Bucs' First Three Draft Picks Loaded with Risk

The Buccaneers made some important picks in this year's draft, but trading up for a kicker might be the most important of all.

I'll admit, the Buccaneers draft left me with an uneasy feeling when it was all said and done. 

Individually, I was fine with the picks of Hargreaves, Spence, and even Aguayo. Whether you agreed with the pick of a kicker or not, Jason Licht placed high priority on getting Aguayo possibly as early as the beginning of last season. Aguayo was a top target, and Licht was not leaving this draft without acquiring who he feels is the best kicker in college football history.

"When you get a chance to get the best kicker in the history of college football, I didn’t want to risk it," Licht said. "I wanted to take him. I have a lot of confidence in him; I like the way he’s wired. I like the body of work that he’s put out there, obviously. A great kicker can be the difference in several games. I’ve been around some great ones: Adam Vinatieri, [Stephen] Gostkowski. Those guys are invaluable. We obviously took him, we used a pick to go up and get him, so we feel very confident about it. We needed to be bold there and we were.”

While I was concerned about the lack of elite size Vernon Hargreaves possesses leading up to the draft, I understood the pick. The Bucs wanted a young corner as part of their new defense. They wanted a corner who was aggressive and thrived in man-to-man coverage. They wanted someone who wouldn't back down from anyone else. They got that with Hargreaves. With that said, they really needed to nail their next few rounds of picks. 

I also understand the selection of Noah Spence. If you're going to draft an undersized corner, you better build up a pass rusher that forces errant throws for undersized, yet aggressive, corners to pounce on. Unfortunately, Spence has a history of serious drug use and addiction that led to him being kicked out of the Big 10 Conference completely.

“We’ve done a lot of work on him," Licht said about Spence. "We’ve had him here, we’ve gone to visit him a couple times, and, yeah, we feel good. We feel good about him. He’s excited, we’re excited.”

After their risks with physical attributes in the 1st round and character attributes in the early portion of the 2nd round, Licht may have taken his biggest risk nearing the end of round 2.

I do not believe Licht, who traded the Bucs 3rd round selection and the 4th round selection received from the Bears earlier in the draft to trade up for Aguayo, gave up too much in the move up for a kicker. It is my belief that the moment the Bucs traded down with the Bears in the 1st round to acquire the Bears 4th round pick, the wheels were already in motion to use that pick to get in position to secure Aguayo. The Bucs now need Aguayo to live up to being a top 5 kicker in the NFL after passing on talented players at other positions of need for this team.

I get it, with every pick, there is risk and reward. It just seems like Jason Licht took many more risks early on in this year's draft that will define whether this draft will be a success or a failure for Licht and the Bucs. 

It's not a draft a hate. It's not a draft I love. I understand the picks, and I understand the massive risk that came with each. I think that's why I have an uneasy feeling about how it all played out for the Bucs now that it is all over.


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