Buccaneers’ fans know they had a solid draft in 2015. Jameis Winston and company formed a solid basis moving forward. The class has received recognition from one of the NFL analysts, Bucky Brooks.
The 2015 draft class has had one year to show what they can do. Anyone who watched Buccaneers’ games this year know that Licht did a solid job with this year’s crop of rookies. Jameis Winston led a group of young players that played well in 2015, and form a solid basis for the franchise moving forward.
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Well, Bucs Nation is not the only group that noticed. The NFL analysts have taken note, with strong reviews since the season ended. Bucky Brooks has chimed into the fray with his 2015 draft class grades. He graded several teams with an “A”, and the Bucs were one of them.
"The Buccaneers didn’t win enough games to save Lovie Smith’s job, but the stellar performance of their rookie class contributed to former offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter’s promotion to the top job. Jameis Winston earned rave reviews for his work as a first-year starter. He thrived as a playmaker during the second half of the season and showed great potential as a franchise quarterback. Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet were steady performers as rookie starters. On defense, Kwon Alexander — prior to his season-ending, four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances — looked like a star in the making as a “sideline to sideline” playmaker with exceptional quickness and burst. Despite logging just 12 games, Alexander finished second on the team in tackles and flashed disruptive ability as a designated playmaker on the second level. Grade: A"
When the first four draft picks join the starting lineup, it’s hard to argue with a high grade, and that is what happened in Tampa Bay. We know Winston started all 16 games. The same can be said for Donovan Smith, and Ali Marpet only missed three. Despite being suspended, ranking second on the team in tackles tells us all we need to know about the abilities of Kwon Alexander. He will be a dominant force when taking part in all 16 games.
We still have a few years to get a full sense of how this class really works, but all early returns are interesting.