It was Thursday night, draft night 2020. The Arizona Cardinals were on the clock at No. 7. Jason Licht was busy trying to get a hold of his former GM with the Cardinals. With whom Licht served as Vice President of Player Personnel in 2013. The first year Bruce Arians was head coach there in the desert.
But the call was never answered. Maybe that’s a good thing?
Some Calls Are Better Missed
Still on the board at No. 7 were some very good players. Having landed the best free agent signing in NFL history in Tom Brady, the Buccaneers were picking at No. 14 and were looking offensive line. This was known.
But knowing which of the talented lineman in the draft would fall is a different story.
Andrew Thomas, the tackle out of Georgia had been taken No. 4 overall by the New York Giants. Still on the board were Mekhi Becton, Jedrick Wills, and Tristan Wirfs. With Donovan Smith locked down at LT for 2020, Wirfs just made sense. It had to be the former Iowa Hawkeye.
In Football As In Life
We play the cards we are dealt. We improve our hand when we can. But one needs a trade partner to dance in the NFL Draft. Licht was calling Steve Keim to see if the Cardinals wanted to dance. The call was never picked up. The Cardinals were in love with Isaiah Simmons, LB, the blue-chip prospect out of Clemson.
In fact, Licht said he had made about 30 calls during draft week, up and down. There was not much movement on the draft order front. With offensive line that big need, the Buccaneers still play the scenarios. Make the needed calls. Be ready for whenever lightning might strike. Which in 2020, Jason Licht and the Buccaneers made happen once again. The Bucs still made that trade on draft night. Only it was with an old stable mate of their own, former Buccaneer player, current San Francisco GM, and soon to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, John Lynch. The Bucs trading up one spot to 13, while the Niners moved back one to 14.
The Buccaneers got that needed offensive line help. “In spades”! With the outstanding rookie at RT, Wirfs having a phenomenal season. With the way the Buccaneers graded out Wirfs, and the need on the right side. One can assume that even moving up to No. 7 with a trade to the Cardinals, it was always going to be Tristan Wirfs. It would not have been the wrong thing to do. This we know for sure.