Buccaneers: Don’t let Kendell Beckwith’s rise be a shock

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 03: Kendell Beckwith
GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 03: Kendell Beckwith /

When the Buccaneers traded up in the third round of this year’s draft to select LSU linebacker Kendell Beckwith, it was a bit of a surprise. However, don’t let his early training camp rise be a shock.

With Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander already on the roster, linebacker wasn’t necessarily a position of need for the Buccaneers heading into the offseason. So when the team traded up in the third round of the draft, fans were instantly underwhelmed. It felt like the pick was going to be a running back, but the team took a chance on Beckwith instead. From early reports in training camp, he is already on his way to making that look like a good choice.

The former LSU linebacker was coming off a torn ACL when the Bucs drafted him. It was unclear whether or not he’d be cleared in time for camp, yet when the time came, he was. From multiple reports, he’s already turning some heads:

None of this should be surprising, as Beckwith played a key role on the LSU defense throughout his time in Baton Rouge. The Tigers consistently field strong defenses and produce top-notch NFL prospects. Of course, Tampa Bay already knew this. Third-year middle linebacker Kwon Alexander was the team’s fourth-round pick out of LSU in 2015. Fans didn’t know how to feel about the pick at the time, but in just two years he developed into a top playmaker and fan favorite. Beckwith certainly has the potential to follow in the footsteps of his former teammate.

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In four years at LSU (three as a starter), the Clinton, La. product totaled 263 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks. Many thought he would enter the draft following an 84-tackle, 3.5-sack junior season. Instead, he returned to the Tigers for his senior season. His final year was a good one until he tore his ACL in November. In 10 games, he put up 91 tackles. His performance was good enough to earn him second team All-American honors and a first team all-SEC selection. The injury didn’t affect his outlook on the season, as he said there was no regret in coming back for one more year.

Beckwith is currently competing with Devante Bond for the starting strongside linebacker spot. The rookie is still making the transition into the role. But, his frame and tackling ability make him a good fit for the position. If his early performance continues, don’t be surprised to see a starting corps of David, Alexander and Beckwith on Sept. 10.

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Beckwith is getting some good buzz early in training camp. What do you think, Bucs fans? Are you excited to see the LSU product play this fall? Let us know in the comments, on Twitter or on Facebook.