After the 2015 draft was over, I knew right away that Bucs could have something special brewing going forward. Only four players remain from that class and those players are Jameis Winston, Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, and Kwon Alexander. So far those four have been really good during their first two seasons and now they head into that critical third year which usually tells us how good the player really is. Now this class will be defined by Jameis Winston since he plays Qb and was the first overall pick. Winston has done an outstanding job not only on the field but more so off the field by transforming this organization and helping them believe that they can win. It looks like the Bucs finally have a franchise Qb which is huge in this league because without a Qb it is very hard to win consistently.
— RealBucsTalk (@RealBucsTalk) June 10, 2017
Now after drafting Winston, the Bucs needed to make sure they protected him with some linemen up front which is why they drafted LT Donovan Smith and C Ali Marpet with back to back selections. Let’s start with Donovan Smith who I believe has done a solid job but still has plenty of room for improvement. However the facts are he has started every game he has played so far, and goes up against the best pass rushers in the game every week. His biggest issue is finding consistency and avoiding the mental errors as he tends to get flagged a little too much at times. So a little more refinement and hard work, Smith could be something special. Then there is Ali Marpet out of Hobart which is a division three college, but by watching Marpet play you would think he came out of a top SEC school. He has been probably the Bucs best lineman through his first two seasons and is an absolute beast in the running game. Marpet is transitioning to center this year which should make Marpet even a better player as he is a natural fit for the position.
— RealBucsTalk (@RealBucsTalk) July 23, 2017
Finally we get to the 4th round pick of the class, and this guy might end up being the best out of the four and that is MLB Kwon Alexander. When first drafted no one thought much of Alexander but his play and passion for football stood out immediately and has been starting his first two years as well. Kwon has it all when it comes to linebacker, he has speed,power, intelligence, and loves the game. Kwon is quickly becoming the leader of this defense and so far he has been really good with room to be even better which is quite scary. All signs point to Kwon becoming that next star player for the Buccaneers and taking that next step into elite status in 2017.
— RealBucsTalk (@RealBucsTalk) June 12, 2017
The question is now can all four players that were mentioned above take that next step forward and become a fantastic four or elite players in this league? I think we want to say yes and the good news is all signs are pointing towards that outcome. To be honest for the Bucs to win this season and get back into the playoffs they will need all four to take that next step up in their game. Winston is going to need to improve his consistency and find his accuracy with the deep ball. Smith has to find ways to cut out the stupid mistakes and become more powerful with his technique. With Marpet it is all about embracing the center position and continue to refine his technique which will make him even better than before. Finally Kwon is already going to take that next step in my eyes as I believe he has a chance to be in the running for defensive player of the year award this season. Alexander has been working non-stop this off-season at his craft and understands this defense completely now which will only make him faster with his play.
The time is now for the Bucs to get back into the post-season and if they are going to get back there it starts with the 2015 draft class. I think we are going to be talking about this particular draft class for a long time as it might go down as one of if not the best draft class in Buccaneers history when all is said and done. So I ask Bucs nation will the 2015 draft class become the new fantastic four this season or will we see signs of regression. I will say this in that it looks like the Bucs are in very good hands right now with these four players moving forward.