Lance Zerlein showed the Buccaneers a lot of love when ranking the draft class along with the rest of the NFL.
Can you believe that it is almost time for Buccaneers football again? It feels like we just finished the 2016 season. As we sit here looking ahead, it’s difficult not to look back. It was an exciting 2016 season where we all began to believe. The offense was clicking and the defense was turning into something special. Just by writing on these pages and looking ahead, you feel the excitement of days gone by.
But, it was not to be, so we move onward and upward. Everybody is back to a 0-0 record, and the optimism is in high order around the NFL. Workouts have begun for the new season, and soon enough, the ball will be on the tee and week one will begin.
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Many of you have read the work of Lance Zierlein. He is a draft analyst for NFL media and posts a lot of work on the NFL website. When you click on the names of the players in the draft tracker, he is often the author of the profile. Zierlein’s digital presence is quite prevalent during the draft season.
He recently published his power rankings for the 2017 NFL draft class, by team of course. When it came down to placing the Bucs, he showed them a great deal of love, ranking the class sixth in the league. Here is what he had to say:
"Draft picks: O.J. Howard (No. 19 overall), Justin Evans (No. 50 overall), Chris Godwin (No. 84 overall), Kendell Beckwith (No. 107 overall), Jeremy McNichols (No. 162 overall), Stevie Tu’ikolavatu (No. 223 overall)The Bucs absolutely stole TE O.J. Howard at No. 19, then went back to their thievery in the fifth round with RB Jeremy McNichols from Boise State. Justin Evans could find early playing time at safety, while WR Chris Godwin needs to prove that he can live up to his late-season production. Don’t sleep on LB Kendell Beckwith, who should return from a late-season ACL injury to become a thumper in the middle."
How is THAT for a change? We never get the respect of national media. Heck, our over/under win total was set at eight wins. Nobody ever thinks that the Bucs do things right. It’s a nice change to see somebody show the boys in pewter some love.
It’s difficult to argue with anything they said, though time will tell on McNichols. To me, Godwin is more of a lock than McNichols. Take a look at Godwin’s college stats once again:
Keep in mind, much of those stats were put up with Christian Hackenberg under center. That’s the same Hackenberg that wasn’t even allowed to dress for the New York Jets until week 17 last year. If Godwin put up solid statistics with that guy throwing to him, imagine what he could do with Jameis Winston tossing the ball his way.
One thing is for sure; the Bucs draft class has the potential to be excellent. Now, the world is paying attention.