It’s an unprecedented time in the NFL calendar where the draft is finished but we haven’t moved onto OTAs and rookie minicamps because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Outside of weekly zoom interviews with players on the Bucs’ roster, the most that experts can do across the nation is speculate how each team and player will operate. We haven’t seen yet what Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowksi look like in a Bucs uniform, nor can we analyze how the Bucs’ rookie class has performed so far at the next level.
But that hasn’t stopped the analysts from making predictions about each team’s rookies from the draft this year. And a couple of analysts from ESPN believe that the Minnesota Golden Gophers rookie pairing of wide receiver Tyler Johnson and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. should have impactful seasons for the Bucs.
When making bold predictions for the upcoming season, NFL analyst and Football Outsider editor Aaron Schatz expects a big year from Johnson, saying that he will be a trusted target for Brady.
“Fifth-round pick Tyler Johnson will become Tom Brady’s new favorite slot receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,” Schatz said. “He won’t put up the numbers of Julian Edelman and Wes Welker, not with all the competition for targets in Tampa Bay, but he’ll gain Brady’s trust. Johnson is a former high school quarterback who runs crisp routes with vision and toughness.”
Kevin Seifert, a national writer for ESPN, said that he sees the instinctual Winfield having an opportunity to lead the NFL in turnovers during his first season with the Bucs.
“Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. will challenge for the league lead in takeaways,” Seifter said. “Last season at Minnesota, Winfield combined exceptional instincts with a lifetime’s experience as the son of a former NFL cornerback to intercept seven passes and force two fumbles. Playing in Todd Bowles’ defensive scheme will give the second-round pick plenty of opportunities.”
Winfield’s father played in the NFL for 15 seasons, so he brings along with him a ton of football knowledge that not many else could replicate.
You can read the all the bold predictions made from the large group of ESPN analysts here.