Short answer to the above: no. Long answer: absolutely not. Very long answer: read on.
The proposition of Oklahoma State wide receiver becoming a Tampa Bay Buccaneer on draft day has reared its head a few times, although that speculation died down a little when Vincent Jackson signed with the team. Still, some people still bring it up. I don't think it will or should happen, and I have four reasons for that:
- Justin Blackmon is not worth the fifth overall pick
Yes, Blackmon has been incredibly productive in college. Yes, he's a powerful runner after the catch. But the receiver lacks the physical attributes required to be an elite receiver - and that's what you expect out of a fifth overall draft pick. He's significantly smaller than someone like Andre Johnson or Calvin Johnson, he lacks the speed to be a deep threat like Steve Smith, and even in college his stats suggest that he's little more than a possession receiver: he averaged just 12.1 yards per catch in 2011. Blackmon's statistics are a result of short routes and the ability to break tackles, neither of which is an attribute you're looking for in a fifth overall draft pick. This is not just my opinion: there are many draft analysts who feel the same way, including a few very knowledgeable ones.
Sure, the group as a whole disappointed massively in 2011 - but the one element that was missing from this receiving corps has been addressed in free agency with the addition of Vincent Jackson: a deep threat. The Bucs have a group of talented, young receivers who can work well as complements to Vincent Jackson. The Bucs would do well to address other holes on the team before thinking about adding yet another wide receiver.
Dezmon Briscoe, Arrelious Benn, Mike Williams and Preston Parker are all young, talented receivers who can still develop into worthwhile NFL receivers. Although for three of these four players last year was rather unremarkable, let's not forget that Williams had a stellar rookie season, Benn is raw but still very talented, Briscoe is a solid but unspectacular possession receiver and Parker flourished in the slot last year. The Bucs can't afford to give up on these players. Instead, they need to let them compete for playing time in 2012 - and see who rises to the top.
Justin Blackmon is not an elite talent at his position, in my eyes. The three players I mentioned above are, and assuming Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are indeed selected with the first two picks, the Bucs will be in position to select at least one of them. Passing on an elite left tackle, or a shutdown cornerback would be criminal. And while I'm not a fan of selecting running backs high in the draft, you can't deny Richardson's talent. Given the Bucs' deficiencies on offense (ie. at running back), selecting Richardson would make a lot more sense than selecting Blackmon.