PewterReport.com continues its daily feature previewing the upcoming NFL Draft with position-by-position analysis. PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook analyzes what the Bucs have currently on their roster at each position and Trevor Sikkema provides a comprehensive overall ranking of the top players at that position going into the draft. Scott Reynolds makes his projections for Tampa Bay with PewterReport.com’s Bucs’ Best Bets – one early round pick, and one from the later rounds.

The series began with quarterbacks, followed by running backs and this installment previews wide receivers. 

WHAT THE BUCS HAVE AT WIDE RECEIVER
The free agent signing of DeSean Jackson was a huge need-filler for the Bucs offense, as Tampa Bay added a major speed option at the position for Jameis Winston and for head coach and play-caller Dirk Koetter to tinker with in his offensive meeting room laboratory. Jackson led the league in yards per reception (17.9 avg.) on 56 catches for 1,005 yards and four scores. He can take the top off the defense and keep Mike Evans from being double-teamed as often.

Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

Evans, who went to his first Pro Bowl, will try to improve on his career year last season in which he had 96 catches for 1,321 and 12 touchdowns. The former Aggies superstar was a dominant force for much of the season, despite seeing numerous double teams as the Bucs was never able to find a complimentary receiver to pair on the other side of him once Vincent Jackson went down with a season-ending injury.

The Bucs also welcome back former undrafted free agent Adam Humphries, who also posted career high numbers, with 55 catches for 622 yardçs and two touchdown receptions. 

After that things are pretty slim on the depth chart with Freddie Martino (eight receptions, 142 yards, one touchdown), Josh Huff (three catches, 41 yards), Donteea Dye (11 catches, 112 yards one TD in 2015), Derel Walker and Bernard Reedy.

WHAT THE BUCS NEED AT WIDE RECEIVER
Despite adding the speedy Jackson, the former Redskins and Eagles star isn’t getting any younger (30), and the Bucs need to look to add a young receiver to develop to eventually succeed him. Tampa Bay also elected not to re-sign Jackson and lost Russell Shepard to Carolina in free agency.

Fortunately for Tampa Bay, this is a fairly deep draft at wide receiver. The Bucs aren’t necessarily locked into only looking for speed threat, but with Evans set to be locked up for the next several years with a new contract this summer, finding a versatile receiver to contrast Evans is something the Bucs are most likely thinking as the draft approaches. Keep in mind that Koetter likes big wide receivers, too. Look for Tampa Bay to add another receiver or two in the draft and a few more undrafted free agents shortly thereafter.

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at mark@pewterreport.com
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BigSombrero
4 years ago

If Corey Davis is there at #19 or Cooper Kupp is there at #50, do the Bucs pull the trigger? I still think defense is where the value and need are at in the first two rounds, but those two WR’s could make the Bucs a juggernaut on offense.

Hank Scorpio
4 years ago

If we’re able to acquire some extra picks by trading out of the 19th pick, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing us trade back in to the 2nd rd to get Godwin. He’s a very underrated prospect who has gotten good coaching from James Franklin at the college level, which I think will make him more day 1 ready than most WRs in this draft.

Naplesfan
Reply to  Hank Scorpio
4 years ago

There won’t be “extra picks” for trading out of 19 – maybe just one. The draft value of 19 is only 1/3 that of the number one pick. At most we might end up with an extra late 3rd or 4th round pick, and that’s only if someone trades up a long ways (say from the end of round 1). Since everyone in the league knows that this draft is very deep in defensive players and offensive skill players, the natural result is everyone wants to trade back but nobody wants to trade up. That’s what’s called a “buyer’s market”.… Read more »

Hank Scorpio
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

Fair point about the buyers market. The only real situation where I could see us trading back is if 1 or even 0 QBs are off the board after the Cardinals pick at 13. In that situation, I could see the Chiefs or Texans trading up, or even the 49ers or Browns try and trade back in to the 1st to make sure they get their guy. Depending on who is still available on our board when it gets to our pick at 19, I could see Licht entertaining that idea.

Horse
4 years ago

I believe this is where Licht can do his magic in the later rounds with WR.

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
4 years ago

Wide receiver is a must add this draft. There are so many scenarios that could happen in the 1st, but here is my take: -If Williams, Davis, or Ross slip to 19, they are an immediate pick. -If we go DE or RB or S at 19, then Zay, Godwin, Juju & Samuel in the 2nd make sense. -If we go CB or RB or S in 2nd round, then Reynolds, Henderson, & Kupp should be taken in the 3rd. -If we go TE or RB or CB in 3rd round, then Taylor, or Gibson in the 4th would be… Read more »

jshumaker