Buccaneers: Comparing the current team to the 2002 champions

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10: Jameis Winston
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10: Jameis Winston /
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KANSAS CITY, MO – NOVEMBER 20: Cornerback Steven Nelson
KANSAS CITY, MO – NOVEMBER 20: Cornerback Steven Nelson /


2002: Keyshawn Johnson, Keenan McCardell, and Joe Jurevicius

Keyshawn Johnson was in his third year in Tampa during the 2002 season after being acquired prior to the 2000 season in a trade with the Jets, and it ended up being his second best season in Tampa.

Johnson starting all sixteen games totaled 76 catches on 142 targets, for 1088 yards (14.3 yards/catch), and five touchdowns.

During his time in Tampa he had a harder time getting to the end zone then he did with the Jets scoring only seventeen touchdowns (27% of his total TDs) while scoring 31 times with the Jets (48% of his total TDs) with basically the same amount of catches.

Keeanan McCardell came to the Bucs as a free agent prior to the 2002 season ironically as the Bucs were looking for a number two receiver to pair with their number one superstar receiver.

Entering his eleven season in the NFL at 32 years of age he played in and started fourteen of the sixteen games gathering 61 catches on 101 targets, with 670 yards (11 yards/catch), and six touchdowns including catching Brad Johnson’s two touchdown passes in the Super Bowl.

Joe Jurevicius also came to the Bucs as a free agent prior to the 2002 season as the slot receiver as Gruden built the team to fit his system.

As the slot receiver he played in thirteen games while starting three of them with 37 catches on 52 targets, for 423 yards (11.4 yards/catch), and four touchdowns. He was the leading receiver in the Super Bowl with four catches for 78 yards.

The top three receivers accounted for a total of 174 catches for 2,181 yards and fifteen touchdowns, or 60% of the total passing yardage and 65% of the total touchdowns and obviously were very productive.

2017: Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and Adam Humphries / Chris Godwin

Mike Evans was clearly the only real wide receiver target last season being targeting an amazing NFL leading 175 times while catching 96 of them for 1,321 yards (13.8 yards/catch) and twelve touchdowns.

The two leading wide receivers last years, Evans and Adam Humphries accounted for 151 catches, 1,943 yards and fourteen touchdowns, or 47% of the total passing yardage and 48% of the total touchdowns.

Much like the 2002 Bucs the 2017 version went into free agency needing a number two receiver to pair with Evans, and that led them to sign the speedster DeSean Jackson.

Jackson has been very productive throughout his nine-year career, averaging 55 catches, 980 yards (17.7 yards/catch) and five touchdowns per season with five 1,000 yard seasons.

Adam Humphries will most likely continue to be the slot receiver but there could be some competition from third round draft pick Chris Godwin. Although he has never played in the slot other receivers could be moved around to get the best three on the field.

Godwin was very effective as a receiver at Penn State and with him and Jackson on the field along with Evans and Humphries it could be one of the most potent Buccaneers offenses in team history.

ADVANTAGE: 2017 Wide Receivers – Evans, Jackson, and Humphries / Godwin