National Football League
Bucs GM Jason Licht: 'No intention' of trading Devin White, open to first-round QB
National Football League

Bucs GM Jason Licht: 'No intention' of trading Devin White, open to first-round QB

Updated Apr. 13, 2023 7:12 p.m. ET

NFL general managers never say less than they do in the final buildup to a draft. The Buccaneers' Jason Licht's 25-minute session with reporters on Thursday followed suit, as he avoided narrowing the focus of their first-round pick or draft as a whole.

A recent wrinkle has been inside linebacker and three-year captain Devin White, who's set to play on a fifth-year option and make $11.7 million this season, requesting a trade from the Bucs in the absence of a long-term extension. Licht made it clear the Bucs have "no intention" of trading the former Pro Bowler, saying they're excited to have him playing in Tampa this fall.

"First of all, we have all the respect in the world for Devin," Licht said. "He's done some great things for us as a player, and we look forward to more from him in the future. So he's on our team ... we are looking forward to him being a part of this team, and (if) he has the kind of year that we all think he's capable of, we can hopefully put this to rest and everybody's happy."

Licht said White's request doesn't make them any more likely to target an inside linebacker high in the draft — their other starter, Lavonte David, is 33 — noting that's been a position they've sought to address in recent drafts and it just hasn't lined up. 

In answering other draft questions:

1. The Bucs signed veteran Baker Mayfield last month to compete with third-year pro Kyle Trask for the starting quarterback job, vacated by Tom Brady's retirement. But they're also keeping an eye on quarterbacks who could be there in No. 19, bringing in Kentucky's Will Levis and Tennessee's Hendon Hooker for official visits this week. 

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Mayfield is only in on a one-year deal and Trask has nine career pass attempts, so there isn't anyone so entrenched that they wouldn't consider adding another to the competition.

"It's the toughest position to find, and it's the most important position on the team," Licht said. "You see teams that in consecutive years take them in the top 10. We're hoping ... we get the best out of one of them or both of them, but I would not be afraid to take another quarterback, because we might as well have another shot at it, maybe not this year but maybe in the future."

2. The Bucs remain undecided on the offensive tackle position after releasing Donovan Smith, their starting blindiside protector for the past eight seasons. They have in-house options, including 2022 second-round pick Luke Goedeke, but Licht acknowledged this is another position crucial to their offensive success. They'll have their eye on it in two weeks.

"That's very hard to find," Licht said of left tackles. "There's a few good ones that we like a lot, that we spent a lot of time on. ... We love our offensive linemen. It's a position that we quite possibly will be addressing, but once again, we have a lot of in-house options as well."

Three years ago, the Bucs landed an All-Pro in right tackle Tristan Wirfs, despite him being the fourth tackle taken in the 2020 draft. They could be targeting a similarly graded prospect this year drafting at 19. Northwestern's Peter Skoronski will almost certainly be off the board, and Ohio State's Paris Johnson might be as well, with mock drafts generally having between two and four tackles gone before 19.

3. The Bucs are down two bodies at tight end after releasing Cam Brate and not re-signing Kyle Rudolph. While Cade Otton and Ko Kieft made an impact as rookies last season, this is a strong class for tight ends and thus another logical match for the Bucs.

"It's probably one of the deepest it's been in at least 10 years," Licht said. "Cade could have had 100 catches last year and we'd still be looking at tight end. We love the role Ko has and love the role Cade has, but it's always good to have more weapons."

4. Asked if the Bucs' war room is anything like what was seen in the Kevin Costner movie "Draft Day," Licht shared that he actually likes the film, joking that it makes front-office people look like they're doing more than they actually are.

"You've got the board set, you know who you're targeting, you know who you might move up for and when you might move up," Licht said. "So it's just kind of waiting, let it fall and see what happens, because it never goes exactly the way you think it's going to, obviously. Every draft is different. Every draft, the way it falls, there's always surprise players, but you just kind of let it come to you."

Greg Auman is FOX Sports’ NFC South reporter, covering the Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints. He is in his 10th season covering the Bucs and the NFL full-time, having spent time at the Tampa Bay Times and The Athletic. You can follow him on Twitter at @gregauman.  

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