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
Reply to  RootsCrew
4 years ago

I agree that an early round pick on WR is a must in this draft unless they draft TE (Njoku) in the 1st round. Njoku has been my top choice for months. Regardless if it is WR/TE or McCaffrey Jameis needs another serious weapon to throw to

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
Reply to  jshumaker
4 years ago

Yep. A TE is a must grab as well. We have no viable depth behind Brate. Njoku and a WR like Godwin, Zay, Henderson, Reynolds would be a good offensive haul. Firepower for the offense. Engram, Butt (pending knee check), & Roberts would also be good TE additions to the team.

Naplesfan
Reply to  RootsCrew
4 years ago

I’m a BPA guy … but I admit that I will be disappointed if we don’t take one of the top 5 or 6 WRs in the draft this year, meaning either round 1 or 2. Not shocked at that outcome, but disappointed. As much as I love the DeSean Jackson signing, I see him as a bridge pick, to give us time to draft and groom the next DJax. Speed is king, especially given that we already have two really good big guys catching balls – Mike Evans and Cam Brate. So a Mike Williams style WR wouldn’t be… Read more »

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

I think we’re okay enough as a team to go BPA, but like you, I won’t be okay with not taking a top WR. There are too many to not grab one. I’m with you, DJax was a great addition, but we need to grab his replacement this year & let him mature/be ready when Djax is done. I’d love a Williams type of WR. Grab a speedy/route guy next draft.

MudManVA
4 years ago

I agree with Roots above, and Mark points out that the BUCS have NO depth behind Evans, Jackson, and Humphries. Scott R. has said many times that the BUCS need to draft 2 WR’s and I agree. TE, S, and WR are our thinnest positions with no quality depth. As much as I have been howling at the moon to trade back, if Davis or Williams are still on the board at 19 the BUCS shouldn’t hesitate. Curious about Josh Reynolds, PR has been very high on him until recently where they have gone quiet /backed off? He is a… Read more »

BrianDorry55
Reply to  MudManVA
4 years ago

I love Reynolds as a sleeper, dude has some seriously good body control and ball skills.

BrianDorry55
4 years ago

There will be some dumb teams who pass on Corey Davis because they didn’t get to see him work out. He’s plenty fast on tape and is the best route runner in this draft. He also played all over the offense at WMU and played in the slot a lot, so he’d be a great fit because DeSean sounds like doesn’t want to be in the slot. If we can’t get our hands on McCaffrey then I’ll be praying we find a way to get Davis.

Buc 1976
4 years ago

Mark this WR class looks deep on paper. I feel certain Bucs will get one in the first two rounds. I REALLY WISH Bucs could get TE OJH even if we trade up and not sell the Farm to do so.

Naplesfan
4 years ago

It’s the same every draft season. Every year the fans and prognosticators label players as likely to go at this pick in that round .. and then, suddenly the week before draft day, a whole lot of reevaluating goes on. This year a lot of folks, including a lot of PR commenters, claimed that Ross had bust writtten all over him, he was slipping badly, probably won’t be drafted til late in the 2nd round, and that his record-breaking performance in the Combine didn’t mean squat. Now he’s the consensus top WR in the draft. A month ago, it was… Read more »

Buc 1976
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

Naplesfan 2 teams behind us are looking for A QB. As many years as I have followed the draft SO MANY teams will reach for a QB.
TAKE C Ponder, B Bortles EJ Emanuel and the worst Geno Smith. That is just a few. So a team could want to trade up and if they do MAKE THEM PAY!

macabee
4 years ago

RD5/6 – WR Robert Davis/Georgia State 6-3,219, 4.44
*Sleeper alert! I found this guy just watching random highlights one evening and was impressed. Robert is a big bodied WR that immediately reminded me of Pierre Garcon. This could be a developmental WR that has the measurements and potential to be a starter one day. Getting young at the position and staying competitive. Lofty and perhaps unrealistic comparisons he’s getting, but worth a look late. Related to Panther’s LB Thomas Davis.

http://www.ajc.com/sports/college/georgia-state-robert-davis-draws-julio-jones-comparisons-nfl-combine/lerE5bKj0zgLdh8DmMwMuK/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0PqnF-q4p8

drdneast
4 years ago

Unfortunately the Bucs history hasn’t been good in regards to picking WR’s with lare round draft picks.
So for an immediate need. Id rather see thr Bucs pickup a late preseason waived veteran like they did with Cecil Short last year.
Either that or they are one injury away from being in the same boat as they were last year.
All of out WR’s afte Adam Humphries have been bouncing on and off practice squads for the last 2 or 3 years so its time for them to stepup like The Hump did or step off.

jlr0714
4 years ago

Absolutely wouldn’t mind seeing us double up on WRs…and pick Robert Davis in the 6th/7th round. Raw, but intriguing combination of size/speed.

chetthevette
4 years ago

There is good talent to be had at the WR spot all the way to the third. So here is my wish list for our first pick. Lamp, Williams, Howard, Davis then Cook. If all 4 of them are gone before we picktake the best player availible.It’s all well and good to hope for offensive weapons, but the reality is, Winston can pass when he on his butt. RB can’t run without holes to run through. All the great teams build their lines up, offensive and defense, and win games. Just my opinion folks. IMO Forrest Lamp could be the… Read more »

diablo5597
4 years ago

What’s the situation why the Bucs are not trying to resign Vincent Jackson? He would be the best 3rd receiver in the league.

scubog
4 years ago

There’s little doubt that WR is one of the greater “needs” along with TE, RB and S. A quick look at the current roster at those positions is evidence enough to conclude that Licht probably hopes to land one of each. However, being a proponent of BPA and having no idea how Jason Licht has ranked this Draft class; I wouldn’t be shocked at any position (except QB) being chosen.

Easythe great
4 years ago

LOL at leaving KD Cannon off this list.. That kid is gonna be an explosive down the field player for whoever drafts him.. Hopefully us!!

SenileSenior
4 years ago

I would want us to get either Corey Davis (WR) or David Njoke (TE) if we have to pick at 19, though I really don’t necessarily expect either of them to be available.

If we should have the luxury of trading down and then trading back up a bit, we could do quite well overall. So many possibilities!

I think Armara Darboh (WR, Michigan) should be in the conversation regarding a 3rd to 4th round pick. He is 6-2, 215 and reported to run a 4.46.

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Go Bucs!!!