The Rookies

February 16th, 2017

Bucky Brooks grades.

So, how would you grade out the Bucs’ rookie class of 2016?

Joe knows how Bucky Brooks would.

The NFL Network draft analyst recently looked at every rookie class and passed out end-of-the-season grades.

For the Bucs, Brooks hands out a “B.”

The Buccaneers’ three-win jump in 2016 (to 9-7) was fueled by a defense that gradually improved with young defenders in key spots. Noah Spence quietly enjoyed a strong rookie campaign as a designated edge rusher. He finished the season with 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles as a rotational player. Spence could blossom into a double-digit sack guy if he masters the nuances of pass rushing in his second year. Vernon Hargreaves played well on the island opposite Brent Grimes. He flashed outstanding footwork, movement skills and instincts occupying the CB2 spot on the perimeter. GRADE: B

Joe just loved the way Spence balled out this year, especially with a bum wing that needed shoulder surgery in January. His right arm just hung by his side the final week of the season yet Spence still found a way to gut it out. Very impressive.

But will that injury have lingering effects? At one point it seemed Spence would make a run at double-digit sacks, but Joe has to wonder if that injury was a temporary setback or something that will hinder Spence throughout his career?

24 Responses to “The Rookies”

  1. Tampa Tony Says:

    Imagine how good the rookies would’ve been without Agustin and maybe a Sterling Shepard instead

  2. Tampa Tony Says:

    Aguayo stupid auto correct

  3. tmaxcon Says:

    The new bucs give us hope it’s the hold overs that will prevent the team from being great. You have to want to be GREAT not SPECIAL to Win consistently.

  4. duthsty rhothdes Says:

    Tampa Tony right on, and VH3 is ok but licht missing ona franchise LT in laremy tunsil is craxy, the bucs must protect jameis, VH3 getting torched by amari cooper didnt protect jameis

  5. mike Says:

    Could be a good draft but too early to tell. The year after the Clayborne/ Foster draft you might have said A. Michael Clayton, Mark Barron , Dougie, it looked like we had annual probowlers. This draft is really hurt by the stupid kicker pick, but its all about development. Will these guys continue to grow? We will see? Gaines Adams looked good his rookie year with 6 sacks but didn’t continue to develop

  6. Tampa Tony Says:

    @Mike- that’s why I laughed at the Joes grand slam proclamation last offseason

    Need to wait 2-3 years to judge a draft

  7. duthsty rhothdes Says:

    mike well said… in rockstars defense with that draft on paper that is gold… maybe the clayton pick because he was converted DB, but he was all rookie, baron i wish was still here licht and lovie screwed that one as well as foster and clayborne in superbowl… realistically only baron playing at top level today… but all still in NFL….. i guess martin kinda

  8. tmaxcon Says:

    duthsty rhothdes

    I believe Fosters lead the skins in tackles this season. he has been playing well. you could easily argue that foster has outplayed LVD the last two seasons.

  9. tmaxcon Says:


    he did not lead team in tackles he did have 88 though to lvd 67

  10. tmaxcon Says:


    i was wrong yet again. Mason Foster did lead the skins in tackles he had 124 combined with 88 solo. No one is going to confuse him with a hall of famer but he was too good to let go.

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    Maybe there’s a lesson in the Mason Foster story that the process might START with drafting well, but how our coaching staff DEVELOPS the player and then getting management to RETAIN good players is also vitally important. Bucs have been mired in mediocrity for far too many years because our coaching carousel didn’t do a good job of developing players and far too often management let good players walk instead of retaining them. (Cue Jason: Re-sign Will Gholston).

  12. BigHogHaynes Says:

    VH3 played like a rookie, he showed he could play the game, but if he doesn’t get better…… I’ll just say he needs to get better because I don’t see him as a lock-down corner! We need even more talent added to this roster to keep up the pace of 9 wins!!

  13. tmaxcon Says:

    Defense Rules

    The new CBA which limits reps, coaching opportunities and a slew of other items that took place in the past, has forced teams to “crap or get off the pot” on players much faster. You can not be as patient as in the past. There is no patience in the league with coaches, players or fans for that matter. Don’t underestimate the impact of the CBA.

  14. tmaxcon Says:

    defense rules

    and the lesson learned is do not hire washed up has beens and give them full control of a team and roster after he just destroyed a roster in Chicago. jeff fishcer is the only other coach who has lived off 1 good season longer than Lovie did. Foster should have been retained but the stubborn one was just too ignorant to realize that it’s ok to be flexible and think freely defensively.

  15. Erik w/ Clean Athletics 'The Kwon Alexander of Bucs Fans' Says:

    Oh, to fantasize…

    Sterling Shepard instead of Aguayo would’ve been outstanding!

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    tmaxcon, unfortunately Mason Foster didn’t ‘fit’ Lovie’s defensive scheme (although ‘scheme’ is giving it far more credit than it deserves). Lots of other players who we could use right now apparently didn’t ‘fit’ either (guys like Penn & Zuttah on the other side of the ball). Bucs didn’t draft particularly well for many years, but compensated for it by doing a crappy job of developing them IMO, and then letting them go elsewhere for little or no compensation … and start. I have tons of confidence right now that this GM & coaching staff will change all that, but it can’t be done overnight, or even in a couple years. Licht & Koetter are having to compensate for years & years of bad decisions. I’m just happy seeing steady improvement … in drafting, in development, in game play and yes, in our won-loss record.

  17. NutterBuccer Says:

    Foster or Barron would look pretty good at SLB for us right about now huh? At the end of the day besides being so bad that we were able to draft Winston All Lovie Smith did was hurt this team. From what I hear he made most of the decisions year 1, let go of plenty of talent and signed plenty of bums, but with all that said we got Winston out of it. With that being said…..

    What’s all the hype with wanting a DE? if we lose Gholston then yes go sign one but I would be pretty happy with Ayers, Gholston(replacement) Spence and Jax Smith. We need a DT more than anything. McCoy is the only solid DT this team has. Spence and McDonald are nothing special and get hurt, we need a solid, big run stiffing DT, go get Poe, Williams, or hankins

  18. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I know it won’t happen, but could you imagine Spence on one side and JPP on the other?

  19. Mike Johnson Says:

    I agree with tmaxcon. A team has to truly want it. You cannot be great penny pinching and sayin to yourselves, Oh, tha guy had an ok season so we will keep him for another. I use New England as the ultimate example. They will let a vet go in a heartbeat. Its just business with them. Again, I’ll remain cautiously optimistic for next yr. When I eyewitnesses us getting tossed..manhandled around like ragdolls by Dallas this past season, it made me wonder just what kind of team we have.

  20. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    manhandled around like ragdolls by Dallas this past season, it made me wonder just what kind of team we have.

    Man Mike which game were you watching. Yes Zeke had a great day and the “Boy’s” finally showed up in the fourth Q but in case you forget we were WINNING that game into the 4th Q in the Cowboys house against a freaking 11-2 team!!!

    We did better against the Cowboys as the Packers..they were at home not in Dallas…The Bengals…the Steelers…

    If your point is that we have been historically weak against the run I certainly agree…which is why I’m happy to consider Calais Campbell or some beast in the middle.

    I laugh when I read guys talk about Amari Cooper or JJ torching VHG…those guys have torched every DB in the league including Peterson and Sherman!!!

  21. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Bucky Brooks also included the Bucs UDFA rookies, who played last season. CB Javien Elliot, DE DaVonte Lambert, T Leonard Wester, RB Peyton Barber, TE Allen Cross, DT Channing Ward. They all played last season, and played well.

  22. Mike Johnson Says:

    YEp StPeteBucFan, we were watching different games. Cause I saw Dallas O and D lineman knocking our guys all over the place. It was like a proteam playing a freshman college team. They were physically handling us. At least the 1st 3 qtrs I wached.

  23. Mike Johnson Says:

    Say StPEteBucsFan, Are you sure you were not hanging out with injured Buc Lineman Easy Sweezy..smokin a bowl and watching that dallas game?

  24. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Why are people complaining about mason foster? Isn’t it unanimous thinking that Kwon is an upgrade over foster at MLB?

    And foster has never outplayed Lavonte David. Maybe he got more tackles 1 year. But I would bet even foster knows he is a step below Lavonte David. What David lacked in tackles this year, he made up for in sacks and turnovers. Besides, Kwon was raking in the tackles this year. Lavonte doesn’t have to be only tackling machine anymore.