The addition of Beckner probably doesn’t change Gerald McCoy’s fate — whatever that may be — but it should at least give the Bucs some potential for depth inside of their defensive line. The 6-foot-4, 296-pounder became Tampa Bay’s sixth defensive draft pick in the last three days, which continues what looks to be a defensive overhaul under new coordinator Todd Bowles. Being a seventh-rounder never guarantees anything, but if Beckner can impress in camp, he could be a depth guy for Bowles and his staff.
Beckner isn’t the well-known prospect he once was, but the front office saw something in him that warranted a draft pick. Here, we have three things you need to know about new Bucs defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr.
Beckner’s road to the NFL has been a bumpy one
After a strong career at East St. Louis High School, Beckner was at the top of the proverbial mountain. According to Rivals, he was the 36th-best recruit in the country. ESPN had him as high as second in 2015. According to an April 23 article from Yahoo Sports, he was considered a better prospect than many well-known guys today:
“There is a player expected to be selected in the middle of Rounds 4 or 5 of the 2019 NFL draft who at one time was held in higher regard (by at least one publication) than six eventual first-round picks in last year’s draft — including Derwin James, Roquan Smith and Josh Rosen — and the likely No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft (Kyler Murray).”
Those guys are pretty highly-regarded these days. So, what happened to Beckner? Well, his career at Missouri didn’t get off to a great start. He earned Freshman All-American honors in 2015, picking up 27 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. However, his season came to an early end after he tore his ACL and MCL in November. He worked his way back slowly and was more of a reserve in 2016, but that season also ended early due to him tearing his other ACL. He eventually had a breakout 2017 season, with 38 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks. He returned to the Tigers for his senior year and was once again pretty solid, but his injury history meant his draft stock was pretty low.
Despite the fall from being a top-rated recruit, Beckner will get a chance to prove that he still has production in him when he heads to camp with the Bucs.
Despite his size and success, Beckner is pretty low-key
A January article from The Kansas City Star talked about Beckner’s arrival and early days with Missouri, and it’s somewhat surprising to learn that a 6-foot-4 Division I defensive tackle — who was also one of the top recruits at his school — was looking to avoid attention. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
But the summer of 2015, Missouri volleyball player Alyssa Munlyn noticed Beckner’s absence as she grew close with fellow Tigers freshmen athletes. He never relaxed with her group of friends. She didn’t know anything about him.
One day, Munlyn pulled aside Beckner’s roommate, former MU football player Nate Howard. She told him to make Beckner join their group in the dorm lounge. With the NBA Finals playing on the TV, Beckner came out of his room and sat next to Munlyn. “He was really shy at first and was like, ‘I just don’t like the attention,’” said Munlyn, who started dating Beckner in March 2016. ESPN had ranked Beckner, an East St. Louis, Ill., native, the No. 2 recruit in the nation. He told Munlyn he didn’t want people to treat him differently. The recruiting process had overwhelmed him, and he felt relieved when he put pen to paper and signed with Missouri.
In this day and age, especially with social media dominating everything, a lot of top recruits and NFL prospects love to be flashy. There’s a certain swagger that a lot of guys like to carry. So, when someone likes to keep a lower profile and avoid attention, it’s pretty out of the norm. The story goes on to say that Beckner grew into his role with the Tigers, but that he “still doesn’t care much for attention.” Tampa is probably a big enough city for Beckner to blend in and not get bothered too much, right?
Beckner is the second Missouri product on the Bucs’ current roster and just the third player the franchise has drafted from the school
When Beckner makes his way to Tampa, he will have one fellow Missouri Tiger waiting for him in the locker room. That would be quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who himself is new to the Bucs this season. Gabbert played at Missouri from 2008-2010, throwing for 6,822 yards and 40 touchdowns on top of a 60.9 percent completion rate. The 2019 season will be his ninth year in the league.
Beckner is also just the third Missouri player to ever be drafted by Tampa Bay. The most recent was guard Carl Bax (200th overall in 1989), and before that, it was Buccaneer legend James Wilder (34th overall in 1981). That also makes Beckner the first defensive player from Missouri ever drafted by the Bucs. He is the fourth 2019 Bucs draftee from the SEC and the 17th former SEC player on the team’s current roster (this doesn’t include Gabbert, who played in the Big 12 when he was at Missouri).
You can find Terry Beckner Jr. on Twitter at @TBckner. Take some time to congratulate him and welcome him to Tampa Bay.