Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3 Things We Learned from Rookie Camp

A few takeaways from the Buccaneers' rookie mini-camp.

1. O.J. Howard is transitioning well.
When Jameis Winston entered the NFL, much was made over Florida State's complex playbook, which many felt would help Winston's transition to the NFL. That proved to be accurate as Winston went on to pass for more than 4,000 yards during his rookie season. Howard, the Bucs' first-round draft pick, believes he's in a similar situation. "[The playbook is] very similar," Howard said. "Very similar, just different names, different terminology. That's what makes it kind of easy right now, because it's kind of a similar to the offense we ran at Alabama."

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Photos of Howard during the Bucs' rookie mini-camp practices.

  1. The Bucs' roster is deeper than it was a year ago.**
    There were more than 50 players practicing at the Buccaneers' rookie mini-camp, and history has suggested that many of those players could have an opportunity to make the 53-man roster and be contributors. Adam Humphries, for example, made the Bucs' roster as a tryout player two years ago. The Bucs' roster is deeper than it was then, according to Head Coach Dirk Koetter, so it will be more difficult for these rookies to make the 53-man roster. "I think just in general our roster is deeper than it was a year ago," Koetter said. "I think it's getting tougher and tougher to make it. When you start thinking about, 'Yeah, we'd like to have this guy, but who do you want to let go?' Not so easy, I know Jason [Licht] and his guys are watching practice and thinking the same thing. There's some guys that maybe a year or two ago might have had a better chance, but we've got a deeper football team right now than we did a year before."

3. Jeremy McNichols hopes to be back for training camp.
Of the Buccaneers' six draft picks, four were able to participate in rookie mini-camp. McNichols, the Bucs' fifth-round pick, and Kendell Beckwith, who Tampa Bay selected in the third round, were both sidelined as they recover from injuries. McNichols hopes to be back for the start of training camp while Beckwith, who suffered a torn ACL at the end of the 2016 season, wouldn't put a timetable on his return. "It's hard just having to watch everybody," McNichols said, "but at the same time I've just got to trust the process and get back when I can."

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