TAMPA – Adrian Peterson shocked both the medical community and the football world a couple years ago when he needed just eight months to recover from a major knee injury.
Now Buccaneers rookie linebacker Kendell Beckwith is doing pretty much the same thing.
Beckwith, an LSU product, tore up his knee in a game against the Gators last Nov. 19 and had to miss the NFL Scouting Combine as well as most of the Bucs offseason workouts because of it.
Beckwith is back on the field now, though, and he’s wasted no time making an impression on Bucs coach Dirk Koetter.
“The first couple days we were out here for rookie practice, I was a little nervous, not about his knee, but just about how rusty he looked,’’ Koetter said Monday.
“But after four practices here, he’s probably been our most improved player. I mean, as far as a guy and where he started, it really is a good story, really kind of an amazing story just how he’s come back.’’
Beckwith was the second of the Bucs two third-round draft picks (wide receiver Chris Godwin was the first) and for now he’s battling Devante Bond for the starting strong-side linebacker’s job.
Many believe, however, that Beckwith will quickly prove to be more than just a two-down player and that he’ll eventually wind up moving to either the middle or weak-side linebacker spot.
The Bucs, of course, have two very good players there already in Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David, and it’s hard to imagine Beckwith moving either one of them out.
Stranger things have happened, though, and we’ve mentioned here before that some of the contracts the Bucs are going to have to pay out in the near future could make some other players too pricey to keep.
It’s too soon to know if David, for example, would be one of those players but it’s been speculated before that Beckwith was drafted in part as a fall-back should the Bucs no longer be able to afford David.
Again, it’s way too soon to know if a move like that will ever become necessary, and for now Beckwith has his hands full just proving he’s a better option that Bond at the strong-side spot.
It’s good to know, though, that the Bucs have fast healer and a potential impact player in Beckwith. Many thought that grabbing him was one of the smarter moves the Bucs made in this year’s draft and already he’s proving that may indeed have been the case.