1st/19 OJ Howard, TE
Ht.: 6-6 Wt.: 251 School: Alabama
Looking to continue building their offense around Jameis Winston the Buccaneers selected one of the best tight end prospects to come out in years. Despite only 114 career receptions and seven touchdowns, Tampa Bay is getting an elite weapon to stretch the seam and provide a security blanket over the middle. Howard’s experienced blocking at the line of scrimmage will only enhance the Bucs rushing attack that flourished in the second half of the 2016 season.
2nd/50 Justin Evans, S
Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 199 School: Texas A&M
A physically gifted safety Evans has good range and top end speed to cover a lot of ground. However, his instincts are questionable as he often puts himself into bad situations by taking poor angles. Evans is better suited to play strong safety coming up to stop the run but the Buccaneers have a bigger need at free safety and will try him out there. An interesting move as there were better free safeties available at this point.
3rd/84 Chris Godwin, WR
Ht.: 6’1 Wt.: 209 School: Penn State
The Buccaneers offense continues to evolve as the build around Jameis Winston. Adding DeSean Jackson in free agency gave the Bucs a true deep threat to pair opposite of Mike Evans and how with Godwin they give Winston a receiver that can catch anything in sight. Godwin has one of the best catching radius in the draft and that will allow Winston the luxury of not having to be perfect with all his throws.
3rd/107 Kendell Beckwith, LB
Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 243 School: LSU
Tampa Bay has two talented linebackers in Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander that thrive on speed running to the ball and making plays. What they do lack is a big thumper inside that can control the middle of the field. With Beckwith inside it will allow both David and Alexander to play on the outside and out of traffic.
5th/162 Jeremy McNichols, RB
Ht.: 5-9 Wt.: 214 School: Boise State
With Doug Martin’s suspension there was speculation that Tampa Bay could look at a running back early but instead found good value in the fifth round taking another Boise State prospect in McNichols. McNichols uses explosive cutting ability to weave through traffic and get to the second level. With his small size and balance it makes it difficult to get him to the ground.
7th/223 Stevie Tu’lkolovatu, DT
Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 331 School: Southern California
Needing to improve their interior defensive line the Bucs were able to land Chris Baker in free agency while finding a massive nose tackle here in Tu’lkolovatu. If he can keep his weight down he can provide the Bucs with a good run defender and allow Gerald McCoy to not have to play as many snaps.
Howard (first round)
McNichols (fifth round)
With the expectation of the Evans pick the Buccaneers did a good job of mixing in quality talent at a good value that fills a need. At a minimum the Bucs found three new starters with the possibility to two more. As this offense continues to get built up they can be scary team.