Despite the signing of DeSean Jackson, the Buccaneers should not pass on an opportunity to draft John Ross.
The draft is in 44 days and – for once – no one has a clue as to what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to do in the first round. In Licht’s first draft, every mock under the sun had the Bucs taking Mike Evans. They did, and that worked out just fine. In 2015 it was all Jameis Winston. Again, they did and it worked out just fine. Last year it was Vernon Hargreaves III. Alas, that’s exactly what they did.
This year? No one has a clue.
There have been mocks for the Bucs having them take anyone from Dalvin Cook to O.J. Howard to Malik McDowell to Derek Barnett. It’s a crap shoot – and it’s fantastic.
One name many Bucs fans will begin to dismiss is that of speedster John Ross out of Washington. With the addition of DeSean Jackson the need at receiver is no longer as looming as it was this time last week. In fact one could argue their biggest hole is now at running back and they will be all-in to take one of the top two in the first round, right?
Not so fast.
Take a look at the last few drafts and free agency signings under Jason Licht. In 2015 they signed Bruce Carter to come in and be the middle linebacker. In the fourth round they drafted Kwon Alexander who won the starting job in training camp and hasn’t looked back. Last year, there were the signings of Robert Ayers Jr and Brent Grimes. First two rounds? Hargreaves and Noah Spence.
See, Licht has no problem supplementing needs in free agency then turning right around and drafting that same position high in the draft as he plans for the future. That brings us to Ross.
For those that don’t know, Ross set the NFL Scouting Combine record in the 40-yard dash at a blazing 4.22;
Now, imagine if you will, defenses trying to line up against a receiving trio of Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and John Ross. Talk about a nightmare.
If Ross falls to the Bucs, history has shown that Licht will have no hesitation in doubling up at a position, especially with the playmaking potential of a guy like Ross. More importantly, you’re not putting Ross in a situation where he has to come in and immediately be that major impact guy. He can learn under Evans and Jackson while still contributing when called upon. He won’t have the pressure or responsibility of being the number two guy right out of the gate.
Yes, there are bigger needs than receiver in this draft for the Bucs and yes they could likely address those needs at nineteen. However, would the talent level be that of Ross? Would the drop off cause them to look to fill a need in a later round due to the explosiveness Ross would bring to the offense?
Koetter wanted speed and playmakers. He got that in Jackson, but he could get even more with Ross being added to the mix.