The Wright Direction and Receiving

Stacy Revere

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have recently traded their second best wide receiver in Mike Williams just before the 2014 NFL draft.  With picks in the first, second, and third rounds of the draft, the query is do the Bucs have a need to draft a wide receiver in the first round?

First 10 Wide Receivers taken in the 2013 NFL Draft

Player

Team

Pick

Round

Tavon Austin

St. Louis

8

1

DeAndre Hopkins

Hou

27

1

Cordarrelle patterson

Min

29

1

Justin Hunter

Phi

34

2

Robert Woods

Buf

41

2

Aaron Dobson

NE

60

2

Terrance Williams

Dal

74

3

Keenan Allen

SD

76

3

Marquise Goodwin

Buf

78

3

Markus Wheaton

Pit

79

3

Listed above are the first ten drafted wide receivers from the 2013 draft.  Then I looked up the top rookie receiving threats and found Draftseason.com and added their draft positions as well as team ranking in receiving, denoting the importance in the passing game:

Top 9 Rookies in Receiving Yards

Rank

Player

Position

Team

Yards

Rec TDs

Drafted

Team Rank in Receiving

1

Keenan Allen

WR

SD

1046

8

76

1

2

DeAndre Hopkins

WR

Hou

802

2

27

2

3

Terrance Williams

WR

Dal

736

5

74

3

4

Kenny Stills

WR

NO

641

5

144

3

5

Tim Wright

TE

TB

571

5

UDFA

2

6

Robert Woods

WR

Buf

587

3

41

3

7

Marlon Brown

WR

Bal

524

7

UDFA

2

8

Aaron Dobson

WR

NE

519

4

60

4

9

Gio Bernard

RB

Cin

514

3

37

3

http://draftseason.com/nfl-rookie-info/ds-nfl-rookie-stats/#tds

With adjusted yards and Receiving TDs from ESPN.com

Ace Sanders

WR

Jax

484

1

101

2

Cordarrelle Patterson

WR

Min

469

4

29

3

Tavon Austin

WR

StL

418

4

8

3

There were some discrepancies with some stats with draftseason.com and ESPN.com.  I used ESPN's receiving numbers over draftseason.com, but still retained their rankings.

What is very surprising about this chart is how many lower round draftees produced.  Included into the top tier of rookies are two undrafted free agents, Tim Wright and Marlon Brown.  That is the Buccaneers' tight end, Tim Wright.   Tim Wright was the Bucs' second in ranking of passing yards!  Although Patterson and Austin are just outside of the top receiving threats, those two players contributed elsewhere and I will revisit them near the conclusion of this article.

2013 Bucs Top 5 Receivers (Yards)

Player

Pos

Rec

Target

Yds

TDs

Vincent Jackson

WR

78

159

1224

7

Tim Wright

TE

54

76

571

5

Tiquan Underwood

WR

24

45

440

4

Mike Williams

WR

22

40

216

2

Brian Leonard

RB

29

39

179

0

Totals

207

359

2630

18

Stats from ESPN.com

Continuing on with the thought that the Bucs might be very lucky with Tim Wright, I looked up top TE's in the NFL and found Football Outsiders' ranking:

Footballoutsiders.com's TE Ranking

Player

Team

DYAR

Rk

YAR

Rk

DVOA

Rk

VOA

Passes

Yards

EYds

TD

Catch

FUM

DPI

Rate

J.Graham

NO

223

1

212

2

15.70%

12

14.60%

143

1,215

1,302

16

60%

0

0/0

J.Thomas

DEN

214

2

214

1

27.00%

4

27.20%

90

788

989

12

72%

0

Mar-48

V.Davis

SF

199

3

189

3

29.30%

3

27.50%

84

850

890

13

62%

1

0/0

T.Gonzalez

ATL

135

4

137

4

8.70%

18

8.90%

121

859

1,005

8

69%

0

18-Feb

J.Witten

DAL

134

5

120

6

11.20%

15

9.30%

111

851

904

8

66%

0

25-Jan

T.Wright

TB

133

6

86

12

21.80%

8

11.60%

75

571

674

5

72%

0

0/0

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/TE

Wright was ranked sixth best TE in the NFL, by footballoutsider.com's DYAR metric.  In that same chart, further down, is newly signed FA TE Brandon Myers at 36 overall.  Please note we're talking about receiving here; not blocking.

I just hope the new regime values what a find they have in Tim Wright and continue to develop him.  There might be a kinship with fellow second year player Mike Glennon as McCown was signed this offseason as well.  Both players may feel as though they have a lot to prove to this new regime despite showing resiliency last season.

Now let us look back at the top rookie receiving threats chart.  It is true, upon that 2013 sample, that you can find a capable WR in the later rounds that can contribute right away.  I added first rounders who did not make the top tier of Tavon Austin and Cordarrelle Patterson.  While each only posted 418 yards and 469 yards respectively, they both did more than just play receiver.  Austin's total production included running back and kick return duties that amounted to a total of 1209 yards and six touchdowns.  Patterson's total production included running back and kickoff return duties that summed up to 2020 yards and nine touchdowns.

So what if WR Sammy Watkins is available at the seventh overall pick?  Should the Bucs pick him or trade the pick away for more picks?  I think the versatility that Watkins brings would be of that like Austin and Patterson as he is just as dynamic to be utilized in other situations.  Add to that how often Lovie Smith has mentioned he would like to have strong specials teams play.

Right now is an exciting time to be a Bucs' fan as there many stories yet to play themselves out from returning players to new players from free agency as well as the impending 2014 draft.  Hold onto your hats, Bucsnation, as we traverse this new season with hopes we are treading in the right direction.

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