The Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2017 draft is in the books. Now it’s time to analyze it. The PewterReport.com staff offers up its draft insight over the next three pages.

THE BUCS’ PICK I LIKED THE BEST
SCOTT REYNOLDS: “Contrary to what fans think, good general managers aren’t measured by the amount of gems they find in the later rounds. General managers are measured by their success in hitting on first-round picks. So far, Tampa Bay G.M. Jason Licht is hitting 100 percent when it comes to his first-rounders. In 2014 he selected Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans with his first-ever draft pick as a G.M., and followed that up with picking a franchise quarterback in Jameis Winston with the first overall pick in 2015. Licht drafted cornerback Vernon Hargreaves last year at No. 11 and this year was jumping for joy when tight end O.J. Howard, a top 10 talent, fell into his lap at No. 19. So Licht’s draft has already been a success because Howard is one of those can’t-miss prospects. He’s a perfect fit in Dirk Koetter’s offense because he can catch and block, and this clearly Tampa Bay’s best selection of the draft.”

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, TE O.J. Howard, G.M. Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

MARK COOK: “I obviously have a tremendous amount of respect for what Jason Licht has been able to do as the Bucs general manager since taking over for Mark Dominik in 2014. Mike Evans, Jameis Winston and Vernon Hargreaves were all terrific picks, and ones where there were legitimate options, whether it was Johnny Manziel instead of Evans, or Marcus Mariota instead of Winston. Bottom line is, Licht and his staff got them right, and early indications are Hargreaves is on the same path. But as good as Licht has been, even Hugh Culverhouse and Phil Kruger wouldn’t have screwed up the O.J. Howard pick. To have a nearly consensus Top 10 talent drop from the heavens at No. 19, you can’t go wrong. Howard allows Dirk Koetter’s playbook to expand, and having him on the same field with Cam Brate, DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans will create some sleepless nights for opposing defensive coordinators.”

TREVOR SIKKEMA: “Overall I thought the the Buccaneers draft was good. It’s hard to not say the O.J. Howard pick isn’t the best. Howard was most likely a consensus Top 10 player on most teams’ Big Boards, so for him to fall as far as 19 was quite the shock. However, for one of the late picks, I’ve come to really like the signing of running back Jeremy McNichols as well. The team needed running back help somewhere. We thought it was going to come in the form of a Top 50 player with so many good ones available, but when the team passed on the opportunity to draft or trade up for the likes of Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon, plus their decision to stay put and watch backs like Kareem Hunt and Samaje Perine go in the later rounds, that told us they were more sold on Doug Martin than we thought. McNichols, as a runner and pass catcher, offers more than both Peyton Barber and Charles Sims. For that, he’s a sneaky good pick, to me.”

CLICK PAGE 2 FOR THE BUCS’ PICK THE PEWTER REPORTERS WOULD SWAP OUT

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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 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 line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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Horse
4 years ago

Just a reminder, The 7th round pick cost 2 seven rounders. It’s the only pick I thought was a reach.

Horse
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

A little surprised so many thought it was okay to throw away next years 7th round pick to move up a few spots in this years 7th round pick. I didn’t realize how important this selection must have been. The people have spoken. Go Bucs!

Devasher
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

7th round picks are lottery tickets Horse. Name the last Bucs Pro Bowler that was taken in the 7th round…I’m waiting… If Licht felt there was one player on the board whom they felt could come in make the roster and contribute but it cost 2 7th round picks, that’s not a bad selection. Big Stevie definitely has some attributes to him, he’s old for a draft pick, but there’s at 90% chance your 7th round pick never does anything of note for the team anyways, so if they get a 4-5 year player in Rd 7 Licht hit a… Read more »

BUC 727
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

It’s a 7th round pick, a 7th round pick…in Licht I trust.

macabee
4 years ago

Bucs first round pick covereth all sins! Never look back, the SOBs may be gainin’ on ya! Go Bucs!

Buc 1976
Reply to  macabee
4 years ago

VERY TRUE MAC!

e
e
4 years ago

I’m glad that there is depth there at WR with Godwin. I think when other fans of other teams see this Bucs team on the schedule, they are going to be disappointed. “Damn, we’re playing the Bucs here.” I hope that Sir Licht had a nice hop into the pool with his family. The only concern I have is the back up QB. I was hoping that they’d grab somebody. Regardless of what the Bucs brass says, the back up QBs are not adequate. So goes Winston; So goes the Bucs. He’s got a lot more weapons to work with… Read more »

BUC 727
Reply to  e
4 years ago

I really liked the signing of Sefo Liufau. Watched a couple of Colorado games last year and I think the kid has an it factor about him…rooting for him.

magoobee
4 years ago

I understand the Pewter Report has to be nice to the Buc organization or they will not get access. But to say only the 1st round picks matter is laughable. The average NFL player’s career is 3.2 to 3.54 years per the NFLPA. If that is the case then that means each year 480 new players enter the league (this is actually a low number because the NFLPA only requires a player to be counted if they on a roster for 6 games). So that means each year every team needs at least 15 new to the league bodies. That… Read more »

Julian Jordan
Reply to  magoobee
4 years ago

It’s a poker game sometimes you move up just to show that you can.

I agree with you about Doug but you also have to realize that in taking care of your players you draw other player’s interest which helps in free agency.

Lots of dynamics at play for GM.

EastEndBoy
Reply to  magoobee
4 years ago

I won’t trash you , but I suspect you’ll hear a lot…criticizing the franchise is not taken well by some on PR these days – not like it used to be when everyone was entitled to their opinions without being personally attacked.

Overall, I agree with the conclusions of three analysts – Howard is a great pick, but an easy one…after that, it’s less exciting with some potential.

Naplesfan
Reply to  EastEndBoy
4 years ago

Fans are not criticized here for expressing their opinions. Fans are criticized when they beat their own chests and declare their opinion trumps that of the entire Bucs organization – an organization that is extremely clearly on the right track and moving in the right direction.

Fans are criticized when they develop massively big heads and egos and pretend to be better GMs than the actual, high performing GM that we have.

Runole
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

amen!

Devasher
Reply to  magoobee
4 years ago

Magoobee, I suggest you spend a little bit of time to review the history NFL drafts on wikipedia. You’ll see players that make Pro Bowls highlighted. It’s pretty easy to see, when you run the numbers that a first round pick has a roughly 50% shot of being a Pro Bowler in their career. Any player drafted outside the first round has less than a 10% shot of doing so. I randomly pulled up an older draft, let’s look at 2007 for example, 17 players taken in Rd 1 that year were pro bowlers (53% of 32 selections), the exact… Read more »

thewbacca
4 years ago

Tampa has Howard (!) and depth at key positions. The other players are going to be able to develop and not be thrust into a role they are not ready for. It has been a long time since Tampa could function like this. The needle is moving. The D-line is screaming for attention and another high-caliber CB to develop would be ideal – but this isn’t the draft for it. Every team has holes but Tampa is heading in the right direction.

Julian Jordan
4 years ago

1st round- Solid pick. Impact starter on Offense. Blocking and receiving ability is A1. 2nd round- Solid Pick. He brings the lumber and is pretty good in coverage. A lot of people wanted Budda and Obi. Ask Mike Evans how he feels about this guy. He should be a day one starter. If you know Desean Jackson you know Chris Godwin is a great pick up we going to need to be able to stretch the field all season. Beckwith pick, should send shockwaves. Mike Smith has been talking about adding 3-4 elements since he got here. Only thing with… Read more »

Alldaway 2.0
4 years ago

It is hard to draft two impact players when drafting so late in the draft. But Licht made it harder on himself when he keeps trading up. If you are going to trade up for a guy early in the draft he better be an impact player. Theoretically Aguayo could have been, or may still be, an impact player for your squad. So, that is one way to justify that trade up last year for Aguayo. But, it is hard to imagine Beckwith becoming an impact player on par with OJ Howard. So, the trade up for Beckwith doesn’t make… Read more »

MudManVA
4 years ago

I wonder what BUC fans would have said or did say about Barber & Lynch as later round picks. Just saying. Time will tell.

If OJ pans out as all expect, bam 💥

The LSU kids is nasty good, he just got hurt late. Not only is he a SAM, he is the back-up middle.

Not in love with Evans but we’ll see.

scubog
Reply to  MudManVA
4 years ago

Fans were not impressed with either Lynch of Barber until their 3rd year. Heck, they weren’t even impressed with the selections of Sapp and Brooks.

termig8r
4 years ago

The glaring concern in this draft is the Bucs did little to improve an anemic pass rush in a conference loaded with top QB’s. Obviously coverage is an equal concern (and Evans does address there), but the Bucs are not as poor in the secondary or as hard to get parts post draft. Howard falling to the Bucs was a ‘no brainer’ in the first round. I would have rather seen DE Willis or S Melifonou taken in the second with the other position addressed in the third over a 3rd WR. I’m still scratching my head in the late… Read more »

Buc 1976
Reply to  termig8r
4 years ago

I was disappointed we did not get Wills!

lordnlkon
Reply to  termig8r
4 years ago

I really do not understand some people’s obsession with Melifonwu. He is the classic underwear warrior with zero instincts. His tape is horrible. It doesn’t matter what his athleticism is if he can’t play football.

termig8r
Reply to  lordnlkon
4 years ago

Freakish size, agility and speed and a tape that may not have tremendous highlights but does not disappoint. Versatility to play SS or FS, and matchup with TEs in the red zone.

Time, coaching and development will tell.

SOXX
4 years ago

I think Evans wants to make a tackle on every play. Stevie T. SC baby man’s the middle, A great pick. Godwin lets see, speed,size and hands nice combo. I already put OJ Howard in the HOF, he was my pick at any spot over anybody. 4.51 crazy.

SaskBucs
4 years ago

I am pretty happy with this draft…. B+ I guess. I agree with some posters saying Licht better watch all these trade ups…. Right now I am fine with Beckwith and Tuko (good enough) as I wanted more defensive picks than offensive and they bring size but the trading makes it much harder to swallow if these guys don’t pan out. All along I wanted a DE and S early, wasn’t the safety I thought in the 2nd but I hope hes great and I am happy it was addressed early. Unfortunately, I knew that the DE prospects I liked… Read more »

tjhuth
4 years ago

I was really hoping for a solid De. Trusting in Licht to have made right decisions here and next year will have a better selection of DEs.
I can’t imagine any team wanting to play vs. the BUCs offense this year with Evans, Jackson, Howard, and Brate.
Drafting a RB who can block makes sense to me.

deeznuts
4 years ago

1) Howard was a slam dunk pick 2) we’ll see about Evans.. He’s not going to tackle NFL veterans like those 18 year old freshmen receivers in his highlight videos 3) WR Godwin has prototypical size and speed..looks the part. We needed depth bad late last season. Still wish we grabbed Allen Robinson from penn state a few years ago :/ 4) LB beckwith worries me b/c we only dress 5 LB’s on game day. He doesn’t do much in pass coverage either. He’s a heavy hitter around the line tho 5) RB mcnichols might be my favorite pick. This… Read more »

chefboho
Reply to  deeznuts
4 years ago

I think your missing the point of some of these pics. Smith said last year that he wants to also play a 3-4 defense at times and that big 7th rounder is a perfect NT in that situation. It’s why I also think we drafted the injured linebacker from lsu. Plus from what I’m reading, he should be ready to go as the season starts. He already said he’s about 75 percent recovered. I like the strategy and I support this team. I think it’s great to have an offense like this and a defense that can keep teams guessing

deeznuts
Reply to  chefboho
4 years ago

Respectfully disagree. We don’t have the personnel to run 3-4. Everyone would be playing out of their natural positions…We literally have 0 edge rushers. Kwon is not a 3-4 Mike backer..he’s like 225-230lbs soaking wet. GMC eats up the double teams to keep him clean. We don’t have another starting caliber ILB. I’m not sure GMC is going to rush the 1 or 5 gap better than the 3 gap (which is why we paid him 100$ million dollars). I don’t see this guy beating out anyone else in the DT room during training camp either as a Goal line… Read more »

Naplesfan
Reply to  deeznuts
4 years ago

Your statement that the Bucs “We literally have 0 edge rushers” is obviously and literally not true. We have Noah Spence, who is literally (yes, I’ll keep using that word against you) an edge rushing specialist. Got 5.5 sacks as a rookie, very good production for any rookie and especially given that he played with a torn labrum most of the season, which has now been fixed. Spence will likely break the 10 sack production level this, his second season in the league and being healthy. We also have Robert Ayers, who is an edge rusher, got 9.5 sacks two… Read more »

Buc45
4 years ago

Scott, I don’t agree about Hunt at all. McNichols is faster, a better receiver and is really good in pass pro. He is just a better player than Hunt. Godwin is a heck of steal in the third round. For those panning for Obi, the guy has great measurables but very average tape. Evans is a leader on that defense who is fast, can hit and can cover. The only real knock on him is that his over aggressive play leads to missed tackles at times…that can be cleaned up. The guy is a player. Oh course the Panthers got… Read more »

surferdudes
4 years ago

Over all I like this draft. The Evans kid brings some juice, and swag to our safety group. The competition he played against in college was head, and shoulders above what Obi faced. Him, and Beckwith will be S.T. contributers right away. I really like the N.T. from USC, I’ll simply call him Mr.T. Looking at his highlight reel, you just can’t move him backwards. To many times in the past we’d get gashed up the middle on run plays. Godwin pick was a no brainer. We needed depth at receiver, he gives us that. The crown jewel, Howard of… Read more »

Naplesfan
4 years ago

Interesting that the PR writers and the commenters here failed to take note of the one thing that clearly characterizes this entire draft and offseason, and which represents the culmination of the specific objectives set forth this season by both the GM and the Head Coach: The need for speed. The Bucs added speed at several very key positions: 1) Tight End – running a 4.5 40 yard time for a big 6 foot six 250 pound player, OJ Howard represents a big upgrade in team speed at the tight end position (Cam Brate – 4.67; Brandon Myers 4.68; Luke… Read more »

macabee
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

I agree Naples!

What a difference a day makes. I liked the draft from the git go. I have gone back and watched highlights, reviewed Licht/Koetter pressers, and read draft grades, and I like it even better today.

We did get speed for sure. This is a purely subjective evaluation, but I think we’re a better football team for it. And we may yet find a diamond among 15 UDFAs and we have approx. 30mil in cap space and we may further address a second free agency after the draft – so much to be optimistic about.

Naplesfan
Reply to  macabee
4 years ago

Well, for one thing, having really fast receivers, including speedy running backs who very good receivers, takes a lot of pressure off both Jameis Winston as well as the offensive line. Jameis doesn’t have to hold onto the ball as long to let player gain position downfield … this should result in two things in Jameis’ play this season: 1) Needing to not hold onto the ball as long, with commensurately fewer sacks, hits, and hurries on Jameis… and this in turn should result in 2) A higher pass completion percentage, especially downfield. More speed by the TEs and WRs… Read more »

Buc 1976
4 years ago

If J Wills turns out to a great player shame on you JL. Because he. Was there for U to take. I am beginning to wonder if Jon Robinson was the man behind the man.

BigSombrero
4 years ago

I notice Jason Licht and the Bucs are building a team of players that will fit in their system, but also in their locker room. Boise State backfield with Martin and McNichols, Kwon and Kendall at LB, Evans(WR) and Evans(FS) squaring off in a Texas A&M showdown, plus Mike Evans helping Derel Walker(his best man and former team mate at A&M) at WR. The other picks make sense too. Godwin reminds me of a Reggie Wayne type of receiver. He’s fast enough to let his route running create seperation. SHould be great on crossing routes, sideline routes, and against zone.… Read more »

BUC 727
Reply to  BucWild02
4 years ago

I look at Howard as ASJ without the baggage.

chXmcd
4 years ago

The more I watch the tape the more I like the Justin Evans pick. If he gains some weight and correct his tackling issue he can really become a leader of this secondary, think about who do you really consider the leader of our secondary now ? Although they are quality starters none of them have an alpha mentality, Evans brings a very physical presence that’s players follow. He was actually voted co – defensive MVP of TXAM last years with the #1 overall pick being the other. That just goes to show what his teammate think of his game.… Read more »

BUC 727
Reply to  chXmcd
4 years ago

There is a leader in the secondary now that leads by example…Brent Grimes!

drdneast
4 years ago

Licht and Co., do this full time yet some fans who watch a few vids of a player highlight reel, sometimes made against many weaker opponents, firmly believe they know much better. I think I’ll take Licht’s opinion over our slew or armchair GM’s and scouts. A player may have racked up 14 sacks in one year, but did of them come against cellar teams and subpar tackles. I for one have no idea and I would bet many of these armchair scouts and GM’s don’t either. The only thing I regret is the Bucs didn’t get an edge rusher,… Read more »

Dude
4 years ago

In the end, I have to look at like this; we got Howard, and Licht didn’t give away any of our top round draft picks for next year. We are better. I think we missed the boat on getting a good young talented, and explosive RB, setting up our offense for years to come. Where then we could turn our attention to the D, and other needs. But it is what it is. I look at drafts like this, if you took away your first rounder, would you be confident your team will improve with the rest of your draft… Read more »

makski
Reply to  Dude
4 years ago

Dude, as far as competing for a starting spot or stealing one, here is a couple:
Beckwith is most likely the starter at Sam LB when he is fully recovered
Goodwin is at least in the running to possibly replace Humphries in the slot, should definitely at least get regular playing time
Evans is definitely in the running for a starting Safety spot, possibly starting opposite Tandy

So, there are actually 3 players who fit your criteria, once you take out Howard.

dbucfan
4 years ago

Agree, getting Howard without additional moves was palsy – I appreciate the bucs not throwing additional picks to move up and get Howard. I don’t know how many other GMs would have been able to hold their water.

SenileSenior
4 years ago

Here is some info to put our draft into another perspective. During this off season the Bucs lost: Glennon, QB Spence, DT Shephard, WR McDougald, S Verner, CB The Bucs acquired: Jackson, WR, 30 (age) Baker, DT, 29 Wilcox, S, 26 Folk, K, 32 The Bucs drafted: Howard, TE, 22, 4.51 (40 time) Evans, S, 21, 4.47 Godwin, WR, 21, 4.42 Beckwith, LB, 22, 4.72 McNichols, RB, 21, 4.55 Tuikolovatu, DT, 25 _______ “It hits you quickly after a draft highlighted by the selection of tight end O.J. Howard at the top. This team is about to rise fast and… Read more »

scubog
4 years ago

You guys who offered up your “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda” draft should keep them in a mayonnaise jar and in three years make an assessment of how your guys fared as compared to Licht’s. Then be sure to let us all know how you would grade yourself. All one needs to do is go back and look at the record of the ones (Kiper, Mayock, Favis, McShay and our own PR gang) on which many base their opinions. Not good. Filled with highly touted players who failed miserably and obscure ones who found success. Point is, don’t start grading the test… Read more »

stlbucsfan
4 years ago

We had a very good draft because we added weapons for Jameis, speed to the offense and some defensive players at key positions. Some people are shocked we didnt address DE, me not so much since I think we have the makings of the best DL since the Super Bowl team. The area that was not addressed in free agency or the draft that is shocking is offensive line. There’s no way we can look at that unit and say they performed well enough last year that no additions should be made. Word is Sweezey is back but he hasnt… Read more »

Alldaway 2.0
4 years ago

Evans is for all purposes is a FS so I would be shocked if they try to play him at SS.