How good does the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2017 NFL draft class look right now? Really good, if we can believe NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, who ranked all of the NFL’s 2017 draft classes. The Bucs come in sixth in his rankings.
The Bucs absolutely stole TE O.J. Howard at No. 19, then went back to their thievery in the fifth round with RB Jeremy McNichols from Boise State. Justin Evans could find early playing time at safety, while WR Chris Godwin needs to prove that he can live up to his late-season production. Don't sleep on LB Kendell Beckwith, who should return from a late-season ACL injury to become a thumper in the middle.
That’s actually a pretty high rank for the Bucs, given that they drafted just six players. The one player not mentioned here: Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, who has a solid chance of sticking on the roster as a two-down space-eating nose tackle in specific packages.
That means that all six of the Bucs’ players should see the field as rookies and get some decent playing time, if everything goes right. Of course, something always goes wrong—injuries, or disappointing development for whatever reason. Kenny Bell looked pretty good in his highlight reels, after all, but didn’t have the physicality to hang at the NFL level.
But those caveats go for every NFL team, and the Bucs’ group looks really good. None of these players are really flashy, with the possible exception of O.J. Howard, but they all have the potential to contribute early, and a few of them could turn into All-Pros—particularly Howard and Evans.