Buccaneers: Who is the odd man out in the receiver room?

Justin Watson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Justin Watson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

The Buccaneers have the best wide receiver room in the NFL, meaning cuts will come quickly for those that are not up to par. 

A team like the Buccaneers doesn’t want to part with any of their veterans, especially after winning the Super Bowl, but that is just a part of life in the NFL.

Tampa was able to do everything in their power to bring all of their starters back for a legitimate chance at a follow-up campaign, but there are still a few names that have been on the hot seat since the 2021 NFL Draft concluded.

Bruce Arians and his coaching staff will have to carefully evaluate each position to make sure that they allocate money and roster space in the most effective way possible. The wide receiver room seems like the best place to start.

As it stands, five receivers will almost assuredly be on the active roster for the first game. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Scotty Miller, and Tyler Johnson were the main core that carried the team to the Super Bowl, and there is no reason to believe that these guys are going anywhere.

Tom Brady has a good level of chemistry with these five already, so moving on from any of them would be problematic.

Outside of those five, the Bucs will have some choices to make in the sixth spot. Jaelon Darden also looks like a lock after the Buccaneers traded up to draft him several months ago, and while this room is already pretty crowded, he does have the talent to carve out a name for himself.

Darden would round out six starting-caliber receivers for the Buccaneers, and that isn’t even mentioning Justin Watson and Jaydon Mickens.

Mickens does bring an added level to his stock in the return game, but he has never popped on offense. Watson is a bit better than his counterpart as a receiver, but neither brings enough on this side of the ball to take one of those six spots.

If Mickens shows out during camp, he could keep his roster spot locked up, but the coaching staff should still try to see if anyone else can serve in that role to make better use of the limited space.

The Bucs also have some other younger names on their roster, like Travis Jonsen and Josh Pearson, that may struggle to crack the active roster in 2021. Still, they have youth on their side to make them prime candidates to keep attached to the organization in some capacity, specifically on the practice squad.

Depth chart prediction: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson, and Jaelon Darden

Looking at the names available, there probably isn’t space to keep Justin Watson or Jaydon Mickens on the roster through this season. As players that have never really popped, both would be better off competing for a spot on a different team.

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Mickens is definitely more on the fence than Watson, but he will have his work cut out for him in the coming months as he competes with several new faces.

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