Photos of the 2017 rookie class arriving at One Buc for Rookie Mini-Camp.
- Draft picks are looking sharp.**
There are more than 50 players participating in the Bucs' rookie minicamp, but the draft picks are the players most have their eyes on. After their first NFL practice, things are looking good. "There are a lot of athletic guys out here, but those guys definitely stand out with their athleticism," Head Coach Dirk Koetter said. "We're trying to evaluate a lot of guys at the same time but obviously your draft picks are guys you're looking at especially."
2. O.J. Howard had an impressive first day.
Howard's blocking ability helped him cement his place as the top tight end in this year's draft class, but we won't see him engage defenders until pads come on for training camp. Howard had a few impressive catches during Friday's practice and appears ready for a seamless transition to the NFL.
Photos of the Buccaneers 2017 rookies.
- Jeremy McNichols wasn't participating.**
It's unlikely to see McNichols, the Buccaneers' fifth-round draft pick, on the field in the immediate future. McNichols is recovering from shoulder surgery, but Koetter believes his rookie running back will be ready for training camp.
4. Riley Cooper's experience stands out.
Cooper is, by far, the most experienced player participating in the Buccaneers' rookie minicamp. He spent six seasons with the Eagles, from 2010 to 2015. During that time, he caught 169 passes for 2,418 yards and 18 touchdowns. Cooper spent 2016 out of football after being cut by the Eagles, but was a standout among the wide receivers practicing on Friday.
5. Anthony Auclair was a value pickup.
The Buccaneers had their eyes on a tight end in this year's draft and had O.J. Howard not fallen to No. 19, Tampa Bay could have used a draft pick on Auclair. During his press conference, Koetter said that the Bucs felt the Canadian product could have been drafted and were happy to pick him up as a priority free agent.