Jason Licht readying for anything on draft day

After the Bucs had acquired a third-round pick from the Lions in exchange for Carlton Davis, General Manager Jason Licht talked about the flexibility the added draft capital gave the Bucs. Tampa Bay will use to the pick to add a young player to the roster or to use as "ammo" for a potential trade up.

Licht admits he'd rather not use a Day 2 pick to move up in the first round.

But he's ready for whatever happens the first night of the draft.

"In the past, our trade ups and trade downs, we've started that process typically around now," Licht said Thursday, via Scott Smith of the team website. "We are, too, right now. You don't want to make rash decisions – at least I don't – on draft day, emotional decisions that can come back and bite you. You want to be as clear minded as you can when you're putting that together."

Licht and his staff have put together a chart that covers different scenarios and the actions the Bucs would take under each one. It is a quick way to direct the Bucs on what to do as their pick draws closer on draft night.

In 10 drafts with the Bucs, Licht has made small trades to move up. More often those have been second-day trades.

But in 2020, Tampa Bay sent a fourth-round pick to the 49ers to move up one spot to draft left tackle Tristan Wirfs with the 13th overall pick.

The Bucs, who draft 26th, will begin examining their options when the Steelers get on the clock at No. 20.

"I'd say around pick 20, we'll know if we want to start attempting to move up or not," Licht said. "I would say right now, I like the thought of the way I really have a lot of trust in my staff – both the coaching staff and the scouting staff – and how we've been operating. Those picks seem pretty important to me, right now."

Licht has traded back in the first round three times, making small jumps back before drafting Vernon Hargreaves in 2016, Vita Vea in 2018 and Logan Hall in 2021. It's probably more likely the Bucs would move back than up, but the unexpected always happens on draft day, and Licht will be ready for anything.