Todd Bowles: Rookies Have Been “Great”

January 15th, 2023

Bucs GM Jason Licht.

Perhaps Joe and Bucs coach Todd Bowles have different definitions of “great.”

For Joe, Lee Roy Selmon was great. Derrick Brooks was great. Warren Sapp was great. James Wilder was great. Simeon Rice was great. Rondé Barber was great. Tom Brady, Tristan Wirfs and Mike Evans are great. Lavonte David, too.

In Joe’s eyes, “great” means you are a no-doubt-about-it Hall of Fame player, an All-Pro or a dominant player in a team’s franchise history.

But Bowles used the term “great” on Saturday to describe his rookie class this season.

“They’ve been great from Day 1,” Bowles said. “They’ve been great from Day 1. It just shows the everyday consistency and the intelligence to learn.

“They never hit the rookie wall. They played special teams all year – they did whatever it [took]. The veterans brought them along the right way. It was great to see.”


Now Joe is not trying to kill these guys. They are rookies. Throwing rookies overboard after just one season is terribly short-sighted and grossly irresponsible. But Joe doesn’t believe as a group, the rookies have had enough impact to earn the term “great.”

Logan Hall (who?): The Bucs’ top pick on the defensive line? Who kidnapped him? Have you seen him lately? Hall very well may develop into a stud but Joe is spooked that a rookie got worse, not better, as his first NFL season transpired. Early in the season, Hall was getting around 30 snaps a game. Since Thanksgiving, have you heard his name called other than Todd Bowles calling him out?

Luke Goedeke: Basically gifted a starting gig at left guard, in part due to Ryan Jensen’s knee injury, Goedeke got benched midway through the season. He actually looked better playing right tackle in the final game of the season than he did at left guard.

Rachaad White: Maybe the best full-time rookie. He’s made an impact and it’s not White’s fault he’s playing for a coordinator so far over his head he needs a scuba tank on the sidelines.

Cade Otton: Rookie tight ends rarely make an impact but Otton has shown flashes with 42 catches and 2 touchdowns. His hands are a little too inconsistent, but Joe thinks he will improve. Joe would love to see him bulk up in the offseason as Joe is not overly impressed with his blocking. Otton, like White, likely would improve with a competent offensive coordinator.

Jake Camarda: Now this guy has made an impact! Already one of the better punters in the game, Camarda may have made the biggest play of the season to save the Bucs’ bacon. A lot, and Joe means a lot, of folks hammered Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht for selecting Camarda in the fourth round. Give the man his due. Licht nailed this pick.

Zyon McCollum: McCollum seems to be Ryan Smith II, in a good way. McCollum is really good on special teams and currently shouldn’t be on the field on defense. There is upside here as McCollum is a crazy good athlete. Remember, he’s a third-day draft pick coming from Division I-AA. Patience, grasshopper.

Ko Kieft: Joe still thinks Kieft is a steal. He’s on the field on offense every game, which is incredible for a rookie sixth-round pick. When is the last time the Bucs had a sixth-round pick play in every game his rookie season? Bruce Gradkowski (2006) came close, and he was no good. Kieft just crushes linebackers on blocks (not so much defensive ends) and is an underrated receiver, though he needs to polish up his hands. Joe loves Kieft’s hard-nosed, violent tendencies.

Is this what you would call a “great” rookie class? Joe can’t go there. Good, maybe. Promising? Yes, of course.

When all but one of your draft picks make a team coming off 29 wins in the past two seasons, and four have played in every game with none playing less than 11, that’s not a shabby rookie class.

Joe would hold off for a while before glossing the Bucs’ 2022 rookie class with “great.”

42 Responses to “Todd Bowles: Rookies Have Been “Great””

  1. SB~LV Says:


  2. Winky Says:

    Have been great rather than are great?

    GO BUCS!!!

  3. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Logan Hall is MIA……

    JTS is so far below his draft status

    Zyon McCollum is a great 3rd stringer

    The good performer is the damn punter

    ……who in the hell does Licht thinks he’s “bull-spitting” spewing that nonsense????

  4. Bucky Says:

    The class as a whole has been good even if the top two picks haven’t. Every day 3 pick looks like a keeper and that is extremely rare

  5. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Ko Kieft and Cade Otten have both been disappointing before Brady likes using Tight Ends alot and cannot even rely on those two…….THINK ABOUT THAT JOE!!!!!

  6. Jack Clark Says:

    Julio Jones (who?): The Bucs 6 million dollar wide receiver? Who kidnapped him? Have you seen him lately? If you ever find him then please call 1-800-THE-LOST

  7. stpetebucfan Says:

    I certainly agree with Joe’s point. But I would add that today’s society cheapens ALL superlatives. EVERYTHING that is decent become great. Everything great becomes historic.

    Our society is hooked on superlatives! So I take Joe’s point.

    Having said that I would say this class is VERY promising and could turn out to be a “great” “terrific” “pretty darn good” group of draft picks. I give Licht an A- for this class and it could become an A+!

    Camarda could become the next Ray Guy and he’s even more athletic. He can actually run and make tackles and he’s smart! He’s clearly the jewel.

    But White is also a very good if not great player already and it seems he has the talent to really improve. With the right offensive scheme and play calling White and Lennie could become the best tandem in the league.

    I also agree that Kieft was a steal and Otton shows a LOT of promise. Gronk was always going to be impossible to replace. He has the blocking skills of Kieft and the receiving skills of Otton…when Otton plays well. No single player was ever going to replace Gronk who is crazy and fearlessly takes on defenders 30-50lbs larger.

    Goedeke and Hall showed nothing but rookie potential. Goedeke still needs to learn the position and Hall needs to realize it’s the freaking NFL not the NCAA.
    Hopefully he will realize this and spend the off season BUSTING HIS butt to get his body to the level where he can truly compete.

    I really like this group. Unfortunately for them injuries forced some of them into the lineup before they were ready. Hopefully that experience pays off next year.

  8. Joe Says:

    Ko Kieft and Cade Otten have both been disappointing before Brady likes using Tight Ends alot and cannot even rely on those two…….THINK ABOUT THAT JOE!!!!!

    Again, rookie tight ends rarely make splashes. Seems you were expecting these guys to be Gronk right away. That’s like Joe expecting Kate Upton to be waiting for him in bed. Reality check, please.

    JTS is so far below his draft status

    Wrong draft class.

  9. Bosch Says:

    Joe, when you were kissing current great Bucs players you forgot to mention Chris Godwin. IMO: Overachievers = Great.

  10. SB~LV Says:

    They are rookies and each has shown glimpses of being productive players in the coming years.
    I would like to see Ko Kieft get the ball a few times tomorrow, he appears to have soft hands and is a good athlete. He could be used in the check down safety valve.
    I want to see DT get some touches tomorrow with the hopes of YAC’n it up.
    The coaches ABSOLUTELY need to get back to Brady spreading the ball around, of course Brady has to execute, he has been scattering his passes off target which have been wasted plays

  11. sasquatch Says:

    From Licht’s point of view, in those comments, he’s clearly looking at effort and progress, not an overall evaluation of their career trajectory or even whether they played great. That’s clear from his comments. It’s an insider’s perspective. So if Logan Hall hasn’t put a lot on the field yet, he might still be looking at the guy’s attitude, effort, teamwork, and little steps towards learning how to become an NFL player when coming from a non-powerhouse like Houston. This is a nitpicking at words kind of article.

  12. sasquatch Says:

    So many fans are completely intolerant and impatient with rookies. Pretty annoying.

  13. firethecannons Says:

    Who is Logan Hall have not seen him all year. One time I might of seen him I am not sure it was him I do not even know his number most games wtf? our bargain 1st round pick–2nd round–whatever bet jason Licht spend all off season at the goodwill practicing for draft day shame

  14. Ed McSherry Says:

    Rachaad White: how many rookies start-out good, earn “starter status,” and then end the season making veteran-like clutch plays?

    Licht deserves high praise for the well-considered 3rd round draft pick of Rachaad White.

    When the general concentration in the last year’s draft was receivers, what the Brady-offense needed was a finesse RB with a specific emphasis on receiving: Brady was missing James White from his Patriots-era.

    Litch delivered, imo.

  15. Allbuccedup Says:

    If you throw out the 1st, 2nd and 5th round picks the rest.made an impact.

  16. Allbuccedup Says:

    To think we traded up to get up to get Goedeke.

  17. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Keep in mind that with the trade down to select Logan Hall….we received a 4th round and 6th round pick from the Jaguars…..we received both our TEs….Otton & Kieft……so now, the Hall pick doesn’t look quite as bad.

    The Zion pick was a 4th round in 23… we received his services and he gained a year’s experience before we pay the price in 23…..not bad either.

  18. Redeemer Says:

    Both TEs are playing out of necessity. Rudolph is stealing money and Brate has been hurt. IMO after the line issues, the tight end position is the biggest problem on offense. When you can’t stretch the middle, everything is condensed. White has been good for a rookie in my book. It’s the easiest position transition from collage. he was drafted a little high for my taste, but has been serviceable. Hall and Goedeke had better make a big jump in year two, or both will be considered busts. The draft is much more of a crap shoot then GMs like to admit. It’s a very inexact science. These GMs fall in love with certain players, at certain positions. Much of the time, I wish they’d just take the best available players, regardless. Certain teams appear to be able to draft better at specific positions. The Steelers can draft recievers. Belichick has a great track record with lineman.

  19. BrianBucs Says:

    Goedeke played RT all through college so of course he looked better at his natural position.
    To take a college RT who is still very young and immediately put him at LG in his rookies season is really a lot to ask.
    And I think I saw Hall’s face on the side of a milk carton.
    Some of these guys look like they will turn into really solid players.
    However, I don’t think any of them look like they will be “great”

  20. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Pic of Licht, but story about Bowles? So who actually made these statements?

  21. Joe Says:

    Pic of Licht, but story about Bowles? So who actually made these statements?

    “Bowles said” typed clearly in the quotes is a fairly blunt hint who Joe is quoting.

  22. A40train Says:

    Hall os absolutely a bust as is zyon. The rest r good.

  23. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Zyon isn’t a bust…….he has to be good to begin with…… 😁😁😁😁

  24. Cobraboy Says:

    Violent is good.

  25. Mort Says:

    They’ve overall been great – with the massive caveat that they’re rookies and the middle of the class is doing a lot of heavy lifting for the 2nd round picks.

    But it’s also tough as hell to be an impact player as a rookie in the trenches. Both will be lots better next year once they get some man strength on them. The experience they gained this year will only accelerate their growth.

  26. sasquatch Says:

    Only A-holes declare a player a bust in his first year. And calling a 5th rounder (Zyon) a bust is just plain stupid. What is reasonable to expect from a 5th rounder? He’s played well on special teams, but looked lost in coverage — he came from a small school and has a lot to learn. Not a bust. Even if all he ever amounts to is a good special teams player, you can’t call that a bust for a 5th rounder! Jeezus, some of you people are unreasonable morons.

  27. AbucAway Says:

    General concentration

  28. George Says:

    Overall it was a solid rookie class that got a lot of playing time (except Hall)My guess with all this experience all will improve significantly their second year .

  29. Bucsfan13 Says:

    I just wanna gloat about how right I was about Miami being a no go for Brady. ESPN reported Tua will be back, and McDaniel will be back. It won’t stop the insiders like Florio from still writing about Brady and Sean to Miami. Brady’s not playing on the West Coast for LV or SF. It’s Bucs or retirement. Like it’s always been. Anyone who wasn’t a sheep and jumped on every speculation that he would be playing elsewhere would know this to be true. You know who knew that the Bucs have always been the front runners if Tom comes back? Licht and company.

    Insiders and fans keep wanting to will Brady to other teams. People have totally discounted now close Brady is to the Glazers and Licht. Brady is about relationships. They gave him time off to deal his personal issues. They let him miss a walkthrough to visit his son in NY. They let him have his own health facility on campus, and they’ve signed players he wanted. He’s not gonna get that type of loyalty ANYWHERE else, no matter that he is the GOAT. The Glazers are also hands off. You think he wants to play for Mark Davis. A guy who’s always sticking his nose into everything.

    It’s the Bucs or retirement. I’m leaning toward him retiring.

  30. Bucsfan13 Says:

    I agree with Joe %. Great is Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Sauce Gardner, Tariq Woleen, Aidan Hutchison and more. None of our rookies have had that impact. Bowles loses credibility when he engages in that type of hyperbole. Starting Goedeke was coaching malpractice. Otton has regressed. Logan Hall hasn’t impressed one bit. McCollum shouldn’t be playing right now. Carmada has been decent. White needs to do more in the pass game for me. He was known for being a good pass catcher in college. I haven’t seen it.

  31. Redeemer Says:

    Bucsfan13, he isn’t retiring. Mark that down. Believe what you want, but Brady didn’t even want to be here this season. His loyalty is to the Lombardi and wherever he thinks he can get another. I hope you’re right and I’m wrong. What would you do in his shoes? If given the choice of Miami or SF, for me it’s a no brainer. The bucs would be a distant third. The raiders may jump in and actually pay the man. Money always talks. I put the odds of a return to Tampa at around 10%

  32. Buc4evr Says:

    Carmada has been great. Rachael White is good. Both TE’s have a long way to go, but they can improve. Logan Hall and Luke Goedeke should not be on the field.

  33. Bucsfan13 Says:

    One last thing about this Brady to Miami thing. Jeff Darlington is the only guy in the media who has some credibility when it comes to Brady or any FL news. Brady’s circle is small and Darlington was the first to report that Brady was coming to Tampa. This is what he just tweeted:

    I’m not one to consider “no news” as news, but one tweet on it seems reasonable: Dolphins haven’t had any conversations about moving onto next season without Mike McDaniel, Chris Grier or Tua Tagovailoa (assuming he’s healthy), per sources. All three remain in the teams plans.”

    This means that Brady isn’t in their plans. It’s Bucs or retirement.

  34. Goatfarmer Says:


  35. sasquatch Says:

    Miami’s plans could change once the Bucs are eliminated from the playoffs tomorrow night.

    Brady doesn’t want to leave his kids to play on the left coast… So, it’s Tampa or Miami or retirement.

  36. Jeff’s real dad Says:

    Of course draft expert Mel anthem is upset about the draft he should be the bucs gm

  37. Bobby Says:

    What looks like bust is not rookie but second year Joe Tryon!! Where is this guy during the crucial moments in game when he is needed to make an impact in game. Still frustrating Bucs let Suh and JPP walk and Tryon was supposed to step up and be this breakout impact player. Nope, he has not progressed. Very frustrating. I know Barrett being out hurts the defense and affects guys like Tryon. But regardless, man there Super Bowl ring wearing players on this team and a Super Bowl ring wearing coaching staff. And with a banged up O-Line all year Bucs coaches changed the identity of the offense and tried to make more running more physical. It’s so stupid!! If it’s broke don’t fix it. These coaches must be so arrogant about themselves to change the identity of one of top high powered fast paced no huddle, take risks passing offense over past 2 years. I think Bucs are going to lay and egg and turn ball over alot and lose tomorrow. No Hansey and if Jensen plays a small amount of plays its not going to be enough to make a huge impact in game. Plus Donavan Smith due to his personal off the field issues, whatever they are have caused him to have a terrible season. The O-Line is not going to hold up. Get ready it’s going to be a frustrating end to the season. This season is so disappointing because Bucs management sacrificed our future cap and to go all in one last time this season. But the number issue I believe is the coaching and play calling have been just not good all season and is the biggest cause for this disappointing season. I don’t think Glazers should rebuild next season. Go big a get Arians back or get a big name coach and new offense coordinator who can call
    Plays and make better decisions. Keep majority of defense staff though. If they do watch Bucs do a completely 180 and bounce back next season.

  38. sasquatch Says:

    ^^ Tryon made progress this year. I don’t think people should be so ready to label him a bust, at all. He didn’t play senior year in college, he was raw, and this year was his first as a full time player in the NFL.

  39. Manny Says:

    Godecke makes me wanna puke. Hes so awful

  40. orlbucfan Says:

    Hey joes, what about Leverett? He’s been pretty good on the much maligned OL. Camarda, White, Kieft, Otton and Leverett alone have proven to be a decent draft class.

  41. sasquatch Says:

    ^ Leverett isn’t a rookie. UDFA in 2021.

  42. Baby Grace Says:

    It is far too early to say this last draft was good or bad. As I remember it Rice wasn’t a draft pick, it took 3 years before Sapp was a force and Barber didn’t even start for a few years. There are very few draft picks that are a force their first year. Get back to me 2 years from now and we will see who can be an impact player.