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Marino | Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft class reaction

APR 28 OJ Howard Buccaneers Press Conference
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

NFL Draft

Marino | Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft class reaction

Over the course of May, both Kyle Crabbs and I will be assessing each team’s specific Draft class. The objective here is to identify value: where it was best and where it was worst. NDT Premium members will soon be able to access the comprehensive breakdowns of draft classes as well, which looks at the pick by pick breakdown of value across our respective 2017 NFL Draft boards. Today I look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The full list of their 2017 NFL Draft class is below:

Selection Position Player School
19 TE OJ Howard Alabama
50 S Justin Evans Texas A&M
84 WR Chris Godwin Penn State
107 LB Kendell Beckwith Louisiana State
162 RB Jeremy McNichols Boise State
223 DT Stevie Tu’ikolovatu Southern California

Best Value:  WR Chris Godwin, Penn State

Chris Godwin stole the show at the 2016 Rose Bowl with repeated contested catches and dynamic playmaking skills. Godwin has tremendous ball tracking skills with the ability to work his body into optimal position to compete at the catch point. His hands can improve, but he undeniably finds a way to secure a high amount of difficult catches.

He does well to work his routes with nuance and separate, but needs to improve in his release. If Godwin can drive off the ball more assertively to put more pressure on the cornerback to flip his hips, then he will create even more separation. Godwin is a good blocker and adequate after the catch.

Godwin projects as a quality number two receiver and should be a productive starter in the NFL.

Worst Value:  DT Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, USC

Stevie Tu’ikolovatu enters the NFL after a lengthy tenure at Utah and only one season of starting duties at USC. A prototypical nose tackle, Tu’ikolovatu has the natural power and girth one would expect, but his inconsistencies with pad level rob him of an immovable anchor.

Tu’ikolovatu is a space-eater that can occupy blockers, but doesn’t have the hand technique or short area burst to make plays as a finisher. His pass rushing upside is marginal given a severe lack of flexibility and juice. 25 years old entering his rookie season, his room for growth is minimal.

Given his poor athletic profile, limited role, and age, it’s difficult to imagine a fruitful NFL career on his horizon.

Could Surprise:  RB Jeremy McNichols, Boise State

McNichols has been a monster in terms of production over the last two seasons and offers a versatile skill set, which makes him valuable on every down. McNichols has excellent vision and is a decisive runner that commits well. He has enough elusive traits to make shifty moves in space while showing good wiggle and balance through contact.

Able to function between the tackles and press the boundary, McNichols is not limited in the types of runs he can execute.

A polished receiver, McNichols is a reliable threat out of the backfield, and has the skills needed to operate from the slot as well. Although he will challenge tacklers with physicality, he has modest amounts of power to generate yards after contact.

McNichols offers a balanced skill set that should lead to a spot in a rotation with the upside of a reliable spot-starter.

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Joe Marino

Marino began his career as the Assistant Editor for USA Today Digital Properties Draft Sites Network in 2011. A member of the FWAA, Marino writes about the NFL, College Football and NFL Draft for FanRag Sports.

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