TAMPA – One day after signing their 2017 first-round draft pick, tight end O.J. Howard, the Buccaneers on Tuesday signed three more players selected in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Bucs announced the signing of linebacker Kendell Beckwith, a third-round pick out of LSU; running back Jeremy McNichols, a a fifth-round pick out of Boise State; and defensive tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, a sixth-round pick out of USC.
The 6-foot-3, 247-pound Beckwith was a college teammate of Bucs middle linebacker Kwon Alexander and is expected to eventually compete for the starting strong-side linebacker’s job with 2016 draftee Davante Bond.
In 47 career games as a collegian, Beckwith made 29 starts and recorded 263 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, eight pass breakups, 7.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one interception.
The 5-foot-9, 214-pound McNichols played in 34 games and made 25 starts at Boise State, where he ran for 3,205 yards on 571 carries (5.6 per carry) and 44 touchdowns.
A strong pass catcher, McNichols also caught 103 passes for 1,089 yards and 11 touchdowns before finishing his career with the seventh-most rushing yards in school history and the fourth-most rushing touchdowns.
The Bucs traded up to get the 6-foot-1, 320-pound Tu’ikolovatu, who began his career at the University of Utah but transferred for his last year of eligibility to USC.
It was with the Trojans that Tu’ikolovatu began to stand out as a dominant run stopper, earning second-team All-Pac-12 honors as well as the Rose Bowl defensive player of the game award.
Over the course of his college career Tu’ikolovatu played in 38 games with 14 starts and racked up 89 tackle, including nine for a loss, four fumble recoveries and three pass breakups.
Tu’ikolovatu is expected to compete with veteran Sealver Siliga for a job as an early-down run stopper for the Bucs, who are hoping to make the playoffs after falling just short during a 9-7 2016 season.
The signing of the trio came in the wake of the Bucs first day of OTAs at One Buc Place, where Beckwith and McNichols were both forced to watch the workout from the sidelines.
Both players continue to recover from off-season surgery to repair injuries. Beckwith is rehabbing a knee injury while McNichols is trying to bounce back from a torn labrum in his shoulder.