Following yesterday’s draft profile, another college standout with NFL bloodlines could be a potential Buccaneer target. Michael Pittman, Jr., son of former Buc and Super Bowl champion Michael Pittman, could potentially be an early round target and plug and play type in the third receiver role this year. With Breshad Perriman officially not coming back, could Pittman Jr. be an immediate replacement?
Michael Pittman Jr.’s College Career
Pittman Jr. began to make a name for himself at USC in 2018 after being relatively quiet during his freshman and sophomore years. His junior season saw the 6’4” physical specimen come on to the scene for 41 receptions, 758 yards and 6 touchdowns. He was named honorable mention all-conference as a junior. His sophomore season was more about team contributions than it was personal highlights as Pittman Jr. played a big role on special teams earning first-team All-Pac-12 accolades as a special-teamer while dealing with an early season severe ankle sprain.
As a senior in 2019, Pittman Jr. became a household name on the west coast. The USC receiver posted career highs across the board as he hauled in 101 receptions for 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns. Pittman Jr. earned recognition across several platforms including a Biletnikoff Award finalist, second-team Associated Press All-American, and first-team All-Pac-12 status.
Pittman Jr. was a big time red zone target and displayed the ability to use his size and strength to his advantage. The physicality he played with allowed him to clear out underneath coverage and his hand usage at the line is beyond his years. Pittman does a good job winning contested battles on all levels of the field and his willingness to extend the arms and go get the ball will continue to play well in the NFL.
Pittman Jr. showed good ball tracking skills and had good awareness along the sidelines in regards to spacing and keeping room to stay in bounds. Michael regularly worked back to the ball well on back shoulder throws and is adapt to reading the coverage and adjusting his route.
Pittman Jr. as stated above, is a team player. He is active in blocking for the run and was a good gunner on special teams. That versatility will only help himself in getting on the field early and often. For a quick overview in audio form, here’s Todd McShay giving his take on just how driven and well rounded Michael Pittman Jr. is at this early stage in his life:
I would bet on Michael Pittman Jr. pic.twitter.com/z79kXj7Xk1— Todd McShay (@McShay13) February 7, 2020
For all the polish Pittman Jr. has right now, the one thing he truly lacks is elite speed and elusiveness. Pittman Jr. won’t be breaking any big after the catch runs on short passes, he isn’t going to make defenders miss and he isn’t going to take the top off the defense. That just isn’t his game.
To add to the speed issues, Pittman isn’t the most diverse route runner either. In a perfect world, Pittman will simply be used to the best of his abilities and in a place like Tampa Bay who already have two big time receivers, that’s a possibility for Pittman Jr.
Why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Need Michael Pittman Jr.
“Need” is a strong word here in the same case as it was for Moss in yesterday’s Draft Profile. The team already has two big time weapons at receiver and the player lost via free agency, Breshad Perriman, was much more of a dynamic speedster than a possession-esque talent like Pittman Jr. That said, Pittman’s abilities still fit the bill for what Tampa Bay likes to do on offense.
There is a very real chance that at some point in the next year or two, this team has to make a decision as to whether or not it can afford to pay two number one receivers, number one money. Should the day come that Mike Evans is too “old” and the price tag doesn’t match, a replacement will need to have been groomed already. Michael Pittman Jr., will probably never be Mike Evans but with Chris Godwin booming into a number one himself, the team will need a long term number two and that could be Pittman Jr.
Now let’s look at this year and live in the now. Does the fan base and more importantly, the coaching staff, feel like they are set behind Evans and Godwin? Justin Watson, Scott Miller, Spencer Schnell and the rest haven’t shown much if anything to make anyone feel comfortable with those guys seeing the field on a regular basis. One could easily argue that Pittman Jr. would step right in and be an immediate upgrade in all facets of the game in comparison to that group. Tom Brady came to Tampa for the weapons and at his age he’s going to need reliable ones. Michael Pittman Jr. would be nothing short of a reliable third receiving option.
Should It Happen?
Given the teams current make-up it makes this decision a tough one. The team needs a number three receiver but I’m just not personally sold on the idea that it should be Pittman Jr. With a deep class of talented young wide outs, surely a shiftier option would make more sense for Brady as a go-to emergency target a-la Julian Edelman. Alas, this isn’t my choice to make.
So, now we leave it up to you, Bucs Nation. What do you think about the idea of Tampa Bay selecting Michael Pittman Jr. ? Be sure to vote in the poll and discuss your thoughts in the comments down below!
How Do You Feel About Michael Pittman Jr. For The Bucs In The 2020 NFL Draft?
This poll is closed
Draft Him No Matter What
Trade Back Candidate
I Wouldn’t Mind It
There Are Better Options