I am beginning a new series by looking back at the 2009 draft class for the Bucs and where they are now after playing for one season. The Bucs did not have a huge 2009 draft class and the results on the field were not the greatest either (3-13, hurts just to look at that record). But it was an important transition class for the Bucs as they begin a new era under Raheem Morris and older players from the championship team begin to retire and move on (Ronde Barber will never retire, that’s a good thing).
Last year the Bucs selected Sammie Stroughter, the 5’10″, 189 lb. wide receiver out of Oregon State University. In college, Stroughter had 164 receptions and 2653 yards, including 14 touchdowns for the Beavers. He showed he had tremendous lateral footwork and was shifty, often eluding defenders, even on kick returns. He did have injury and suffered with deep depression(he was under stress due to personal problems) and because of his small stature, he was not highly sought after. He fell all the way to the Bucs in the 7th round and the Bucs have found a weapon.
Stroughter shined late in the season for the Bucs. He had 31 receptions and 334 yards receiving. His biggest play was a 96 yard touchdown return (only the 3rd in franchise history), showing his footwork and change of direction speed. While he does not have the elite speed of some players, like Reggie Bush, he is elusive and uses his body well, fighting for the ball and willing to go over the middle and take a hit. Stroughter had his season cut just a bit short after a foot injury put him on IR. This year however, he is healthy, and ready to play even a bigger role for the Bucs.
Stroughter is battling for the slot receiver position. While the Bucs have depth at receiver, no one has emerged as a go-to receiver. He probably won’t be the number one option on the depth chart, but could have a break out year in the slot position. He won’t play every down, but could see multiple plays per possession, depending on field position and play calling. Freeman needs targets that can catch and create in open space; Stroughter is known for this and is looking to make a name for himself.
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