While he’s not the most vocal player, Tampa Bay wide receiver Vincent Jackson is known for being a professional both on and off the field, leading his teammates by example. And with the Buccaneers poised to start a rookie quarterback next season – likely one with past off-field issues in Florida State’s Jameis Winston – that type of direction from a veteran Pro Bowler becomes even more crucial to the team’s success.
“I think the biggest thing is just communication,” Jackson said at his press conference on Tuesday. “Being out there on the field, being available to these guys, telling them what we’re seeing and asking what they’re seeing and expecting of us. That’s the biggest thing, just having an open book and keeping those doorways open.”
Many credited Jackson with helping to speed up Mike Evan’s development last year, serving as a mentor to the unproven rookie. This upcoming season he’ll be expected to do the same, however it will involve a different process given that the No. 1 overall pick won’t be playing wide receiver. But according to Jackson, that won’t be an issue.
“Well, obviously we spend a lot of time with our quarterback, so we’ll have a lot of hands on interaction with him, on the field and in the meeting rooms and things like that,” Jackson said. “I’ll definitely try to tutor him and help him with his learning curve as much as I can … whomever it is that comes in.”
This is the first time during his 11-year career that his team has held the No. 1 overall pick. And although that’s never an intended goal, Jackson says he’s excited for his team’s rare opportunity Thursday night, and what it will add to an already improved organization.
“Yeah, it’s always an exciting time,” Jackson said. “I mean it’s going to change a lot in our franchise, and there’s going to be a lot of buzz going around. Having that first pick is rare; you don’t get a lot of those. I think it’s going to be exciting.
“Whoever it is and however it works out, we’re going to get him in here and get it rolling. We’re excited about who we have in this building already, but again adding good talent throughout the draft, not just the first pick but throughout the draft and even free agency, is going to be important for us.”