It has been a week since the NFL Draft began and the grades from writers and media members have been coming in. Most agree that the pick of Alabama tight end O.J. Howard was a no-brainer, but the other picks that complimented him have also factored into the equation of the grades.
While everyone knows that assessing a draft class before the players have even taken the field in their first rookie mini-camp isn’t any type of exact science, but it is interesting to see what the pundits have to say for now.
Below are some notable names who cover and study the draft, and they offer up there analysis and final grades.
Mel Kiper – ESPN Thoughts on Bucs’ draft: “I can’t believe he made it there – I thought he might go as high as No. 4. He wasn’t a prolific pass-catcher at Alabama, including only 37 catches last season, but he has all the tools scouts look for in an NFL tight end. And he’s already an above-average blocker. This is a value pick at Tampa’s No. 1 position of need. Kendell Beckwith, on the other hand, was picked 40 spots lower than where I had him. He’s coming off a torn ACL suffered in late November, but he should be ready for training camp. Jeremy McNichols is my ninth-ranked rusher, and so getting him in the fifth round qualifies as a nice pick. He had 88 catches over the past two seasons.” Grade: A –
SI.com Thoughts on the Bucs’ draft: “Not sure anyone expected TE O.J. Howard to be around at pick No. 19. The Bucs almost had to take him there—he’ll bolster their run game with his blocking, and his pairing with Cameron Brate will cause significant mismatch problems for opposing defenses. S Justin Evans (No. 50), an aggressive defender, should find his way onto the field early. Those are the main cogs of this class. WR Chris Godwin (No. 84) is interesting as a downfield threat, but he’s no better than the fifth or sixth option in the passing game.” Grade: B+
Yahoo Sports Thoughts on the Bucs’ draft: “Evans is awful versus the run. He isn’t a good tackler, often times wildly running up and throwing a shoulder rather than wrapping ball carriers up. He also plays very soft when it comes to taking on blockers. Godwin was a great value for the Bucs in the middle of the third round. He was my 6th rated WR and was one of my top 60 prospects in the draft.” Grade: C
CBS Sports Thoughts on the Bucs’ draft: “The Bucs also added difference-makers on the defensive side of the ball, focusing up the middle. Safety Justin Evans is pound for pound one of this draft’s heaviest hitters, and LSU’s Kendell Beckwith is a classic glass-eating run-plugger at middle linebacker. Stevie Tu’ikolovatu has to keep his weight under control, but he is built like a Coke machine and is just as hard to move.” Grade: B
Walter Football Thoughts on the Bucs’ draft: “Tampa Bay had to upgrade its defense as well, so it used its second-rounder on Justin Evans. The athletic safety should offer an upgrade at the position, though the same probably can’t be said about fourth-round linebacker Kendell Beckwith, who is coming off a torn ACL. The Buccaneers did a great job of putting together a strong draft class. Of the six picks they made, only one scored worse than a “B.” The front office obtained quality players, all while filling needs, so a high grade is in order.” Grade : B+
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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