Although he didn’t practice a single snap during Tampa Bay’s rookie mini-camp as he recovers from ACL surgery, former LSU linebacker Kendell Beckwith, one of the team’s third-round picks, got some running in prior to the start of practice.

To say he’s in a hurry to hit the ground running and line up next to former college teammate Kwon Alexander is an understatement.

“I feel ready now, but with an ACL you just have to give it some time,” Beckwith said. “I’m looking to be ready for training camp. I’m five months out (from my surgery). I feel pretty good now. I’m doing everything – running, cutting and jumping. I feel pretty normal, but they’re having me be careful with it.

“I couldn’t have picked a better situation. I’m happy to be here. I’m happy to be back with Kwon. We’re going to do some special things. Now he’s the Mike and I’m the Sam. We just switched roles. I’m ready to learn from him and match his intensity – him and Lavonte David.”

Bucs LB Kendell Beckwith – Photo by: Getty Images

Beckwith was LSU’s middle linebacker the past three years, including the 2014 season where he lined up next to Alexander, who was the Tigers’ strongside (Sam) linebacker that year. With Alexander an emerging star at middle linebacker for the Bucs, the team is counting on Beckwith, who is about 15 pounds heavier than Alexander and David, to use his big frame and physical style to play on the strongside and battle against tight ends.

“I can match up,” Beckwith said. “I can run pretty good. I’m going to shed a couple more pounds. I’m at 245 right now and I want to trim down to 240.”

Because he injured his knee in November against Florida after recording 91 tackles, six tackles for loss, four passes defensed, one sack and a fumble recovery during his senior year, Beckwith was unable to run at the NFL Scouting Combine and his LSU pro day. Despite not having a 40-yard dash time on record, the Bucs saw enough on tape to warrant trading up in the third round to draft him.

“Times are great, but when he was healthy we feel he plays plenty fast on tape,” Bucs general manager Jason Licht said. “We’ve been looking at him for a couple of years, especially his 2015 tape and then last year. He’s played with his hand down, he’s physical, and he can get movement. He’s a banger. I don’t want to say his best position is Mike, but that’s what he has been playing. We feel like we can take those guys and make them Sams. We’re always looking for guys that can play multiple positions and he’s one of those guys.”

Beckwith, who will be competing with Devante Bond for the starting Sam linebacker spot that is vacant after Daryl Smith’s retirement, said that he could hang with Alexander in a foot race. But Alexander ran a 4.55 at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2015 and that was one of the fastest times for linebackers that year.

“I definitely think I’m a 4.6 type of guy,” Beckwith said. “I know I can run a 4.6. I’m fast enough to cover running backs and I’m fast enough to cover tight ends. I’m 6-foot-2 and I played last year at 246 or 247. I think I could have run a 4.6 at that way. But me getting down and losing some weight I think I can be that much faster. I’ve got to be able to match Kwon.”

Bucs MLB Kwon Alexander – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Yet Tampa Bay doesn’t necessarily need Beckwith to be a 4.55 type of linebacker. The Bucs already have two sideline-to-sideline linebackers in Alexander and David. Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith needs a bigger linebacker that can move to the line of scrimmage when he deploys a 4-3 Under front where the Sam has to square up on a tight end and help set the edge.

“I played a little D-end, so I can get down there and bang,” said Beckwith. “That shouldn’t be too hard. I can definitely set the edge and I’m physical.

“I played in a new defense almost every year at LSU, so I’m pretty versatile. I pick things up pretty quick. I’m a pretty disciplined guy so I can be counted on to do the job. If the edge needs to be set, it’s going to be set. I’m definitely a confident person and player.”

Beckwith is fast enough for the Bucs, and he’s making a speedy recovery, too.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for 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 line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at:
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Patrick J Ellsworth
4 years ago

I’m very excited about this kid. I have a good feeling about him.

4 years ago

Beckwith is not fast by any stretch of the imagination. This is reminiscent of the post-draft Myron Lewis article that tried to convince us that the stiff hipped player actually had hips on a swivel. Nice propaganda piece PR, but eventually reality will set in. Beckwith struggled with plays bounced outside and missed a lot of tackles because he doesn’t have sideline to sideline speed.

Reply to  GoldsonAges
4 years ago

You’re forgetting about the Aguayo mortar kick articles. There was no bigger Aguayo cheerleader in the press than Scott Reynolds. That said, Scott has to pick and choose battles, he’s been critical of some picks in the past (Julian Jenkins, Kwon Alexander), but PR needs their sources in order to be successful, you don’t keep sources if you trash the team over every pick you disagree with. Beckwith in theory makes sense, he’s a big physical guy who can give the D a different look. The tape however isn’t so kind. He loafs a LOT, and the only time he… Read more »

4 years ago

I sure wish I had as much time as you folks apparently do to watch more game film of some random player than the staff that actually scouts and evaluates players for a living. All Scott did here was put up some quotes from both the Bucs (who said they’ve been watching Becklwith for two years by the way) and the player. I don’t think Scott is offering some BS pimp job on a player to promote his access to the team. Of course the team likes the player lest they wouldn’t have drafted him, but for some fan to… Read more »

Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

Seem like we have a lot of glass half empty guys around.

Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

I love people who come on boards and articles to share their opinion but the second someone shares an opinion that a poster doesn’t agree with they question the entire logic of having an opinion about players at all. I mean, the GM clearly knows so much, so don’t question him or anyone! No one is saying they’ve watched as much film as Licht on most of these players, though some of us have seen every snap of a players career based on the school they attended or a number of games because of the conference. Does that entitle them… Read more »

4 years ago

LoL, maybe fans will change their minds when this kid’s big ol ass is smashing running backs. Like his attitude, if they want me to set the edge, the edge will be set. No I don’t study tape for a living, but the high lights I’ve seen of Beck he puts people on the ground, hard. Licht has gotten tired of seeing yac yards after contact. Beckwith, Evans, Mr.T the Samoan mountain, are players who don’t get knocked backwards after contact. I see where Licht is going with this.

4 years ago

Beckwith was a great pick. We traded up for a long term starter and got a second round guy in the bottom of the 3rd round. Sounds like a straight forward ACL repair if he’s running AND cutting already. A lot of these injuries include multiple ligament and cartilage tears that require longer rehab. Could be a steal in the 3rd round for a SAM starter and MIKE back-up. GO Bucs!!!!

4 years ago

I’m hopeful about this kid. From my understanding he was being projected as a second rounder until his ACL tear. The Bucs sure did see something in Kwon that no other team did also. So I’m hoping for a similar situation. I think it’s a good thing when you have a guy coming in who knows, and likes to compete, with one of your better players. Kwon just might make him feel more accountable by playing next to him. This kind of competition is a good thing.

4 years ago

I like all of our picks. I wasn’t on board with Stevie T, but after seeing some of the video on him once again the Scouts have proven they know 100 times more than me and others. Go Bucs!

4 years ago

Another great addition to our LB corps. We needed a replacement for Daryl Smith and we got a bargain thanks to his injury. I’m looking forward to seeing Beckwith work with Kwon and Lavonte

4 years ago

I give Licht high marks for his overall performance as GM. I am hoping that he is continuing to learn and grow in his job. Fans like me who are not really deep in football knowledge and experience have to evaluate on other criteria we may have picked up in our particular lives. I just love football. When I was young I did not follow pro football but, rather I was a college fan. I enjoy reading the opinions of other fans a lot. I learn things all of the time which make me enjoy being a fan even more.… Read more »

4 years ago

he will be a star from day one.