With seven games left in the 2022 season for the Buccaneers, they have not relied on their rookies as much as other teams, but many members of the class have had their moments. Let’s give each one of them a grade for their rookie season so far.
Logan Hall (2nd Round, 33rd overall)
Tampa Bay’s first pick of the draft was Logan Hall, an interior defensive lineman with a high ceiling. Admittedly, Hall has not done a lot in his rookie campaign, however the Bucs don’t really need him to. Tampa Bay’s depth along the interior defensive line helps keep pressure off Hall to be productive right away. Like Joe Tryon-Shoyinka last year, Hall is a high draft pick who is not a full time starter, so 2022 could be used as a development year.
Hall has flashed at times and also has made his rookie mistakes. So far he has six total tackles and two sacks this season and we will see if he gets involved in the action more late in the season. Hall has been a fine selection for Jason Licht so far. Nothing more, nothing less.
Luke Goedeke (2nd Round, 57th overall)
With Tampa Bay’s other second round pick, they selected guard Luke Goedeke out of Central Michigan. Jason Licht and his staff have hit big when it comes to small school lineman on day two of the draft with the selections of Ali Marpet and Alex Cappa, but it has been a rough start for Goedeke so far. Goedeke won the starting left guard job in camp, then actually started the season off fine but after awhile started to get exposed and simply overmatched in both the running and passing game. He is now at risk of losing his job to Nick Leverett as he has dealt with an ankle injury which has caused him to miss the past three games.
Goedeke’s career is far from over. When coming from a small school, it can be a difficult transition. Players like Ali Marpet who are productive right away are the exception, not the standard. It is possible for Goedeke to turn it around and become a really solid player for this team, but it isn’t happening this year. Goedeke’s performances have been uninspiring and it has hurt the entire offense at time, so this one right now looks rough.
Rachaad White (3rd Round, 91st overall)
Perhaps the most exciting pick the Bucs made this past April was running back Rachaad White out of Arizona State. While he had a slow start to the year, he has really picked things up as of late and may have even earned the RB1 spot on this team after running wild on the Seahawks in Germany. White has all the tools to be a successful back in the NFL, now we will see if he can maintain his production.
There is a lot to get excited about with how White has played lately. He needs to be a big part of the offense moving forward. Whether it is as a short yardage back or a receiving threat out of the backfield, White has shined and this pick is looking better and better by the week.
Cade Otton (4th Round, 106th overall)
The Bucs needed to fill the hole left by Rob Gronkowski’s retirement this past offseason and while it has taken a bit of time and he is no Gronk, Otton is bringing production to the tight end position for Tampa Bay. The first few weeks of the season, the Bucs tight end group was almost nonexistent and it was hurting the offense. Over the past three or four games though, it has seen Otton progress and develop into a reliable option.
Otton even has his signature moment for this year after catching the game winning touchdown, the first of his career with seconds to go against the Rams a few weeks back. This offense has been better as of late and Otton’s progression may be a big reason why. This pick looks to be a hit by Licht.
Jake Camarda (4th Round, 133rd overall)
Whenever a team drafts a special teams player early in the draft, it is going to get attention but when it’s the same team that drafted two kickers that have not panned out, that is going to really get the attention and groans of a fanbase. The Bucs decided they needed a new punter for 2022 and opted to select Jake Camarda out of Georgia in the fourth round. This selection may have been a little high, but Camarda has been very good for this team.
Against the Rams, he tied a franchise record with a 74 yard punt and he earned the honor of NFC special teams player of the week for his week nine performance. The Bucs seem to have found a gem in Camarda and a real weapon at punter.
Zyon McCollum (5th Round, 157th overall)
This was certainly an upside play here by the Bucs as they traded into the fifth round, giving up a 2023 fourth round pick to select corner Zyon McCollum out of Sam Houston State. McCollum has all the physical tools to be a good corner in the NFL. He has the size and speed that teams typically look for, but this is still a raw player.
McCollum was injured for a good bit of the preseason and even missed some regular season time. When he debuted, it was on special teams and then he got an opportunity to play corner for two games while the team dealt with injuries. It is really tough to evaluate McCollum so far, but maybe he will make some plays down the stretch here that could help his case.
Ko Kieft (6th Round, 218th overall)
The Bucs opted to take a true fullback in the sixth round and Kieft has been fine, but their usage of him has been a bigger issue. He is an excellent run blocker, but does not offer much in the passing game. Most people knew that when Tampa Bay drafted him, but too many times are the Bucs sending Kieft out there and then running the ball. Kieft has not been bad, but the Bucs are seemingly telling on themselves every time he enters the game.
Hopefully their usage of him changes later in the season. After all we are still waiting for that fullback touchdown.
Andre Anthony (7th Round, 248th overall)
Outside linebacker/defensive end Andre Anthony did not make the Bucs roster. He was waived on August 30th and is now a member of the Bears practice squad.
Has this class been great for Tampa Bay? No, but they have had some solid contributors. The Bucs bet on potential in the 2022 draft and with that, it could take some time before we see what this class is actually made of and what the Bucs have in a lot of their rookies.