Youngsters Developing

November 20th, 2017

Lots of rookies and de facto rookies coming on strong

One question that must be asked of every coaching regime is how it is developing young players.

So, how has Dirk Koetter and his staff developed young players?

Fair question, especially after Koetter himself said after yesterday’s that his rookie class is “doing fine.”

Rookie second-round pick Justin Evans has gotten more playing time than the other Bucs safeties. He’s got a couple of picks this season. Both were at critical times and of the athletic variety. His tackling has improved, though he has ways to go with his game. The point is, he’s improving and showing up.

Rookie receiver Chris Godwin, a third-round pick, has stepped up the last two games with big catches, clutch catches and looks the part of a starter.

Linebacker Kendell Beckwith, also a third-round rookie, has proven to be versatile all season, playing multiple linebacker spots and is now spending a lot of time at left defensive end.

Second-year man Ryan Smith, in his first season playing NFL cornerback, has shaken off a horrible preseason and early season to look like a legitimate NFL starter, albeit a low level one. The 2016 fourth-round pick is inconsistent, but there’s more good than bad lately, and he is always looking to strip the football. And that paid off for him yesterday.

Ali Marpet is in his first-ever season at center, and he’s developing so well he was the top-graded Bucs offensive player through the first half of the season, per Koetter.

Second-year undrafted cornerback Javien Elliott has come along, and when rookie first-round pick O.J. Howard is taken out of witness protection by Koetter, he’s a valuable weapon.

Player development under Koetter has been solid, though one could argue the head coach is senseless holding back Peyton Barber, and that America’s Quarterback, Jameis Winston, didn’t take a clear step forward this season.

And then there’s Vernon Hargreaves, benched and now injured. Considering how others have been growing in the secondary, yet Hargreaves is not, that leads Joe to believe the problem is more on Hargreaves than coaches.

14 Responses to “Youngsters Developing”

  1. derrickbrooksforGM Says:

    Both were at critical times and of the athletic variety.

    ^^^ OMGOODNESS YES, those picks were circdasola contortionist s#1t. Critical timing says playmaker, think Talib as a safety. DROOOOOOOOOL

  2. Lord Cornelius Says:

    The 2017 class in general looks pretty damn good.

    Howard – stud weapon when used. Stud blocker when not.
    Evans – flashing tons of playmaking ability. The int was a great play where he read the QB and jumped the ball. I think we may have a long term S answer here.
    Godwin – looks like a stud #2 WR at worst already. Hit.
    Beckwith – incredibly valuable this year – versatile as any LB.

    That’s 4 significant contributors if not starters.

    Light hasn’t been perfect but he’s done pretty damn good in the draft outside of 2016. If he had taken Rankins and any player other than Aguayo the team is in a lot better position right now. That draft killed us.

  3. Eric Says:

    Looking like an excellent draft.

  4. 813bucboi Says:

    hope benenoch develops…..he may be the most important piece….GO BUCS!!!!

  5. Bucsfanman Says:

    Putting Peyton Barber behind this line will stunt his growth and kill his confidence. I’d still like to see him more than Sims though.
    813- Agreed on Benenoch. We’re not going to be able to continue gambling on free agents. If nothing else, we can always use more depth.
    They did well with this draft class. I’m warming up to Evans as his game improves and Beckwith has been as advertised. Godwin will easily supplant Hump and Jackson to become the #2 WR in the near future.

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    Player selection is one thing, but player development is a whole different animal IMO. Bucs have drafted quite a few players over the years who didn’t do diddly while with us, but matured very nicely after they left. Our coaching carousel has definitely impacted us negatively in that area as far as I’m concerned. This coaching staff is doing a very nice job of developing younger players for the most part (and those who aren’t developing probably shouldn’t have been selected as high as they were in the first place).

    The only place I’m not seeing significant progress last year & this year is in our OLine play. They seem to have stagnated, and even slid backwards in some ways. How much of that’s on coaching vs how much is on the players themselves is impossible to say, but one thing’s obvious to me: this 5-man OLine isn’t cutting it. Changes need to be made this coming off-season, and I’m not talking about more 5th or 6th round selections.

  7. Baz Says:

    Great observations Joe. Concerning Barber, as much as I want to see him get some playing time, with all of those other players developing there has to be a reason why Dirk has held back on Barber, and my hunch would be pass protection. With your backup QB already starting games for the injured starter, the last thing you want is him getting blasted and having to play your 3rd stringer, all in the name of getting Barber some reps.
    While it may or may not be true, if you look at all the players Dirk has had a hand in developing, you have to give him the benefit of the doubt with Barber and why he hasn’t gotten more playing time. Pass pro would seem to be the main culprit, IMO.

  8. SOEbuc Says:

    I liked Evans when we drafted him and now it looks like he’s learning how to use his speed and cutting across the field abilities that he was so good at in college in the big boy league. Excited to see how far he can go with more playing time and practice down the road.

  9. LakeLand Says:

    The Saints has been playing 6 rookies all season and they are 8-2. I don’t know why the Bucs loves to hold their rookies hand. You draft them, play them.

  10. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    But Licht doesnt know how to draft right?

  11. LakeLand Says:

    Jason Licht sucks at drafting. Just look at his history of drafting.

  12. bojim Says:

    Am I the only one that thinks Martin should be done? As much as I like him a running game is needed. Win’s are good BTW.

  13. Dave Says:

    Light has done a fantastic job drafting since getting here.
    LAKELAND BUC is delusional.
    So many like him out there. They think every draft pick should be a starter and making the Pro bowl team. The reality is, after 3 years, if 50% of your players drafted are on your roster, with two of them as starters, it’s a success.

    The last four years have made this team have a solid base and a lot of depth. There are still holes, every team has them, but they are well on their way

  14. PRBucFan Says:

    lol Ryan smith’s only saving grace was that strip, he’s horrendous at coverage