Skip to main content
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Presented by

Key Thoughts from Jason Licht at the 2023 Pre-Draft Press Conference & More | Brianna's Blitz 

General Manager Jason Licht spoke with the media on Thursday at the 2023 pre-draft press conference, and there are several key takeaways

Pre Draft Presser Apr 13

Draft boards are taking shape as the 2023 NFL Draft quickly approaches. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers currently own nine picks in this year's draft and although only General Manager Jason Licht and his personnel crew know what the team's strategies will be when the time strikes, Licht provided insight from the podium on Thursday at the AdventHealth Training Center. Here are a few takeaways from his afternoon address: 

Evaluation of Pass Rushers 

In a pass-centric league, players who can get after the quarterback are heavily sought after commodities each year for their ability to wreck a game. 2022 boasted an elite pass rush class, including three drafted in the top five picks: Travon Walker, Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux. Although this year's class is not as loaded with firepower, several are projected to go in the first round: Will Anderson Jr., Tyree Wilson, Lukas Van Ness, Nolan Smith and Myles Murphy. There is often a premium placed on sack numbers, however, stats are not always a true representation of production. Licht reinforced that sentiment on Thursday by describing his comprehensive and thorough evaluation of edge rushers, with an emphasis on the "whole thing." 

"So, you have to look to where the production comes from and you're not just looking at the sack numbers and the pressure numbers, you have to look at the whole play. There are some players that don't have great stats but we feel are tremendous pash rushers. For whatever reason the quarterback got out of the pocket before he could get there, or they're double-teaming him, or whatever the case may be. So, you've got to look at the whole thing."

Deep Tight End Class 

Tight end may not be the most pressing need for the Buccaneers in 2023 but it is arguably the strongest position group in this year's class. Six tight ends are projected to come off the board before the end of Day 2 – a rarity: Notre Dame's Michael Mayer (first), Utah's Dalton Kincaid (first), Oregon State's Luke Musgrave (first-second), Georgia's Darnell Washington (first-second), South Dakota State's Tucker Kraft (second) and Iowa's Sam LaPorta (second). The 2023 class not only owns a sure-fire first-round prospect, but also viable depth in the Day 2-3 range. Two-tight end sets are quickly becoming a staple in every pro-offensive playbook and this year's draft crop will serve as the beneficiaries. Licht offered his thoughts on this year's deep tight end class. 

"Yeah, it's probably one of the deepest [classes] it's been in at least 10 years… Cade could've had 100 catches last year and we'd still be looking at tight ends. We love the role that [tight end] Ko [Keift] has, and we love the role that Cade has, [but] it's always good to have more weapons."

O-Line Position 

With the departure of Donovan Smith and Shaq Mason, the Bucs are in need of offensive line depth. However, many other clubs around the league will be competing for the top prospects in the trenches, as well. Many appear to have a glaring need along the offensive line and at some point, if a domino effect ensues of linemen coming off the board, the Bucs or any team in the hunt may have to trade up in the first round. The group is headlined by Northwestern's Peter Skoronski, Ohio State's Paris Johnson Jr., Georgia's Broderick Jones, Tennessee's Darnell Wright and Oklahoma's Anton Harrison – all of whom are projected to go in Round One. Licht provided his thoughts on this year's group of offensive line prospects. 

"Tackles are very hard to find. There are a few good ones that we like that we've spent a lot of time on. It's a little bit more dominant from the beginning of the draft until the end of the draft this year, I think, with interior linemen. There are some very good ones there I think, too. We love our offensive linemen, so it's a position that quite possibly we would be addressing. But once again, we have a lot of in-house options, as well."

Running Back in the First Round? 

Once again, the annual debate materializes: should teams gamble with a running back in the first round given the wear and tear of the position? Despite the long-term concerns of durability and hesitancy by most pundits, there is a player this year that has caused controversy: Bijan Robinson. Robinson is the tantalizing package of both a rushing and receiving threat. With a rare blend of vision, power and suddenness, he consistently eludes defenders. When asked by reporters if he would be opposed to taking a running back in the first round, Licht candidly expressed his opinion. 

"No, not if you feel like it's going to be a special, special player… I think it has changed a little bit over the years in that regard. You ideally want to pick a player that is going to be on your roster – if you're picking high – for a decade. But, they're very few and far between. It's an offensive dominated league right now and you want as many playmakers as you can get."


  • There is one more week for football enthusiasts to apply for the Girls in Football Scholarship. If you love the game and want a career in sports, apply now! The scholarship is available to female high school seniors nationwide currently participating in a form of football (touch, flag, tackle, etc.) with aspirations to pursue a career in sports, have earned a minimum 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) during their high school academic career, and plan to enroll full-time at an accredited four-year college or university. The Buccaneers are the only NFL team to establish a scholarship of this kind, made possible through a $250,000 commitment by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation.
  • 2023 Buccaneers' season passes are on sale now! For Bucs' football fanatics, not only do season passes provide a seat at every home game at Raymond James Stadium but passes also come with an entire year of exclusive Krewe Member benefits including discounts at the team store and in-stadium concession stands, VIP access to Training Camp and the official Buccaneers Draft Party, and more. Click Here to select your seats and join the Krewe!

Related Content

win monthly prizes, download the app and turn on push alerts to score

Download the Buccaneers app and turn on push alerts for your chance to win

Latest Headlines