General Manager Jason Licht meets with members of the media at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis - presented by Lazydays RV.
Exactly one year ago, the Buccaneers were searching for their quarterback of the future. Unlike most drafts, the two best players, many felt, both played that position. So, with the Bucs holding the top overall pick, naturally, General Manager Jason Licht spend a good deal of his time researching which passer to select.
Licht and the Bucs would select Jameis Winston, who went on to compile one of the best seasons by a rookie quarterback in NFL history. The player Licht and the Bucs selected second, Donovan Smith, started every game protecting Winston's blind side at left tackle. Licht has plenty of reasons to feel happy about that draft class, which also included starters Ali Marpet and Kwon Alexander, who the Bucs selected in the second and fourth rounds, respectively.
Head coach Dirk Koetter meets with members of the media at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis - presented by Lazydays RV.
But Licht admitted that, last year, he was so heavily invested in those first few picks that he didn't have an opportunity to dig as deep as he would have liked into the entire pool of college prospects. He relied heavily on his staff, which he praised during a press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday.
This year, he has a bit of a different role.
"I've been able to spend a lot more time watching players, different players, this time of year than I was last year," Licht said. "So that's good. Once again, I have a great staff. They'll have all that covered and will recommend to me the players that we should draft but I've been able to watch and get ahead of the game a little more instead of focusing on two players. I can focus on many, many more."
Licht will be without Jon Robinson, who served as the Bucs' Director of Player Personnel during his first two seasons in Tampa Bay. This offseason, Robinson was hired to be the Titans' GM. With Robinson gone, the Bucs added John Spytek to fill that role. Spytek was with the Broncos in 2015.
"I feel we have a great group, in both scouting and coaching," Licht said. "Including myself, we know when to stay in our lane. We know what our jobs are. If you accomplish that, which I think we have, then the chance of success goes up pretty high. It's not so much a challenge once you have the right people in place."
Workouts will begin at the Combine on Friday and will carry on until Monday. Running backs, offensive linemen and special teams players will begin their combines on Wednesday with media interviews, medical exams and measurements.