Buccaneers: Predicting the role of Chris Godwin in 2017

January 2, 2017; Pasadena, CA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Chris Godwin (12) catches a pass against the Southern California Trojans during the first half of the 2017 Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
January 2, 2017; Pasadena, CA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Chris Godwin (12) catches a pass against the Southern California Trojans during the first half of the 2017 Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

How will Chris Godwin be used by the Buccaneers in 2017? How will he perform?

Anybody have any paint we can watch dry? That is basically how boring this time of year is. It’s not as if we have any Buccaneers football to watch right now. Just as things are starting to get going through minicamps and OTAs, it all comes to a halt. We get absolutely nothing until training camp opens at the end of July. For all of us die-hard NFL fans, it’s a pretty boring time of year.

So, instead of actually watching paint dry, what do we talk about during this month of no football? We speculate, of course. There is no better way to bridge the gap until the team returns than predicting what’s going to happen when they do return. It’s a fan’s pastime, and it’s a blogger’s pastime.

More from The Pewter Plank

It’s fun to take a look at the new rookie class and see how they are going to fit in. OTAs are nice, and it’s great that they get noticed, but in the end, they have to make it work when they blend in with the veterans. How is that going to work out when the ball is put on the tee to begin the season?

In this series, we have previewed the role of O.J Howard and Justin Evans. Next, we move onto a draft selection that the fan base is excited about, and our own David Harrison just can’t get enough of. He is Penn State wide receiver Chris Godwin.

Let’s remind ourselves how he performed as a member of the Nittany Lions:

*2014Penn StateBig TenFRWR132633813.02210.502833912.12
*2015Penn StateBig TenSOWR1369110116.0500069110116.05
2016Penn StateBig TenJRWR135998216.61111313.006099516.611
CareerPenn State154242115.7183144.70157243515.518

It’s hard not to be excited about this guy. Godwin’s best year in terms of yardage, 2015, took place with Christian Hackenberg as the quarterback. Hackenberg only completed 53% of his passes that year, and this is the same guy that cannot yet crack the New York Jets lineup. To put up big numbers with him under center is saying something.

Dirk Koetter is already impressed, comparing him with Roddy White. That’s high praise, but please take it with a grain of salt. There are no pads on. Nobody is hitting anyone. There is only so much you can learn from the workouts that are sometimes dubbed “underwear football”. In a way, it’s like the NFL Combine. We can learn some things, but the information is limited. How many solid Combine performers have been busts? The same can be said for OTAs and minicamps. It’s too soon to anoint Godwin the next Jerry Rice.

There will also be a learning curve when the lights come on to start the season. Godwin will get his fair share of reps during the preseason, but it’s preseason. No defense shows an opponent everything they are going to do in the preseason. They all hold onto the element of surprise. The Bucs will do it, and so will their opponents. When he sees the field in the regular season, he will see physical play that he has never seen before. He will have to prove that he can get off the line and get open.

Quarterbacks have a comfortability factor with receivers that have been on the team in the past. You see that quite clearly with Jameis Winston and all of the Mike Evans targets. There is a reason he led the NFL last year, it’s because Winston is comfortable with him.  He and Cameron Brate will already have a leg up on everyone with the comfort, and DeSean Jackson won’t be far behind. The two guys that will have to cut in will be O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin. Will it happen? Yes, but it won’t be immediate.

When you think of Penn State, what position do you think of? It has historically been known as a linebacker school, and is certainly more known for defensive players. Right now, you can look at players like Cameron Wake, Sean Lee and Tamba Hali as examples of top Penn State players. They all have defense in common. In the past, there have been many defensive players to come down the pike, but not a lot of wide receivers. Bobby Engram had one 1,000 yard season. Jordan Norwood is out there now, but does that name do much for anyone? Not really. Our old friend Joe Jurevicius came from Penn State, but he was a short-time performer for Tampa Bay.

Godwin can buck this trend, no doubt. It will take work. Expect a battle between him and Adam Humphries for the third wide receiver spot in camp. When the season opens, Godwin will see his initial action in 3-4 wide receiver sets, behind Jackson, Evans, and potentially Humphries. That being said, with a 4.42 forty time, this guy can run, and will show up in 2017 as a weapon.

Here are my tempered predictions for his rookie season:

  • 52 receptions, 650 yards, three touchdowns

These could go higher, especially if Godwin wins the third receiver job. According to Football Outsiders, the Bucs ran 60% of their plays in three-wide. But even at this level, we would all be happy with this type of production from the rookie, don’t you think?

Next: Madden rating for O.J. Howard and more

How do you think Godwin will do in his first year? Put your thoughts in the comments…