If the Bucs discovered one factor from falling brief within the 2021-2022 playoffs, it was that they’ll’t have sufficient depth at huge receiver. Within the crew’s 30-27 loss to the Rams, the Bucs completed the sport with Mike Evans, Scotty Miller and recently-signed John Brown as the one wholesome wideouts. Gone for the season had been Chris Godwin (ACL) and Antonio Brown (reduce), whereas Cyril Grayson and Breshad Perriman additionally missed the sport with accidents. Within the fourth quarter, Tyler Johnson left the sport with an damage.
Now, good luck surviving that extreme of an damage scenario. Deep down, the Bucs know that. Sadly, the celebrities didn’t align for the crew’s well being in 2021. A giant a part of profitable championships within the NFL is luck, whether or not we wish to admit it or not. And the Bucs didn’t have sufficient luck final season.
Nevertheless, the crew is making each effort this offseason to arrange their roster to take up extra unluckiness this season, if it comes. This offseason, the Bucs have signed Chris Godwin to a long run contract, whereas including a model new No. 3 receiver. Russell Gage will fill Brown’s void to the tune of a 3-year, $30 million contract. That’s much more than Brown was making at any level in Tampa Bay. And it present how far the Bucs are prepared to go to improve their receiver depth.
Along with Gage, veteran Breshad Perriman is again on an inexpensive, one-year contract. The Bucs appreciated his flashes final yr, and it’s exhausting to argue with them. Given the affordability and the truth that Perriman has performed his greatest profession soccer in Tampa Bay, it’s a great transfer. Johnson and Miller will return as properly, regardless of disappointing 2021 campaigns for each. Final yr’s fourth spherical choose Jaelon Darden additionally stays within the combine.
Bucs Not Achieved At WR But?
So the Bucs are set at huge receiver. Proper?
Not so quick.
In line with a number of stories, the Bucs are internet hosting a number of huge receivers on High 30 visits over the subsequent few weeks. Every NFL crew is allowed to ask 30 non-local prospects to their facility in the course of the pre-draft course of. Proper now, the Bucs are slated to host Ohio State huge receiver Chris Olave and Arkansas WR Treylon Burks.
So not solely are the Bucs bringing in wideouts for visits, they’re bringing in projected first spherical huge receivers! That is very fascinating for a number of causes. First, the Bucs have their prime three huge receivers all below contract for the subsequent two seasons. And when Evans’ contract is prolonged, you possibly can bump that quantity to the subsequent three seasons. That’s a very long time for a prime draft choose to attend for taking part in time! Or loads to pay Gage to be your No. 4 wideout.
However truthfully, screw all that. Having extra weapons than everybody else enhances your means to create offense. Groups that create one of the best offense have the best likelihood to win Tremendous Bowls. The previous few years has unequivocally taught us all of this. It may not match typical roster-building for the Bucs to draft a large receiver in Spherical 1, however that shouldn’t cease them from doing it.
Which WRs Might Bucs Goal?
Along with their upcoming go to with Olave, the Bucs have additionally met with the receiver formally on the Mix. In some ways, Olave suits the Bucs scheme very properly. He’s primarily a vertical menace, well-suited for a Z-receiver function within the NFL. Olave is a wonderful route runner and has the velocity to win downfield as properly. However he’s not a really bodily participant, nor will he be an element after the catch. These might be points within the NFL.
It’s secure to say these issues gained’t be an issue for Burks. He’s one of many draft’s premier deep threats regardless of being 6-2, 225 kilos. On tape, Burks exhibits all of it. He can stretch the sphere and run by cornerbacks, or he can modify and make the powerful catch. Plus, the large receiver is an element after the catch as properly. Burks performed largely within the slot at Arkansas, however has excellent reps outdoors vs press in his 2021 tape.
If there’s a priority with Burks, it’s that his Mix was good, not nice. A 4.55 40 at his measurement isn’t a giant deal, however many thought he’d be quicker. He additionally solely jumped 33 inches, though his 10-yard break up and broad bounce had been improbable. However Burks’ timed speeds at Arkansas are very spectacular. The SEC star practically hit 23 miles per hour in a sport this yr, a measurement which the Bucs take note of. Tampa Bay’s curiosity in Burks shouldn’t come as a shock to anybody, besides in relation to their loaded huge receiver room.
However, primarily based on their pre-draft exercise, the Bucs are invested on this huge receiver class. Tampa Bay attended North Dakota State receiver Christian Watson’s Professional Day just a few days in the past. That match makes an excessive amount of sense, because the Tampa native has talked about trying as much as Evans’ talent set in his coaching. Watson is uncooked, however has elite athleticism and measurement, which he used to dominate the Senior Bowl.
Tampa Bay has additionally had a proper interview with Cincinnati huge receiver Alec Pierce. It’s no shock the Bucs have an interest after Pierce’s Mix efficiency. When you’ve learn my analysis on GM Jason Licht’s draft preferences at huge receiver, you’ll see that Pierce checks each field. He’s massive (6-3, 211), quick (4.41) and has nice hops (40 1/2 vertical). However Pierce additionally struggles to separate at instances, which might be downside within the NFL. He’s a mid-round choice, in contrast to the aforementioned trio.
Looks as if Alec Pierce will likely be a practical choice for the Bears within the draft
Large, athletic receiver with a pleasant talent set: fingers, velocity, leaping means. School manufacturing wasn’t *wonderful* (106 catches for 1,851 yards in 36 video games) and he isn’t an important YAC man pic.twitter.com/XfFEhthBSe
— Jeremy Layton (@JeremyLayt0n) March 25, 2022
Whether or not you need the Bucs to draft a receiver or not, it’s changing into clear the crew is all for doing so. Final yr, the Bucs noticed what occurred after they ran out of weapons. In a system that depends closely on receivers to win one-on-one, they’ll’t have sufficient depth at huge receiver. If the crew can add a big-play rookie, it might take an important offense excessive this season.