Last season proved to be a tough one for the WR corp of the
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
. Big things were expected from some former high draft picks, who failed once again to make an impact in our passing game. The group is led by old but still kicking vet,
firmly entrenched himself as the number 2 receiver last year, and proved to be quite a reliable target on 3rd downs. We signed one FA receiver who we have high hopes for, and drafted a receiver in Round 2. This position battle should be one of the more interesting camp battles, as there are 3 wide open spots in my opinion.
Currently on the Roster – Taye Biddle, Antonio Bryant, Brian Clark, Michael Clayton, Joey Galloway, Cortez Hankton, Ike Hilliard, Dexter Jackson, Chad Lucas, Maurice Stovall, Paris Warren
Gauranteed Roster Spots – Joey Galloway, Ike Hilliard, Dexter Jackson
Joey Galloway had another stellar last season for the Bucs. He finished the season with 57 catches, for 1014 yards, 8 Td’s and a 17.8 YPC average. Our puny armed QB had a tough time utilizing Joey and his deep play abilities, but occasionaly Carmela mustered up enough will power to throw some bombs to Joey, the long being a 69 yard touchdown. Galloway still has plenty left in the tank (how this is possible, I don’t know) and is still one of the leagues faster receivers. Ike Hilliard actually led the team in catches with 62, and proved to be quite a reliable 3rd down choice for Mrs. Garcia. Dexter Jackson will rarely see the field as a WR, but should get plenty of action at both punt and kick returns, until he learns the offense, and learns how to catch.
No Chance – Taye Biddle, Brian Clark, Cortez Hankton
Battling for Spots – Antonio Bryant, Michael Clayton, Chad Lucas, Maurice Stovall, Paris Warren
I find it hard to imagine more than 2 of these players making the team. We will most likely carry 3 TE’s and 4 RB’s which would make it hard to have more than 5 total receivers on the 53 man roster. Hence the reason earlier, I said this should be the most interesting camp battle to watch. Antonio Bryant is a player that has shown some promise in his career. In 2005 in Cleveland, he had 69 catches for 1000+ yards. He has proven to have some issues with coaching and was out of the league last season. This is Gruden’s David Boston project for camp. If he pans out, Bryant has potential to give us a dangerous 3rd option receiving wise. If not, we cut his ass, and tell him goodbye. Michael Clayton (a guy who once looked like the next Hines Ward) has been inconsistent now for 3 seasons. He has not posted more than 33 catches or 375 yards since his 80 catch 1200 yard rookie season. If that player could ever come back to the Bucs, I think our WR class is very strong. I am slowly losing hope though. I realize that he was injured one of those seasons, but he has still yet to regain that super confident form that made him such a devastating receiver his rookie season. Chad Lucas is a guy who always seems to stick around through camp, and ends up being one of the last cuts. He does some impressive stuff in camp, so I had to throw him on this list. I don’t think he will make the team though. Maurice Stovall is another Gruden draft choice whom I once held out high hopes for. He is a giant, and could be a dangerous middle of the field possesion receiver. Could be, is the optimal phrase here though. Stovall actually saw action in 15 games last season, but ended up with 10 catches. He has an upper hand on some of our other receivers though, as he might have been our best special teams player last season. As a gunner on the punt team, he was a force to be reckoned with. Paris Warren was having a brilliant pre-season last year before suffering a season ending injury. He is a great route runner, and has awesome hands. Very Ike Hilliardesque in my opinion. As mentioned earlier, should be the most hotly contested battle of camp.