Before the answer, we have questions

by Gary Shelton on April 26, 2022

in general

Bucs have to make a lot of decisions./JEFFREY S. KING

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

It doesn't sound hard, does it? It's like picking up teams. You pick this guy and you pass on that one. You pick tails over heads. You pick blue over red. You pick Manning over Leaf. Nothing to it.

You pick this player's size over that one's speed. You pick this one's 40-time over that one's. You pick this scout's advice over that one. Easy as pie.

But if you are Jason Licht, and you are going 27th in Thursday night's draft, there are a lot of questions (or more) to consider. At least 75.

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For instance:

  1. Are you really torn between a guard and a defensive tackle? Mind you, neither are considered in the premium positions (quarterback, edge rusher, left tackle, corner) unless player grades alter the rankings.

2-3. You've heard the whispers about Devonte Wyatt's off-the-field behavior? Wasn't Antonio Brown enough of a lesson?

4-6. What fun is going 27th? Should you trade up? And if so, for who?

7-8. More likely, should you trade down and make up for missing fifth- and sixth-round picks? But isn't that more about winning down the line than this season?

9-11. Given the cap relief that Tom Brady provided the team last week, are you likely to re-sign Rob Gronkowski? Ndamukong Suh? Jason-Pierre Paul?

Offensive Line

12. Are we positive Ali Marpet is sticking to this retirement deal?

13-14. Do you trade up to get Zion Johnson, who would immediately help protect the Bucs against the interior rushing game of other teams? Or do you stay put and take another guard?

15-16. Should it bother anyone that Zion Johnson is called a "phone booth player?" Didn't they say the same thing about Clark Kent?

17-18. If Kenyon Green really wants to impress the Bucs, shouldn't he prove that he has no relationship whatsoever with Kenyatta Walker? And instead of Texas A&M, shouldn't Green tell Jason Licht that he went to Slippery Rock?

18-19. Do the Bucs believe Aaron Stinnie can hold up for a whole year as a starting guard? And what does the team really think of Robert Hainsey?

20. Since Jason Licht has uncovered jewels later in the draft, is there any reason to take a lineman so early?

21. If center Tyler Linderbaum really has arms that are too short, will that affect his ability to play the piano?

22-23. How long were Charles McRae's arms? Inches?

Defensive End

24-25. Am I nuts to think this could be the Bucs' No. 1 pick? It's a premium position, and if the team doesn't re-sign Jason Pierre-Paul, a rotational slot is open. Can someone tell me again why Boye Mafe wouldn't be a fit?

26. Can David Ojabo call back when he's healthy?

27-28. No, I'm not smart. But is it bad that I keep getting Arnold Ebiketie mixed up with Kingsley Enagbare? Could Ikem Ekwonu please straighten me out?

29-32. Can the Bucs promise they won't draft Booker Reese again? Or Eric Curry? Or Gaines Adams? Or Regan Upshaw?

Defensive Tackle

33. If the Bucs decide not to re-sign Suh, who's going to tell him?

34. As long as Todd Bowles takes pride in stopping the run, you have to bet that Suh is coming back, don't you?

33. I see where Gerald McCoy likes Wyatt as the No. 1 draft pick. That's sure to help his popularity. Could McCoy be the least appreciated Pro Bowler the Bucs have ever had?

35-36. Where would UConn have been if not for Travis Jones? For that matter, where was it with him?

37-38. If you're looking for a name to remember, how about Perrion Winfrey in the second round? Or maybe Logan Hall (in a trade down to a high second round pick)?

39. If you're thinking that Logan Hall is a lot lighter than Suh, might that be the attraction, to get lighter and quicker?

40. Can the Bucs promise me they won't draft Brian Price again?


41-42. Aren't you weary of reading that Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean have contracts that expire after this year? The Bucs have no problem with expiring contracts, just expiring hopes. And after signing two safeties, aren't the odds of a safety coming kind of scarce?

43. Wouldn't it take an exceptional player (read: Andrew Booth) to make Licht cut a regular to make room for a rookie?

44. Would it be great to hear that the Bucs are altering their coverage plans this year to, in fact, have coverage plans?

45-46. Can the Bucs' promise not to draft Rod Jones? Or Sabby Piscitelli, for that matter?

Wide Receiver

47. I know it's a deep draft for receivers, but aren't the Bucs about 10 deep as it is? Any more, and Antonio Brown is tweeting that he's open.

48. One more time. Can someone explain Jaelon Darden to me?

49. Can the Bucs promise me they won't sign Alvin Harper as a free agent again?

Tight end

50. Can Tom Brady give Gronkowski permission to sign a contract already? The poor guy is waiting with pen in hand.

51. Is anyone else convinced that the Bucs will draft a tight end in the second or third round, depending on their board? There should be a run on tight ends in the second.

52. If the Bucs do draft a tight end, will he be able to live down to predecessors such as Austin Seferian-Jenkins and O.J. Howard?

53. If Gronk doesn't re-sign, is it too late for Jimmie Giles to make a comeback?


54. When it comes to Baker Mayfield, can the Bucs just say no?

55. When it comes to Deshaun Watson, can the Bucs just say "whew?"

56. Can we get a recount on last year's NFL MVP award?

57. Even when he was with the Bucs, did Chris Simms have a clue what was going on in the building?


58. Can the Bucs avoid trading up for a placekicker like Roberto Aguayo? That was a bad enough decision compounded by taking the wrong guy. (You could have defended it if he was a five-time Pro Bowler).

59. That said, I give the Bucs permission to draft Matt Araizia if they wind up with a sixth (or even fifth) round choice. Who's with me?

Running Back

60. Remember when you cared where a running back was picked? The Bucs might take one in the fourth round. Maybe not.

61. Why isn't there more focus on the departure of Ronald Jones? Maybe because he averaged 26.8 yards per game. That's not even three first downs. You could bring back Lars Tate at that clip.

Final Thoughts

62. Is there a better year to trade down? Unless a couple of players fall, you an get the same sort of value at, say, 35 as at 27. Still, trading down is like running from the talent.

63. Don't you wonder if the Jets will screw this up more than the Giants?

64. Don't you love fans who want to trade Darden and Kyle Trask for value? Really?

65. I saw one mock that had Detroit taking punter Matt Arazia late in the first round. Does Detroit love to punt that much? Yeah, maybe they do.

66. Is Mel Kiper paid by the word?

67. Can the Bucs draft Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks again?

68-69. What are the odds that Bruce Arians and Tom Brady get into a fistfight in the draft room? And even if they don't, what are the odds of Pro Football Talk saying they did?

70. Let's see: If the Bucs pick a defensive player first, it's because new head coach Todd Bowles insisted on it. If they pick an offensive player, it's because his boss, quarterback Tom Brady, overruled him.

71. Is Dexter Jackson still on the board?

72. Speaking of Wonderlic scores, I still like the prospect who colored on his.

73. What are the chances this turns out to be the best-ever Bucs' draft pick? Not good. So far, I'd rate those as: 1. Derrick Brooks; 2. Lee Roy Selmon; 3. Ronde Barber; 4. John Lynch; 5. Mike Evan; 6. Lavonte David; 7. Paul Gruber; 8. Doug Williams; 9. Mike Alstott; 10. David Logan.

74. What are the chances this turns out to be the worst-ever draft pick? Not good. I'd rank those this way: 1. Booker Reese; 2. Dexter Jackson; 3. Roberto Aguayo; 4. Eric Curry; 5. Charles McRae; 6. Keith McCants; 7. Rod Jones; 8 Brett Moritz; 9. Gaines Adams; 10. Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

75. How many more good drafts until Licht is in the Ring of Honor?

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