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Bucs Can Find Next DeSean Jackson in NFL Draft

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Jason Licht could have all the speed for a fraction of the price

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

What if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could have the talents of DeSean Jackson with a fraction of the cost and none of the drama? Wouldn’t that be something?

Well, according to The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs, it just might be possible.

In his recent NFL Draft comparison’s column on the network’s site, he sees a lot of what makes Jackson who he is in Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Marquise Brown, writing,

“Jackson was drafted 49th overall in 2008 and ran 4.35 at 178 pounds. I’d expect we will see Brown in that same range: the dude is tiny but he can fly.”

Don’t believe me, well, Kyle? Check this out.

Of course, highlight reels rarely look bad. And “Hollywood” Brown is no different. While his highlights look pretty tempting, his drawbacks are significant as well.

Again, Crabbs writes,

“Things that will never be winning factors for either player: functional strength, catch radius, contested catch rate.”

Say it again for those in the back. Bucs fans got their own healthy dose of just how much strength and radius Jackson has, and just how much he’s not willing to contest passes when the need arises.

In all fairness, I think Brown is a little tougher and more of an on-field fighter than Jackson is. But imagine having rookie DeSean Jackson. Hungry DeSean Jackson. Tampa Bay almost had him of course.

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times chronicled how then head coach Jon Gruden wanted the Bucs to move up to draft Jackson in 2008, but ended up with Dexter Jackson out of Appalachian State instead.

Now, eleven years later, it might be time to right past wrongs. The correct Jackson was drafted with the 49th selection in that year’s selection meeting. Tampa Bay currently holds the 39th pick (seventh in the second round).

Wide receiver does not appear to be a top draft need for the Bucs this year, but head coach Bruce Arians needs a speed threat to make his offense work. Without Jackson, there aren’t many free-agent options as dynamic.

If Tampa Bay moves on from the disgruntled veteran they would save $10M against the salary cap but lose some elite speed. By drafting “Hollywood” Brown, they could recoup the lost speed, and still save over $8M against their 2019 cap.