a starter even though he doesn’t really start. He’s a key player. Thirty-seven percent are career backups like Louis Murphy.

“Forty-three percent are out of the league, and 27 percent of those never logged a game in the NFL. You have a better chance of getting a guy in the fourth round that is never going to see a game than you do to get a starter.”

If you go by that logic, his move makes a degree of sense, but it’s clear that the Bucs were also trusting their guts on this one. When they’re all first-round talents, you might as well.

24 responses to “Buccaneers G.M. thinks he drafted three first-rounders this year

  1. .
    Licht opened himself up to a storm of controversy by drafting Aguayo. He’s going to be on display every week and people are going to expect a Gostkowski / Vinatieri type performance on day one.

    It may seem extravagant to draft a 2nd round kicker, however having a reliable placekicker gives confidence to your entire offense

  2. It’s easy to have a great draft on paper when you’re picking early every round….trick is to do it when you pick last every round

  3. We’ll know in a few years if he’s right.
    Of course he will probably be gone by then.

  4. Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson would disagree with you on 4th round:

    Josh Sitton
    TJ Lang
    Mike Daniels
    David Bakhtiari
    JC Tretter
    Edgar Bennett
    Josh Bidwell
    Na’il Diggs
    Brady Poppinga
    Will Blackmon

    Two GMs kept their teams consistently competitive and sometimes champions despite consistent low picks because they won all the time. Our fourth rounders produced more stars then Cleveland’s overall drafts for the last 10 years. And that is too bad for Browns fans cause if anyone deserves better it is them

  5. @jonathankrobinson424, I’m pretty sure most people will forget about the kicker in a year or so, his legacy is tied in with Winston for sure. But even if everyone went back to picking a kicker in the 2nd rd. from what I’ve heard about the guy he wouldn’t care if the team was winning anyway.

  6. @Kelly’s Chronicles: Yeah, those 4th rounders were the reason you won consistently, not because of Favre and Rodgers. I get the point you’re trying to make, those aren’t bad players you listed, we all just grow tired of hearing what a genius Ted Thompson is, because he isn’t. Ron Wolf was a great GM, Thompson is average. Need proof? Just think back to when A-Rodge was hurt for a few games and the entire team was hot garbage. It’s easy for players to look better than they are when there’s a HOFamer manning the helm.

  7. His first 4 picks last year were all starters with 3 potential pro-bowlers. I expect at least 2 maybe 3 this year so I agree with him. For those still calling him a backstabber, even Ronde Barber is on record as saying it was the right move to can Lovie.

  8. I’m thinking Licht is an easy grader. If you give a first round grade to 70 players every year it’s pretty easy to get 3 or 4 “1st rounders” every year. Will be fun to look back at how many multi-year starters (for other teams) that he passed on to pick a kicker in round 2.

  9. Really hoping jdphx was just having math-fun with all of us or it’s a “shake my head” moment for humanity. 20% starters; 37% career backups; 43% out of the NFL (with 27% never found the NFL field of THOSE last 43%).

  10. 2014 – Mike Evans, Sefarian Jenkins, Charles Sims.
    all starters.
    2015 – Winston, D Smith, Marpet, Kwon…all starters
    2016 – VH3, Spence, Aguoyo. All starters

    Bash him all you want, but his track record since day 1 has been great.

  11. I’m sure they also drafted a long snapper they felt was right on the cusp of a first round grade, he just didn’t want to brag.

  12. Every GM thinks they got good picks or they wouldn’t have picked them. Winston was legit #1 pick last year, and Hargreaves was a easy first round talent. Those were the only picks I thought were first round type guys. In 2014 I loved Mike Evans, and I thought the RB Sims was a steal. Anyone can become a starter on a bad team, so I can’t judge by that. Let’s see how the wins and losses turn out.

  13. No, the goal is to put together a winning program. It doesn’t matter how many first round guys you got unless you win with them. Ryan Leaf and Trent Richardson were first round guys, that doesn’t mean much..

  14. win games with your kicker, not just survive them. not drafted a round too high; trading picks questionable. Go Bears.

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