Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Jason Licht went on ESPN's NFL Insiders yesterday to talk about the draft and other general manager stuff. Licht joined Suzy Kolber, Bill Polian, Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. Here's the transcription.
Kolber: I've heard Bucs' GM Jason Licht talk about the honor and the privilege of having the number one overall pick, but something you never want to have again. But since you do, how would you describe the weight of that pick and the pressure to do it right?
Licht: Well, it's... there's a lot of work that goes into it, but it's a lot of fun. Um... but like I said, we never want to have this pick again. We're not going to take it for granted. We're going to take advantage of it. But from our area scouts who have been camping out in Oregon and Tallahassee, and Bessemer, Alabama and I'd like to say Hawai'i, but we'll wait to meet Marcus and his family, I think, when we go have a private workout there in Oregon. But there's been a lot of work, not just them. You know, the other players we have ranked at the top of the board. There's a lot of work, but we have a lot of fun with it.
Polian: Let's go back to last season. You were very active in the free agent market, and then the record didn't show improvement, but if you looked at the tape, you can see improvement from one week to the next. Give us an overview of where you feel the team is right now.
Licht: Well, you know from the record, if you know sometimes the fans don't understand, you know, we're around them every day and we saw that, including our owners, all of our coaches that we did get better like you said and the record didn't show it. But we lost, you know, eight games by six points or less, just came very close. We did this without an offensive coordinator. We hired who we think is one of the best offensive coordinators in the game, Dirk Koetter, which we think dramatically improved our team right now. And then we're going to take advantage of, you know, the players that we can sign during the free agency period and then the draft, obviously. We're very excited about the direction that we're going.
Kolber: Since you brought up Dirk [Koetter] let's just go down that road. What would you expect the style of the offense to be? Obviously, you're going to plug a quarterback in, but what's the hopeful style?
Licht: Well, the one thing that we loved about Dirk [Koetter], besides his qualifications and his body of work, is that he always adapted to what the strength of the team was. When he was in Jacksonville he had Maurice Jones-Drew, he was a running team. When he got to Atlanta he's got Matt Ryan, he's got a passing game. Now, I think the goal is to be balanced and he has shown that he can be balanced. But he's going to use the strengths of the team to his advantage.
Schefter: Jason, you already met with Jameis Winston. What do you take out of those meetings with the time you spent with him?
Licht: You know, he uh, the perception's a little bit different from reality. He's very engaging, very smart, he lit up the room. That's what you like about him. Incredibly smart, I know I mentioned that already. He's a hard worker. He's very dedicated and he loves the game. It's all those things you love about a quarterback, he has. Marcus does too. So they're very similar. People want to talk about the differences of these guys, but they both have a lot of similarities. In terms of their competitiveness, their intelligence, they've won Heisman, they've got winning records, they've had a great career.
Kolber: There was a lot of talk about Marcus and his personality and whether it was NFL ready, in terms of charisma and energy. How does he strike you?
Licht: You know, when you sit down and you spend a day with him like we did at One Buc, he's very sarcastic, in a good way, he's got a great sense of humor and He's got a way of people opening up to him. He's got leadership traits that you don't necessarily see in a two minute interview. But when you spend a day with him, it really opens up your eyes to what his style is.
Schefter: Bill has talked about the importance of letting the whole process play itself out. Would you anticipate making a decision any time before the week of the draft?
Licht: You know we could I don't want to rule that out. Just like, I wouldn't rule out getting a great offer for the number one pick. And just five minutes before I was here we started talks with a team - no I'm kidding.
Polian: There'll be phone calls, right?
Licht: I'm sure there will be. Just everyone testing it to see what it would take. But we're not going to pass on a franchise quarterback if we feel like one of these quarterbacks is franchise ready - franchise worthy for the Buccaneers. That's one thing that we, the team, the fans, the town has wanted for a long time.
Kolber: In the final hour, what will separate the two?
Licht: It'll just be our comfort level. It'll be the comfort level of Lovie, myself, obviously, our owners. And I think we all have a comfort level with both of them right now. We still have the private workouts with both of them. We're just going to ingest all of the information that we can before we make the decision.
Polian: Does the fact that Marcus is a guy who extends [plays] and is athletic and can run and perhaps might be a little lighter than the ideal, does that bother you any or can you see him adapting quite easily to the NFL.
Licht: I don't wanna say bothers, but it's just one of the things we have to evaluate with him. Just like there are a lot of things with Winston that we're also weighing into consideration. But you know the fact that he's athletic and can run. That's definitely a positive. Just like Winston has great pocket presence and got a strong arm and a winning pedigree. There's a lot of positives, more positives than negatives in both of these guys. It's a good year to have the first pick.