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Greg Auman, Times Staff Writer

Greg Auman

Greg Auman has been at the Tampa Bay Times since 1999 and has covered the Bucs and the NFL since 2013. He covered the University of South Florida's athletic department from 2004-13.

Phone: (813) 226-3346


Blog: Bucs Beat

Twitter: @GregAuman

  1. Bucs journal: Jeremy McNichols hopes to continue NFL success of Boise State RBs


    TAMPA — Jeremy McNichols, the Bucs' fifth-round pick, sounds a lot like another Bucs running back from Boise State — he and Doug Martin are both 5 feet 9 and from California, with prolific careers for the Broncos.

    But McNichols drew a comparison to another promising Boise State running back: Jay Ajayi, who was a fifth-round pick two years ago after leaving school early and rushed for 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns last season with the Dolphins....

    Boise State running back Jeremy McNichols rushed for 1,709 yards and 23 TDs last season, and 1,337 and 20 the year before.
  2. Bucs move quickly to land undrafted rookie free agents


    Immediately after closing out its 2017 NFL draft class, the Bucs have moved onto supplementing that group with undrafted rookie free agents. We're up to 11 names confirmed -- they'll be in town on Friday for the Bucs' three-day rookie minicamp. Remember, there were a ton of players that made the Bucs' roster and made impacts as undrafted rookies last season, so don't write any of these off too quickly....

  3. Bucs trade up for USC DT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu


    Even in the seventh round, the Bucs can draft with urgency, and they sent next year's seventh-rounder to move up 14 spots and draft former Utah and USC defensive tackle Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, a massive 348-pound prospect.

    The Bucs sent next year's pick to the Dolphins so they could move up and grab Tu'ikolovatu, who is one of the draft's more colorful characters. He started his college career in 2009, spent three years on an LDS mission, then spent two months living in his car in Los Angeles last summer after transferring to USC for his final season....

  4. Boise State coach: McNichols well-prepared for Koetter offense


    There was already a strong connection between Boise State and the Bucs, with Dirk Koetter starting his head coaching career there and Doug Martin playing for the Broncos before coming to Tampa Bay. The drafting of running back Jeremy McNichols in the fifth round only strengthens that pipeline, and familiarity will help the rookie this fall.

    "Jeremy's going to walk in there and be football intelligent. He's going to know protections and speak the language," said Boise State coach Bryan Harsin, who played quarterback for Koetter at Boise State. "He'll understand what they're teaching, and that's a carryover from my time with Dirk ... When our guys get to the next level, they are going to know ball. They know how to study film, know how to prepare, and that's going to help him when he gets into the playbook."...

  5. Bucs get their RB: Boise State's Jeremy McNichols


    After two days and five rounds, the Bucs have drafted a running back, using their fifth-round pick on Boise State's Jeremy McNichols, who rushed for 1,709 yards and 23 touchdowns last season.

    Bucs coach Dirk Koetter had his first head coaching job at Boise, and it's also where Doug Martin went to school -- there will be quite a battle among the Bucs running backs in training camp. McNichols is 5-foot-9 and 214 pounds -- he had 1,337 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2015 and has been an active pass-catcher with 474 receiving yards and another four touchdowns last fall....

  6. Bucs trade up into 3rd for LSU linebacker Kendell Beckwith


    The Bucs squeezed in a buzzer-beater on Friday night, trading up to get the final pick in the third round and using it to select LSU linebacker Kendell Beckwith.

    Tampa Bay sent a sixth-round pick to the Jets to trade up 18 spots, from the 125th slot in the fourth round to the 107th at the end of the third. As a result, they have only two picks -- in the fifth and seventh rounds -- on the draft's final day Saturday....

    Kendell Beckwith won't be immediately available to the Bucs, as he tore his ACL in November in a game against Florida and underwent surgery.
  7. Bucs get speed in 3rd with Penn State WR Chris Godwin


    The Bucs put their search for a running back on hold for a day but went back on offense, adding speed to their passing game in the third round with Penn State receiver Chris Godwin.

    Godwin, 21, ran a 4.42 40 at the NFL combine, making him one of the fastest players on the team -- he'll learn as a rookie from veteran DeSean Jackson, both of them adding considerably to the Bucs' receiver depth along with Pro Bowl standout Mike Evans....

    The Bucs added speed to their passing game in the third round with Penn State receiver Chris Godwin.
  8. In NFL draft's second round, Bucs draft safety Justin Evans


    Bucs add safety who could start, and a WR

    TAMPA —The Bucs' second-round selection Friday, Texas A&M safety Justin Evans, might not be a name fans know well, but it was received well by draft experts who see a likely starter.

    "He'll hit you, but he'll also miss some tackles. He's a very aggressive guy. It's all-or-nothing when he comes to tackle, and he also has good range on the back end," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said on "When you look at Tampa Bay, Justin Evans comes in, competes day one and ends up being their starting free safety."...

    COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 12:  Akeem Judd #21 of the Mississippi Rebels is tackled by Justin Evans #14 of the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field on November 12, 2016 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
  9. Bucs take Texas A&M safety Justin Evans in 2nd round


    Much of the buzz surrounding the Bucs entering Friday's second round was the possibility of a running back taken, with reports that Tampa Bay was trying to trade up from No. 50, potentially to get Florida State running back Dalvin Cook.

    That never happened, with the Vikings trading up to take Cook at No. 41 -- Oklahoma's controversial Joe Mixon went two picks before the Bucs to Cincinnati, and Tampa Bay stayed put and filled a big need, selecting free safety Justin Evans of Texas A&M....

    Justin Evans had 87 tackles and four interceptions in 2016.
  10. Bucs grab safety Justin Evans in second round, receiver Chris Godwin in third


    TAMPA — The Bucs put their search for a running back on hold for a day Friday, taking safety Justin Evans of Texas A&M in the second round of the draft and going back to offense with receiver Chris Godwin of Penn State in the third round.

    Evans, who could also help on kickoff returns, had four interceptions and 87 tackles for the Aggies last season. Godwin is yet another weapon for quarterback Jameis Winston. He's a 6-foot-1 receiver who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds at last month's scouting combine....

    Texas A&M safety Justin Evans could make his first impact with the Bucs on kickoff returns. He had one for 90 yards last year.
  11. Bucs introduce first-round pick O.J. Howard


    Bucs coach Dirk Koetter was impressed to see that O.J. Howard wanted to play in the Senior Bowl at a time in which many first-rounders politely decline, and he was even more impressed when he and general manager Jason Licht saw what the Alabama tight end was able to do in the first practice in Mobile, Ala., back in January....

    Jason Licht said the Bucs have had their eye on O.J. Howard since the 2015 season, when there was a chance he would leave early after helping Alabama to a national championship.
  12. Kiffin: Unselfishness, work ethic made O.J. Howard stand out


    Bucs first-round pick O.J. Howard certainly could have had more passes thrown his way in three years at Alabama, but part of what makes him a great player is the unselfish way he carried himself, former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin said Friday.

    "He's a phenomenal kid and a team leader. Really one of the hardest-working guys I've ever been around," said Kiffin, now the head coach at Florida Atlantic after three years coaching Howard at Alabama. "I was there three years, and on offense we had guys that set the tone for how they worked. It wa Amari Cooper, the next year it was Derrick Henry, and last year it was O.J. Howard. I think he learned from those guys and now he's passed that down to the next guys there."...

    Part of what makes O.J. Howard a great player is the unselfish way he carried himself, former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin said.
  13. Becht: Bucs could have NFL's best 1-2 TE combo in Howard, Brate


    Anthony Becht knows the challenge of being a tight end drafted in the first round, and he called an Alabama game last year as an ESPN analyst, so he's well-equipped to evaluate the merits of Bucs first-round pick O.J. Howard, the tight end from Alabama.

    "He by far was the best tight end -- I thought there was a gap between him and the rest of a deep class that was available," Becht said Friday morning. "The size and speed and athleticism factor -- some guys have the size but OK speed. All those things, he's top-tier plus. He's got the height at 6-6, a 250 frame. The kid's yoked up, with a little more room to fill in. The speed element to stretch the field, he'll become one of the elite downfield runners out of all the tight ends that are in the NFL. That's the element he brings."...

    Cameron Brate tied for the NFL lead among tight ends with eight touchdowns last season.
  14. Tight ends have thrived in Dirk Koetter offenses


    Bucs coach Dirk Koetter could barely contain his excitement Thursday night after landing Alabama tight end O.J. Howard with the No. 19 pick in the NFL Draft, continuing a long history he's had of tight ends flourishing in his offense.

    "I'm the first to admit that I like tight ends," said Koetter, who saw Cameron Brate tie for the NFL lead among tight ends with eight touchdowns last season, matching the Bucs' franchise record for the most by a tight end....

    Tony Gonzalez had two huge seasons working with Dirk Koetter in Atlanta at the end of his career.
  15. What they're saying about Bucs rookie O.J. Howard


    The Bucs used their first-round pick, the No. 19 pick overall, on Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, who was projected by many draft experts to be a top-10 pick. General manager Jason Licht called it a "pipe dream" that Howard would fall to the Bucs at 19, and there was praise from all sides on the Bucs' choice.

    "I'm amazed," ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said on the live draft broadcast. "You think about Jameis Winston and the weapon he can be. You've got Cameron Brate and now you add a guy like O.J. Howard. He'll help out your running game ... you look at a guy like O.J. Howard, you'd like to see him sustain a little better, but I like the blocking. You don't see out of too many tight ends these days."...

    The Bucs used their first-round pick, the No. 19 pick overall, on Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, who was projected by many draft experts to be a top-10 pick.