Tampa Bay returns mostly the same group of wideouts in 2018 but is hoping to get more out of DeSean Jackson and 2017 rookie Chris Godwin
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers completely remodeled their defensive line this offseason. They also added some new pieces to the offensive line, injected the secondary with some youthful talent and added a potential lead runner to the offensive backfield. Most positions on Tampa Bay’s depth chart saw some editing between January and May, but when it came to the receiver position, the Bucs essentially said, “Let’s rack ’em up and play again.”
Sure, the draft brought fifth-rounder Justin Watson from Penn, and there were the usual additions in undrafted free agency, but the top of the team’s depth chart at receiver is essentially unchanged. And for good reason. The Buccaneers have reason to be satisfied at every “starting” receiver position and even have the makings of some serious competition for playing time.
With Jameis Winston distributing passes to the likes of Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries and Chris Godwin, the Buccaneers fielded the fourth-ranked passing attack in the NFL last year. It wasn’t perfect; there were too many turnovers and not enough production in the red zone. But the talent is clearly there. The Bucs can do even better in 2018 without adding any meaningful pieces; they simply need to make the most of the talent on hand.
“We’re just going to do what we’re supposed to do,” said Sklyer Fulton, who is in his first year as the team’s receivers coach after previously working with that group alongside Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken. “Ultimately, we’ve got to come out and we’ve got to do the little things right consistently and we’ve got to play hard. If we come out and we do the little things right consistently and we play hard, I’m confident that the tape will show what our group is capable of.”
As the Buccaneers’ offseason workout program nears its completion, we are taking a new position-by-position look at how the 90-man roster will stack up for the start of training camp in late July. With free agency essentially over and the draft in the rear-view mirror, that roster is essentially set, though there could be a few changes on the back end before camp opens. Last week we broke down the quarterbacks and running backs. Now we look at the pass-catchers.
Today’s position: Wide Receivers
Addition(s): Sergio Bailey (undrafted free agent), Justin Watson (fifth-round draft pick), Bernard Reedy (free agent), Erv Philips (undrafted free agent)
Returning Players: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Adam Humphries, DeSean Jackson, Jake Lampman, Freddie Martino, Bobo Wilson
The Buccaneers have assembled this group in a typically varied fashion. Evans was the seventh-overall pick in the 2014 draft and he has proved more than worthy of that investment. Humphries is a former undrafted free agent who has developed into one of the league’s more productive slot receivers. Jackson was a priority addition in unrestricted free agency last spring. Godwin is a mid-round pick (he was selected in the third round of a deep class of pass-catchers last year) who looks like he may return much more value than his draft status would indicate.
Both Martino and Wilson were on the active roster by the end of last season, and Head Coach Dirk Koetter recently noted that both young receivers were having excellent offseasons so far. Both entered the NFL as undrafted free agents, with Wilson overcoming a rocky start as a rookie last year to be one of the team’s most improved players by the end of the season. Lampman was on the practice squad at the end of the 2017 season and was then re-signed to a futures contract.
The Buccaneers didn’t make any additions to this group in free agency, unsurprisingly….