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Buccaneers go defence in 2nd round, draft S Justin Evans

Buccaneers go defence in 2nd round, draft S Justin Evans

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were considered a popular landing spot for Florida State running back Dalvin Cook at No. 19 throughout the predraft process, but they passed on him during the first round of the 2017 National Football League draft Thursday night.

Texas A&M safety Justin Evans is the latest Coast native to get picked in the NFL Draft. For the Buccaneers, everything is built around Winston so there are giving him all the tools he needs to succeed. The Bucs could also use a running back after seeing Doug Martin regress some last season, but the upside of Howard was far too great to pass up on at this point.

"I'm coming in believing in my mind, thinking I'm definitely a starter", Evans said.

"That's the biggest hug I've ever got from coach (Dirk) Koetter", Licht said.

The hope is Evans will contribute right away in a defense that Licht began rebuilding two years ago, when the Bucs landed middle linebacker Kwon Alexander in the fourth round.

The young quarterback led the Bucs to a 9-7 record in his second season, however Tampa Bay missed the playoffs for the ninth consecutive year. It took one more year, but the Bucs now have Howard and an exciting new weapon to add to Jameis Winston's offensive arsenal in 2017.

A day after Texas A&M's Myles Garrett was the first pick in the draft, a pair of his teammates went on Friday.

"I'm going to venture to say that he got better", the GM added of his 23-year-old quarterback. He joined the team for offseason conditioning drills last week, and Licht said he's been encouraged by what he's seen. Some fans wanted to see RB Dalvin Cook, whom Jameis Winston played with at Florida State, selected here.

There will be pressure to change that trend after signing veteran receiver DeSean Jackson in free agency and surrounding Winston and Pro Bowl receiver Mike Evans with more playmakers via the draft.

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