Even after the Buccaneers drafted O.J. Howard in the first round, their offense was still lacking in one critical area: receiver depth. That changed in the third round.
“Weapons for Winston” has been the theme of this off-season, both in free agency and the draft. The Buccaneers added veteran receiver DeSean Jackson to start opposite Mike Evans, and then used their 19th overall pick on tight end O.J. Howard. With those two additions Jason Licht suddenly forged a deadly passing attack. Still, an issue remained that could bubble to the surface with just one injury to Jackson or Mike Evans. The Bucs had pretty much no talent behind Jackson, Evans and Adam Humphries.
Then, the third round crept around and general manager Jason Licht did something that not many expected. He ignored several solid running back prospects and found tremendous value in Penn State receiver Chris Godwin. Several bigger needs than receiver depth existed, but this was an important pick for Licht to make. It essentially guaranteed that the Bucs won’t run into the problem they did last year, where they were tricked into believing they had enough at receiver. Once
went down their lack of depth was exposed, and the Bucs paid for it all season. Drafting Godwin is the type of move the team should have made last year.
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Along with providing immediate depth, Godwin can be groomed as the long-term heir apparent to DeSean Jackson and the future Y receiver opposite to Mike Evans. Godwin certainly has the God-given gifts to be that guy. Though he plays exclusively on the boundary, the Penn State product is a well-rounded prospect that can contribute to the offense in several ways. As a deep threat he can track and fight for the football, in the middle of the field he can make tough, contested catches in traffic, and close to the line of scrimmage he can use his quickness and burst to create lots of YAC. Lastly, Godwin is a plus blocker in the run game.
Godwin’s ability to make catches in traffic will make him an especially good fit with his quarterback Jameis Winston. According to Pro Football Focus, Winston was the best passer in the league last season on deep crossing routes, which isn’t really a surprise to anyone that watched the Bucs. Winston thrives on anticipation throws in the middle of the field, which means his receivers have to be comfortable working in traffic. That’s Chris Godwin.
If the Bucs receiving core is fortunate enough to avoid the injury bug, Godwin will likely be in a back-up role for his rookie season. Evans and Jackson are locked into their positions, with Humphries safe in the slot because of his experience and Godwin’s lack thereof (only played 13 snaps in the slot last season). Still, he was an important pick that will pay off for Jason Licht long-term and short-term in the event of an injury.
What do you think about Chris Godwin, Bucs fans? Was there another receiver you’d have preferred to take, or did you want Jason Licht to take a different position entirely?