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Buccaneers NFL Draft target: Wide Receiver Dontayvion Wicks, Virginia.

Wide Receiver, a need or a strength?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 20 Virginia at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There is no list of Top 10 Buccaneers that would leave the wide receiver position without representation. The Bucs have been spoiled rotten for years, having elite level talent in their receiver room. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have been Tampa's starting duo dating back since before the Tom Brady era and the tandem has thrived in unison. Since Chris Godwin has entered the team’s lineup as a full-time starter, Evans has produced over 4,300 yards and 41 touchdowns. Opposite Evans, Godwin has reeled in 353 passes and 24 touchdowns of his own. The pair have very complementary styles and their joint performance has been poetry in motion.

As consistent as Tampa Bay’s top two receivers have been, the names and faces filling out the remainder of the depth chart have changed, changed, and changed again. In the last three seasons alone, Tampa Bay’s third receiver has never been a reoccurring face. Of course, everyone knows by the end of 2020 the Buccaneers held the Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl champions with Antonio Brown sliding in behind Evans and Godwin, however details remind us that Brown wasn’t even on the roster at the season’s start. Fast forward one season and Antonio Brown was on the Buccaneers roster opening day, slated to be in the same role, as the team’s third receiver. As has become common knowledge, Brown did not finish the 2021 season as a Buc. Tampa’s 2022 cast consisted of Russell Gage, Julio Jones, Scotty Miller, and Breshad Perriman. All veteran players with significant NFL experience, to fill in behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Tampa Bay’s receiving core was smothered in injuries this past season so throughout the season the team’s third receiver alternated frequently amongst the group.

Flash to April of 2023 and only one of those players even remains employed by the team. Julio Jones, Scotty Miller, and Breshad Perriman, all gone. Russell Gage is still a Buccaneer, making him the first player in three years to be returning in the role of third receiver. Gage finished his first season with the Bucs, hauling in 51 catches for 426 yards and five scores. Heading into 2023, past Gage, the depth chart is young and unheralded. This lack of experience in combination with the injury bug biting Gage notably hard in 2022, could mean the Buccaneers investigate the position in this year’s draft class. Enter Dontayvion Wicks—

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 30 Virginia at Miami Photo by Samuel Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Who is Dontayvion Wicks?

Coming out of Virgina, the former Cavalier wide receiver stands at a shade under six feet two inches and just over 200 pounds. Wicks’ size is very similar to that of current Buccaneer Chris Godwin. He may not be an incredibly large prospect but, it is worth noting if Wicks were on Tampa Bay’s roster presently, he would be the team’s third largest receiver. In high school, Dontayvion Wicks was actually a quarterback/wide receiver hybrid. He would go on to attempt three passes during his college career, finishing with an 83.7 rating. If the Buccaneers do decide to draft Wicks, maybe he will be able to execute a trick play, passing to Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask, a little bit better than Leonard Fournette and Tom Brady circa 2022. Let the record show Baker Mayfield already has 17 yards receiving in his NFL career.

What was Dontayvion Wicks’ production like in college?

During his time at Virginia Wicks only had one season of truly high-level production. His first season of collegiate football was expectedly unproductive, Wicks caught three passes. Those three receptions did net very quality results as he found the endzone and recorded 61 yards receiving. 2020 saw zero games played from Wicks after he suffered a season-ending foot injury before the season’s start. In 2021, Dontayvion Wicks exploded with 57 catches for 1,203 yards, while adding nine touchdowns. Impressively, Wicks’ high yards per catch average from his 2019 campaign was sustained, even as the sample size of his reps increased by 54 receptions. After averaging 20.3 yards per catch in 2019 and then 21.1 in 2021, 2022 saw the Cavaliers' star suffer a major dip in production. In 2022, Wicks averaged just 14.3 yards per reception. This came on 27 less catches with seven fewer trips to the end zone than in his previous season. Drops have been a noteworthy issue for the former quarterback/receiver dual threat hybrid, and they heavily hampered his production last season. As a whole, Wicks and the Virginia Cavaliers faced an uphill battle during the 2022 season. Individually, Wicks was shelved with another injury for part of the season, but as a team the Cavaliers had to deal with tragedy. The team was forced to cancel part of its season after a shooting that led to the losses of three of their players, losses that are still carried by Wicks and his teammates.

Dontayvion Wicks’ pre-draft process.

Wicks may not have ended his college career on the highest of high notes, but luckily the end of the season is just the beginning of the NFL evaluation process. At the Senior Bowl Wicks made quite an impression including one of the most memorable individual highlights of the week. If ‘Route of the week’ were an award given out in Mobile, Wicks would have the right to stake his claim on this beauty—

At the combine, Dontayvion Wicks ran a 4.62 40-yard dash and posted a 39-inch vertical jump. For comparison, Chris Godwin (a receiver of similar stature) ran in the low 4.4’s and jumped 36 inches. He may not have provided eye-popping numbers, but at the same time Wicks is not a draftee who the Bucs would need to worry about snatching up with a first-round pick. He will likely be a prospect selected later on in the 2023 NFL draft which means there is a possibility that he could represent some later round value for a team that is quite top-heavy at the position.


Should the Buccaneers look to draft a wide receiver this year?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Yes, get one and get him early!
    (9 votes)
  • 71%
    Maybe, but the team has bigger needs.
    (27 votes)
  • 5%
    No, Evans and Godwin FOREVER!
    (2 votes)
38 votes total Vote Now

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