The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven’t had a really dominant receiving corps in a really long time. Perhaps even ever. But it’s starting to look like that’s exactly what they’ve put together for this season, and the foreseeable future.
SB Nation’s Jeanna Thomas suggests the Bucs have one of the best receiving groups in the NFL right now, listing Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard as the core of that group. Thomas looked at teams that have given their quarterbacks their best receiving corps ever.
Jameis Winston and Mike Evans had a great connection last season, teaming up for 1,321 yards and 12 touchdowns. Now the Bucs’ roster is stacked with receiving talent. The Buccaneers added DeSean Jackson in free agency and drafted Chris Godwin and the top tight end available this year, O.J. Howard.
DeSean Jackson gives the Buccaneers some speed at a position that didn’t really have it with an aging Vincent Jackson on the roster. Godwin is a strong, physical target, and Howard is extremely well-rounded as a blocker and a receiver.
This actually understates the quality and depth of the Bucs’ roster: Thomas doesn’t talk about Cameron Brate or Adam Humphries, both of whom should play big roles on offense this year—particularly Brate, who has looked very good this offseason by most accounts.
In fact, I would think that of all these players, Godwin is actually the least likely to make an impact this year. He has to compete with too many people and his status as a third-round pick isn’t high enough to get him on the field much—unless a few injuries impact the situation, which they almost always do.
One other interesting factor here will be the team’s approach to running backs and the running game. A back on the field means one dedicated receiver less, too. Will the Bucs go with more back-free personnel groups this year? Or will they use their versatility to toy around tactically with run-heavy personnel setups they can still throw from?