Adam Humphries was a solid presence for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year. Perhaps a bit more than solid, even: he caught 55 passes for 622 yards and two touchdowns, providing a steady underneath outlet for Jameis Winston.
That made him the second-most efficient after the catch receiver in the NFL, per Football Outsiders’ reckoning. 402 of his 622 receiving yards came after the catch, and his catches came just 6.2 yards down the field on average, and 3.6 yards short of a first down—but he added a lot of value after the catch.
That’s unlike all of his teammates, who mostly just caught the ball and then got tackles. In fact, Mike Evans was the worst after the catch receiver in the NFL according to Football Outsiders, who try to evaluate players’ performance by comparing it to other receivers on the same team.
Mostly that difference between Humphries and Evans is about how they were used, though. Evans had to go up and make some spectacular catches, and did that well, but that doesn’t exactly lead to easy after-the-catch gains. Meanwhile, Humphries caught the ball underneath the defense, giving him space to work with. That’s not to say that Evans can do what Humphries does—they’re very different players—but context has to be taken into account.
This should change this year. DeSean Jackson’s presence should give Mike Evans more room to work with, as Jackson pushes safeties deeper down the field. We’ll see whether that actually leads to more after-the-catch production, though.
Another reason this difference should change: Humphries is likely to lose a lot of his snaps this year. The Bucs brought in DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin, with the latter looking very good so far this offseason.
Add in the presence of O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, and we’re likely looking at a lot of two-tight end sets this year. Two tight ends, a running back, Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson—and then there’s no room for Adam Humphries on the field, and that’s before we get to Chris Godwin eating into his snaps.
Even on passing downs the Bucs will try to get O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate on the field—that doesn’t mean Humphries can’t be there, but with backs necessary for pass protection, there’s again not a lot of room for him to be there.
We’ll see how this plays out this year, but it’ll be fascinating to follow this preseason. How the Bucs plan their offense will have a big impact on Humphries’ playing time, and the competition to get on the field will be intense. That’s a good thing: it speaks to the Bucs’ depth on offense.