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Column: Drafting The Bucs 2018: WR

The Buccaneers have a solid group of wide receivers that look to take the 2018 season to dizzying heights. Having speed, youth and veteran leadership at hand, they can address the position in this year’s draft to enhance another team strength.

We can look at the Tampa Bay receiving core through the same eyes that we see it’s linebacking core through. It’s a strong cog on the wheel that is their active roster.

DeSean Jackson can still take the top of rival defenses. He’s a true veteran and still has that elite speed that had teams salivating to grab him when he was on the draft board.

Chris Godwin has a fine rookie season when they began to utilize his talents coming out of Penn State and he will only get better under proper wide receiver coaching as well as sitting under the learning tree with other veterans on the team.

Mike Evans is about to get paid. He is without question a top ten receiver in the league and he has been a valued asset to the Bucs roster. He goes up and over defensive backs to pull down the catch and he runs very good routes. The biggest question with Evans isn’t when, but how much he’s going to get paid as Tampa Bay looks to offer him a long-term deal to stay with the program.

It seems very unlikely that the Buccaneers will address receiver in the first round, but you never know. This is a very deep class and we will look at some names available in later rounds that will add to this core. You can never have too many play-makers as you’re looking towards championship glory.

Wide Receiver:

D.J. Chark (WR, LSU, 6’2, 196 lbs.)

We’ll start right off the bat looking at this burner coming out of the combine. It was widely expected that Chark would turn heads running the 40 and he did just that. He clocked in at 4.34 and there is great consideration that it will help his draft stock, which was already high.

Chark is being eyed as a fourth round prospect, but after performing well at the combine, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to see him go somewhere in the late second or early third round. It is draft season, and we are often surprised at when cards are turned in.

His 2017 campaign at LSU saw him pull in 40 receptions for 874 yards and three touchdowns. Those numbers really don’t seem overly impress at a first glance, but Quarterback play can be attributed to the numbers, but watching him on the field, looking at tape, the speed is certainly the first thing you take note of.

If given time to sit down or to have a chat with Desean Jackson, you’ll have another receiver that can get down the field quick, fast and in a hurry. Jameis Winston has the arm strength to find Chark in the end zone and DB’s in the league will have to take note of him.

In a situation where he’s double covered, you have some amazing tight ends that might find themselves with open field. This is a very intriguing possibility for Tampa Bay and film to lay eyes on.

Michael Gallup (WR, Colorado State, 6’0, 198 lbs.)

Gallup might be one of the most interesting prospects in the entirety of this year’s draft because scouts and coaches have him ranked all over the map. Some teams seem to be eyeing him in the early second round, some have him as a late day three pick. Gallup is coming from a small school, but as is often said, the ball doesn’t lie.

Gallup not only had a stellar senior bowl, he also put up solid numbers at the combine and is seeing many formal and informal chats from teams looking to bring his talent to their home city.

100 receptions, 1413 yards and seven touchdowns in 2017. 76 receptions, 1271 yards and 14 touchdowns are what his 2016 campaign produced. He has sure hands, solid production and there are names in the NFL that he is often compared too. He may very well be the steal of the draft at the wide receiver position this year.

If Gallup’s NFL numbers can match his college production, an NFL franchise is going to be very happy having this Colorado State Ram on their active roster heading into game day.

Anthony Miller (WR, Memphis, 5’11, 190 lbs.)

Miller is another enigmatic prospect, as with Michael Gallup, scouts have him pegged as high as the early second round and some have him slipping to early day three. A common theme when Miller is being discussed is his crisp route running.

His size has him spoken about as a slot receiver, but the speed is there as well. He is another name who performed well during crucial drills at the combine, and if Tampa Bay looks to secure Miller for several years on their active roster, adding a presence such as his to a fine group of receivers only adds another piece that DB’s, Linebacker’s and Safety’s have to keep in front of them at all times.

Miller pulled in 92 receptions for 1462 yards and 18 touchdowns during his 2017 campaign at Memphis. That’s ridiculous. Memphis had a solid year and many watched as Miller helped propel Memphis to a victory over UCLA and future first round Quarterback Josh Rosen.

In 2016, Miller had 95 receptions for 1434 yards and 14 touchdowns. He can find the end zone, it’s that simple. Scouts are very high on Anthony Miller and it can be expected that Tampa Bay will do all the research necessary if they decide to add this young talent to their roster.

As I stated earlier, this is a very deep wide receiver class. This is another year where it’s a very deep class at DB, which we’ll cover here in short order, but if a team does in fact miss an opportunity to grab a wide receiver in the first or second round, there are a litany of needs that will be present on their draft boards that they can feel very safe about drafting.

The combine is now in the rear view, it’s time to begin moving towards the finish line in late April. Moving forward, we are going to get into the meat and potatoes of the Tampa Bay true needs and sitting where they are on the draft board, there will be ample opportunity to secure a crucial piece moving forward.


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