Bucs Draft Needs: Wide Receiver
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Many analysts believe the Bucs need for a receiver is at such a desperate level that the Buccaneers should be willing to do whatever it takes to secure one of the top receivers in this draft. While I agree that receiver is a need for the Bucs, with the depth at the position in this draft, it might actually behoove the Buccaneers to address another position in the 1st round and address receiver in round 2 or 3.
Here is my 2nd rated need for the Bucs in this draft:
It is no secret that the Bucs have a major need at wide receiver. After Mike Williams trouble and ultimate trade to Buffalo, the Buccaneers starting two receivers seem to be Vincent Jackson and Louis Murphy. Behind them, you’ll find Chris Owusu, Skye Dawson, Russell Shepard, and Lavelle Hawkins. Yes, I’m worried too.
Jim Lighthall and I had a chance to speak to NFL Network’s draft expert Daniel Jeremiah, which will be heard Thursday at 10:00 on Fan Interference, and he said most people do not realize the depth of this receiver class.
“In this draft,” Jeremiah said. “You can draft receivers in the 5th round that would typically 2nd round picks in other drafts.”
Below you’ll just find a small sample size of the talented receivers in this draft. I believe the Buccaneers are looking for receivers that can make plays after the catch in open space, so those receivers will be the ones I focus on here:
Sammy Watkins – Clemson - How bad do you want the best receiver in this draft, and one of the best receivers to enter a draft in the last 5 years? Would you trade the Bucs picks in the 1st 3 rounds to move up and secure him? What about a 1st round pick next year? Watkins is an elite receiver, especially in the open field, but the price tag just seems too steep for a team will multiple needs in a draft as deep as this one. PROJECTED: Top 3
Mike Evans – Texas A&M - Evans has become a very popular name associated to the Bucs in recent mock drafts. Evans size is very intrguing at 6’5” and 230 lbs. He also possesses good enough speed to stretch a defense. I believe he’ll be a number 1 receiver in the NFL, but does he fit Jeff Tedford’s “speed in space” offense? PROJECTED: Top 10
Odell Beckham Jr.- LSU - Beckham is definitely “speed in space.” At 5’11” and nearly 200 lbs, Beckham has enough size to go with his 4.4 speed. I think the 7th pick might be a bit high, but the Bucs could target Beckham as a trade back option in the early teens. PROJECTED: 1st Round
Brandin Cooks – Oregon State - Cooks is a tad smaller than Beckham Jr, but is just as electric and fast. Cooks can play in the slot or on the outside. With Cooks, just get the ball to him in space and prepare to be entertained. PROJECTED: 1st Round
Marqise Lee – USC - Lee’s stats fell off in 2013, but his talent is very real. While Lee does not possess elite straight-line speed, his agility and athleticism make him a legitimate threat in the open field. PROJECTED: 1st/2nd Round
Allen Robinson – Penn State - Robinson is a big wide receiver with speed to stretch a defense. I wouldn’t call him electric in the open field, but he can be a very reliable target for a quarterback and make some acrobatic catches. PROJECTED: 1st/2nd Round
Donte Moncrief – Ole Miss - Moncrief is one of my personal favorites. He has legit size at 6’2” and 225 lbs, but has elite 4.4 speed to go with that size. He came from an inconsistent offense with inconsistent QB play at Ole Miss and did drop some passes, but he is electric in the open field and can stretch any defense. NFL Films’ Greg Cosell recently compared Moncrief to Demaryius Thomas of the Broncos. PROJECTED: 2nd Round
Cody Latimer – Indiana - Latimer has come out of nowhere to vault into the late 1st round discussion. Latimer is another 6’3” receiver who showed off some 4.4 speed at his pro day. Latimer’s soft hands make him one of the most reliable targets in the entire draft as he rarely drops passes he should catch. PROJECTED: 2nd Round
Davante Adams – Fresno State - Adams was Derek Carr’s go-to target at Fresno State and proved to be one of the more reliable targets in the country. Adams does not have elite speed or athleticism, but has excellent hands and is able to go up and beat a corner for the ball in the air. PROJECTED: 2nd Round
Paul Richardson – Colorado - There hasn’t been much talk about Richardson, but maybe there should be. He lacks size at 6′ and just 175 lbs, but has legitimate 4.3 speed. Some analysts have said that Richardson can be Desean Jackson without the attitude. Sounds good to me. Perhaps the Bucs might like this elite speed in the 3rd round? PROJECTED: 3rd Round
Josh Huff – Oregon - Huff has above average speed at 4.6, but is a very fluid athlete who runs good routes and can make plays in space. He might be limited to playing the slot in the NFL. PROJECTED: 4th/5th Round
Jeff Janis – Saginaw State - Janis is a small-school product who will need to adjust to much better competition in the NFL. The blend of size (6’3” 220 lbs) and speed (4.37) is unique, but he probably would be able to be counted on early in his career against NFL CBs. PROJECTED: 5th/6th Round
Matt Hazel – Coastal Carolina – Hazel is another small-school product, but he doesn’t have nearly the size or speed that Jeff Janis possesses. Hazel lacks elite speed, but can be quick and athletic in space. With development, Hazel could be a nice slot receiver in the NFL. PROJECTED: 5th/6th Round
The Commish’s Best Fit for the Bucs: Donte Moncrief (2nd Round)
Follow Justin Pawlowski on twitter @Commishonline for updates on the NFL Draft and the Bucs