TAMPA -- On a grease board in his office, Tampa Bay Bucs general manager Jason Licht has the word 'speed,' written as a reminder that the Bucs needed to get faster throughout the NFL draft.
"You know, you can't have enough speed," Licht said. "During this year, I know I mentioned this before, that speed was one thing we thought we needed to add I should say to this team. (Head coach) Dirk (Koetter) and I talked about it numerous times. In fact, in my office I have it written on my grease board. It's been there for several months now.
"Not that I need the reminder, but I just kind of left it up there after a meeting. We did just that with the tight end ... we're just looking for players, good players at that. But we thought we added some team speed."
"Everybody gets better," Koetter said. "It hurts you a lot when there's guys you like in the draft and you're watching who gets them. You have friends who are coaches and, 'I'm glad Marvin Lewis got this guy and I'm glad Andy Reid got that guy.' And when guys in your division get guys that you like, that's like, that's just like an extra knife. You're going, 'Oh my gosh, we like that guy a lot.' The teams in our division, they drafted well."
If there was a singular goal to this draft, it was to continue to add weapons for quarterback Jameis Winston.
"You want to give a young quarterback weapons to throw to," Licht said.
Round 1/19 - O.J. Howard, TE, 6-6, 251, Alabama
The Bucs never expected to have a shot at Howard and did not even make him among the 30 players invited to One Buc Place. But they considered him a top-five talent and his character is impeccable. Head coach Dirk Koetter believes he's a throwback tight end who can block and catch. You will see a lot of two-tight end sets with Howard and Cameron Brate next year.
Round 2/50 - Justin Evans, S, 6-1, 195, Texas A&M
Tampa Bay needed help in the secondary and Evans is a big hitter with good speed and ball skills. A junior college transfer, he started every game at safety and had four interceptions while serving as the primary kick returner. The Bucs re-signed Chris Conte and acquired Cowboys free agent J.J. Wilcox to go with veteran Keith Tandy. This was a pick for need.
Round 3/84 - Chris Godwin, WR, 6-1, 209, Penn State
Godwin is a very fast, very productive receiver who lit up Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl. His size and speed makes him a natural receiver to play opposite Mike Evans for years to come. The Bucs have DeSean Jackson, so Godwin could see some action in the slot at times. Pick for depth and a future starter.
Round 3/107 - Kendell Beckwith, OLB, 6-2, 243, Louisiana State
Beckwith is coming off a torn ACL he suffered late in the season against Florida. He looks like a strong-side linebacker, but can play middle. He expects to be ready to play in September, but the Bucs plan to take it slow with his recovery.
Round 5/162 - Jeremy McNichols, RB, 5-9, 214, Boise State
Yes, the Bucs already have a running back from Boise State who sounds a lot like McNichols. But he is Doug Martin, and he's suspended the first three games of the season. McNichols rushed for more than 1,700 yards and 23 touchdowns last season. He runs a 4.49 40-yard dash. Hard to imagine a fifth-rounder would be enough to toss Martin overboard, but Peyton Barber or Charles Sims may have a battle now.
Round 7/223 - Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, DT, 6-1, 331, Southern Cal
The Bucs traded up in the seventh round with the Miami Dolphins to get Tu'ikolovatu, a big, run-stuffing defensive tackle. After transferring from Utah, he went on a Mormon mission to the Philippines and lived out of his Suburban in Los Angeles for two months before starting his career with the Trojans.