The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Atlanta Falcons 21-15 on Sunday afternoon. Though not as smooth as the team probably hoped, the Bucs won the game, and their rookies played a big part in that win.
In April, the Buccaneers introduced their 2022 NFL Draft class to the fans, and they are already seeing a significant return on investment.
Offensive lineman Luke Goedeke has started every game at left guard for the team and has done a solid job. Considering he played offensive tackle at a small college, he always needed growth, but he is outperforming where many thought he would be at this point.
The team’s fourth-round pick, and potentially their most impressive rookie on Sunday, was Cade Otton. Otton was thrust into the starting tight end role on Sunday with Cam Brate out because of a concussion, and he did not disappoint. Otton finished fourth on the team in receiving yards, with 46 on six catches.
“We all have a lot of confidence in him,” Tom Brady said. “He’s off to a good start in his career.”
Tight end was one of the biggest gaps on this team after the retirement of Gronkowski this past summer, so Otton growing into a good player would help this team very much.
The team’s first pick was defensive lineman Logan Hall. Hall was initially thought to be used in a rotational role, switching on and off the field with Akiem Hicks and William Gholston. However, an injury to Hicks has seen Hall with much more playing time early in the season.
Two weeks ago against the Packers, Hall earned his first career sack on Aaron Rodgers; he got his second sack today. In addition to the sack, Hall got an additional tackle for loss.
“He’s coming into his own,” head coach Todd Bowles said. “We know what he can bring to the table.”
Running back Rachaad White was the Buccaneers’ third-round pick out of Arizona State. White has seen his role increase over the last two weeks and had a strong game against the Falcons.
White’s stat line from Sunday might not be the most exciting, but it does not tell the whole story. White converted multiple big third downs and is proving to be a reliable third-down back. He also provided Brady with a reliable receiver out of the backfield.
Even though Fournette might still be the go-to running back, White provides a much-needed complement for this offense.
The rookies on the Buccaneers showed why the team valued them this past April. They stepped up to the occasion and contributed in meaningful ways that aided the team in a much-needed win.
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