As their sophomore seasons inch closer, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2017 Draft class have already made its impact.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2017 rookie class was impressive last season. Led by the highly-touted tight end O.J. Howard, the youth on the Tampa roster was one of the few brights spots during a rough 5-11 season.
Tampa kicked off their Draft last season by selecting Howard with the 19th overall pick. After a great career at Alabama, Howard projected to be a versatile target for Jameis Winston. He lived up to the bill, catching a team-high six touchdowns.
Later on in the Draft, Tampa Bay selected another target for Winston. This time it was Chris Godwin out of Penn State. Godwin caught 34 passes for 525 yards last season. Despite the talent at wideout, he was still able to make his presence felt.
In the second-round, the Bucs nabbed safety Justin Evans out of Texas A&M. With Tampa needing immediate help at safety, Evans was able to produce fairly quickly. He ended his year with 66 combined tackles and three picks.
Kendell Beckwith was another standout rookie for the Buccaneers last season. Spending time at both the SAM and MIKE linebackers spots, he displayed his ability to take on different roles when called upon. Beckwith finished fourth on the team in tackles and should be in the starting lineup alongside Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David.
Overall, it was an extremely strong Draft class for general manager Jason Licht. It’s only a year later, but there should be confidence that this class could be the key to playoff contention.
Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton made power rankings for each team’s 2017 Draft class and Tampa was slotted in the seventh spot. It’s easy to see why as Licht and the rest of the front office did a phenomenal job finding talent in the early rounds. In the first three, the Bucs found four solid contributors.
Licht now has a reputation when it comes to the NFL Draft. Over the last few seasons he has done a great job at finding young talent to put around Winston. He hasn’t ignored the defense though, finding talent at every level.