The Buccaneers spent hard in the offseason to bring in a new No. 1 receiver to help Josh Freeman avoid a repeat of his 2011 season. Vincent Jackson will fill the No. 1 role for Freeman but now the question becomes who is going to fill out the No. 2 slot? The answer isn’t as easy as you might think it is.
The obvious choice at the moment is Mike Williams who was the No. 1 guy last season but he fell victim to not only Freeman’s lack of accuracy but contributed to it by never being able to get open. Williams was constantly double covered and therefore was basically a non-facotr in the receiving game last year catching the exact same amount of passes he did in his rookie season (65 to be exact) but his numbers in all other categories were down.
Williams caught 11 touchdowns in his rookie season on 65 receptions while he caught just 3 on the same amount in 2011.
The presence of Jackson will obviously open him up to expand those numbers. But that doesn’t guarantee that he’s going to be the clear cut No. 2 receiver.
Preston Parker made a serious case for himself last season by emerging a bonafide slot threat for the Bucs. Where Williams let the Bucs down, Parker always seemed to pick up the slack as best he could which was something no one expected him to be capable of as much as he did.
Many teams around the NFL have slot receivers as their No. 2 wideouts despite the presence of other bigger receivers. This is most notable in New England where Wes Welker is arguably the No. 1 receiver. The Minnesota Vikings also have done this by making Percy Harvin their No. 1/No. 2 receiver and he’s had a lot of success thus far.
But where both of those teams fail is they don’t have a Vincent Jackson type No. 1 guy. The Bucs have him and if Parker were to slide to the No. 2 as a slot man then Williams and Arrelious Benn would be better suited as No. 3 and No. 4 receivers respectfully.
Dallas Clark is in Tampa now but he’s not going to compete for a top receiving spot and Luke Stocker is still easing his way into the offense so don’t expect a dual tight end system like so many teams are trying to implement.
The mystery surrounding the No. 2 choice in the Bucs receiving corps is aided by the mystery surrounding the style of offense that will be run. The Bucs not only are loaded at wideout but they have two stunning running backs in LeGarrette Blount and rookie Doug Martin.
As we move closer and closer to training camp the answer to the question of who will be No. 2 will begin to become more clear. But as of right now who Josh Freeman will look to second is as of a mystery as what the season holds for the newly remodeled Bucs.