The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had quite the haul during the 2018 NFL Draft, selecting eight players after general manager Jason Licht traded down twice – once in the first round and again in the second round. Now it’s time for PewterReport.com’s Scott Reynolds to review the 2018 Bucs draft class and assign some initial grades based on the players’ attributes and value based on the round they were selected.

Linebacker Jack Cichy, Tampa Bay’s sixth-round pick, is the last of the draft picks to be profiled in this series.

Round 6: Wisconsin LB Jack Cichy – 6-3, 238 – Junior

Cichy, a former walk-on, missed the last year and a half playing football while recovering from two injuries. He was an excellent downhill defender against the run and the pass, and was deemed as a coach on the field by his teammates at Wisconsin. Cichy absolutely loves football. A torn pectoral muscle against Iowa ended Cichy’s junior year halfway through the season after he put up 60 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and 1.5 sacks in seven games.

Wisconsin CB Jack Cichy - Photo courtesy of Wisconsin

Wisconsin CB Jack Cichy – Photo courtesy of Wisconsin

Cichy missed all of the 2017 season rehabbing a torn ACL that happened during training camp last August. He was only able to do the bench press (18 reps) at Indianapolis, but was able to do agility drills at his pro day where he was deemed to be 90 percent healthy. While he didn’t run a 40-yard dash, his speed is believed to be in the 4.75 range, and he did do the three-cone drill (6.87) and the short shuttle (4.17) and turned in good times with Buccaneers linebackers coach Mark Duffner in attendance.

Prior to his ACL injury, which was a clean tear, Cichy was regarded as a possible second- or third-round pick, depending on how fast he timed in the 40-yard dash. In just one and a half years as a starter for the Badgers defense, the highly instinctive Cichy recorded 121 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, six pass breakups and two forced fumbles. Some believe that if he returns to form and can play at an NFL-caliber speed that he could be a true Day 3 steal for Tampa Bay.

The Question Marks

Cichy is a high-motor, tough, instinctive linebacker when healthy, but will he make a full recover from his torn ACL as fast as Kendell Beckwith, last year’s third-round pick, did? And is he fast enough to start and play at the NFL level, or will he be another Big Ten linebacker like Riley Bullough, whose speed is also limited? Cichy didn’t drop in coverage a lot at Wisconsin, so does he have the ability to play in reverse instead of just straight ahead?

The Rookie Season Expectations

Tampa Bay isn’t afraid of taking linebackers coming off ACL injuries, evidenced by drafting Beckwith in the third round last year. Like Beckwith, Cichy is a bigger linebacker at 6-foot-3, 238 pounds, and is a downhill player and a good blitzer. The Bucs will likely have him learn MIKE linebacker and cross-train at SAM like Beckwith did a year ago, hoping he can return to form where he recorded 60 tackles, eight tackles for loss and five sacks with his blitzing ability. He might miss some of the OTAs like Beckwith did a year ago, but Cichy should be ready to go in training camp where he will compete with Cameron Lynch and Bullough for a roster spot as a reserve and a special teams player.

The Grade: C

Cichy has a legitimate chance to make the roster as a sixth-round pick, but did the Bucs pick the right Wisconsin linebacker, as Leon Jacobs, who has 4.48 speed, was still available? Would drafting another running back to compete with Charles Sims and Jacquizz Rodgers, or a young defensive end to groom behind Vinny Curry and Jason Pierre-Paul been a wiser pick? If Cichy is healthy and can play with 4.7 speed or better, this grade could be higher. But questions about his recovery and his 40-time keep it in the average range.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 27th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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Alldaway 2.0
Alldaway 2.0
4 years ago

I think this should be an A, because if you can draft a player that has a chance to compete for a starting spot on an NFL roster soon in the seventh that is a good value.

JustaBuc
JustaBuc
4 years ago

Yeah, I’m pretty high on this pick as well actually. 5th-7th rounders are very rarely difference makers as is and getting a guy that appears to be just that who fell because of injuries is the right kind of player to gamble on.

Schwifty9
Schwifty9
4 years ago

Cichy’s tape at Wisconsin is good, but as Scott mentioned you don’t see him cover very often, but the biggest question mark in regards to him is will he ever be able to shake the injury bug? Or will he continue to be injury prone?

Freeman Strickland
Freeman Strickland
4 years ago

Cichy has great instincts. The knock on Leon Jacobs was that he does not have the instincts. I really like Cichy. If he head Jacobs speed, or vice versa, it would be the icing on the cake.

makski
makski
Reply to  Freeman Strickland
4 years ago

I’m kind of confused. I really like the pick, it sounds like he could turn out to be a really good player. My big concern is this, Even if he ran a 4.5 40, was deemed totally healthy, and never got injured again, where would he play? We have David, Alexander, and Beckwith all ahead of him. I still like Taylor(Glanton) as the sub who can play all 3 positions and I really like getting Lynch back as LB depth and a great special teamer. I guess if he is better than at least Taylor or Lynch, we have still… Read more »

Schwifty9
Schwifty9
Reply to  makski
4 years ago

Special teams and filling in for tired or injured guys.

plopes808
plopes808
4 years ago

Picking a LB was a surprise as I believe it is our strongest and deepest position group on our roster. Knowing he fell because of an injury like Beckwith did last year explains the move though. The good thing is there’s no pressure to rush him onto the field. We can wait till he’s fully recovered before putting him out there to compete for a spot in the rotation.

Sadly though…he may be bouncing “Joe Dirt” from the roster =s

surferdudes
4 years ago

Both Kwon, and David missed games due to injury last year, now Beckwith has a fractured ankle. So I don’t know how some of you think linebacker isn’t a need. When you’re coming off a 5-11 record every position on the team can be considered a need, or at least in need of an upgrade. We drafted V.V., because McCoy isn’t getting any younger, and comes with a high salary, couldn’t you say the same about David? So I have no problem with them drafting a L.B. just not sure this kid is the right one.

nitey
nitey
4 years ago

I like this pick, I remember watching this kid in the Michigan State game and he was all over the field. I bet his 40 time is easily 4.7 or even 4.6. His compete level is very high. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he really can drop back in coverage. I’m excited to see him in training camp. Hopefully the injuries were just bad luck and if so, he could easily be our #4 linebacker this year.

Dbuc63
Dbuc63
4 years ago

Agree surferdude, I to see it in a similar way. The Bucs need to look out 2-3 years from now especially when looking into rounds 5-7. Cichy has more potential as a future starter than any current “need” position on the Bucs roster in this round. I really like the pick and if he doesn’t make a full recovery so what, how many players make the team, let alone start, in this round?

makski
makski
Reply to  Dbuc63
4 years ago

I agree with you Dbuc63 and surferdude, I just felt that another DE or RB would be better depth to have. I know that LB’s were injured last year and are getting older, but we still have solid players behind them with starting experience. What happens if RoJo gets hurt? We would be back to just Barber and Rodgers. I like Barber a lot, but I’m not a fan of Rodgers, and he too, is getting much older. I would like some more younger depth. Also at DE, if JPP or Curry get hurt, who is there to put in… Read more »

makski
makski
Reply to  makski
4 years ago

Don’t get me wrong, I actually really like this kid! I like him even more as I look further into his college play. So I still really like the pick, just at the time, I was hoping for RB or DE. Also, in hind sight, the defense does need a bigger infusion of young talent than the offense at this point, and overall, is the much weaker unit from last season.

owlykat
owlykat
4 years ago

I love this kid and could see him replacing David when he retires or gets injured again this year. Taylor is a good backup but is not as big and besides we need to keep Taylor as a flexible backup and Special Team Player.