With the 2022-23 NFL season now over for the Buccaneers, I wanted to take another look at the Bucs rookies and see how they fared the rest of the season.
Back in November, I had given each Bucs rookie a letter grade for their performance up to that point but since that time, those rookies played eight more games so have their grades changed, or stayed the same?
Logan Hall (2nd Round, 33rd Overall)
The Bucs first selection of the draft had to play probably a bit more than expected this season due to injuries and when he did, there were definitely flashes but also some time where people were left wondering what Hall was doing on a specific play. Hall finished the season 12 total tackles and 2.5 sacks on the season.
Hall was always considered a raw player and was not going to be the guy that came in and made an immediate impact and the Bucs weren’t expecting him too either, but it was disappointing to see how he seemingly got more and more quiet as the year went on. Hopefully he is able to learn from his rookie campaign and come back next year an even better version of himself.
Bye Week Grade: C+
End of Season Grade: C-
Luke Goedeke (2nd Round, 57th Overall)
To say it in the most simple way possible, Goedeke’s rookie season was certainly one to forget. The Central Michigan product struggled all year and even got his starting job at left guard taken by Nick Leverett for a good portion of the second half of the season. He was however forced back into the starting lineup in the playoffs against the Dallas Cowboys after Leverett went down with an injury and not much had changed from the last time he was starting. Tom Brady was under pressure all night and while not all of it is on Goedeke, he certainly didn’t help.
Like Hall, Goedeke is a project and he was thrown right into the starting lineup on a team that had Super Bowl aspirations at the start of the season. That is a tough ask for a guy from a smaller school who doesn’t have much experience at the left guard position. I am not completely out on Goedeke as a whole, but his rookie season was simply not good enough.
Bye Week Grade: D+
End of Season Grade: D
Rachaad White (3rd Round, 91st Overall)
In November I called this perhaps the most exciting pick of the Bucs 2022 draft and White may have proved me right. After the bye week, White had a lot bigger role in the offense both in the run and pass game. He had a touchdown reception against the Arizona Cardinals on Christmas night and also had a game winning touchdown catch with just seconds left on Monday Night Football against the New Orleans Saints.
I have questions about whether White is a true three down back in the future or just a guy who can be exclusively used on third downs but make no mistake, there is definitely a role for him in this offense in 2023 and beyond. White should only continue to grow as a football player and can hopefully become an even bigger contributor to the team in the future.
Bye Week Grade: B
End of Season Grade: B+
Cade Otton (4th Round, 106th Overall)
This is simple for me. Cade Otton is just a solid football player and will be for years to come. He is never going to be the flashiest player on the field, but I think he can be a reliable option and should be the team’s starting tight end in 2023 and hopefully he takes another leap.
When I watch Otton, I continue to believe that if he hits his absolute ceiling, he could be a Zach Ertz type player. Ertz was never going to make the great catch and then break a tackle and run for 25 more yards, but he was always in the right spots and always reliable. I think that with time, Otton can be that same type of player, even if he doesn’t quite reach Ertz’s level. I am optimistic about Otton heading into his second season.
Bye Week Grade: B+
End of Season Grade: B+
Jake Camarda (4th Round, 133rd Overall)
Camarda was inconsistent early on in the season for the Bucs, but once the Rams game came it seemed that he really started to come into his own and become a serious contributor for the team.
Camarda also may have saved the Bucs season as he was able to miraculously recover a botched snap and then somehow punted the ball all the way down inside the five yard line against the Carolina Panthers. The play ended up not counting due to a penalty, but that does not take away from how impressive it was and if he doesn’t recover that, the Panthers may have been able to take advantage off the turnover which could have put Tampa Bay’s playoff hopes in serious doubts but thanks to Camarda, it didn’t matter. The Bucs appear to have found their punter for the foreseeable future.
Bye Week Grade: A-
End of Season Grade: A
Zyon McCollum (5th Round, 157th Overall)
It was a disappointing rookie season from the Sam Houston State product. After battling injuries in training camp, McCollum was on special teams but had to fill in from time to time at the cornerback position and it was not pretty.
McCollum could still be a solid pro. He has all the physical tools to succeed in this league, but coming from a small school he may have just been rushed on the field too soon due to the injuries the Bucs suffered in the secondary at times this season. Regardless, the Bucs are hoping for more from McCollum in year two.
Bye Week Grade: C
End of Season Grade: D+
Ko Kieft (6th Round, 218th Overall)
Right after the bye week, Kieft actually scored his first career touchdown on a pass from Tom Brady against the Cleveland Browns. Kieft was a contributor for the Bucs in 2022 and could have a role on the team in the future. That is pretty much all you can ask for from a sixth round pick.
Bye Week Grade: C+
End of Season Grade: B-
Andre Anthony (7th Round, 248th Overall)
Outside linebacker/defensive end Andre Anthony did not make the Bucs roster. He spent the 2022 season as a member of the Chicago Bears practice squad.
The Bucs rookie class was fine, but it also could have been much better. With so many pending free agents this offseason, the Bucs are going to need these players to step up more to fill some holes on the team. The future is bright for some, let's hope some others continue to grow.