If you had any doubts about Jordan Shipley and his surgically repaired knee, stop it. The newest Buccaneer showed off his flash and potential today at practice, putting to rest any fears the Bucs had about how much he’d be able to contribute to this team during this upcoming season.
As stated here the day he was claimed off of waivers, Shipley is going to make the team as either a slot receiver behind Preston Parker, or as a special teams specialist, namely the Bucs new punt returner. Preston Parker has been the kick returner for Tampa but like other receivers who have doubled their duties, the Bucs are weary of the toll this will take.
Look no further than Minnesota and Percy Harvin. Harvin is a stud returner, but it takes away from other aspects of his game and the Vikings have replaced him on special teams making him exclusively a wide receiver. Devin Hester is another example as he’s an ace, Hall of Fame returner but a mediocre at best wide out.
Shipley can take the load off of Parker in the return game while also servicing the Bucs on stacked receiver sets.
After practice, Shipley said that he’s still got a lot to learn.
“It’s a totally different system as far as terminology,” Shipley said. “I’m going to have a busy night tonight and the next several days, just learning everything.”
Head coach Greg Schiano reiterated that the claiming of Shipley off of waivers wasn’t because the Bucs needed him, rather he didn’t think he could let a player of Shipley’s talent pass him by.
“It’s just if you have a chance to investigate a player that you liked, you do it,” he said. “Now is a time when we can do it.”
No one is expecting anything from the third year wide out, which is usually when big things happen. Shipley is in perhaps the best position of his career; sitting behind a slew of talented receivers, he’ll rarely be relied on to over extend himself beyond what he’s capable of.
As we’ve said before, this is a low risk, extremely high reward signing for the Bucs and after his first practice in Tampa, this is starting to look like yet another steal that GM Mark Dominik can add to his resume.