Deven Thompkins just became one of the Bucs most important players after kickoff rule change

A new star could be on the rise for Tampa Bay after the NFL's dramatic rule change.
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Over the past five seasons, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been able to put together some of the best offenses and defenses in the NFL at various points. When these both lined up, the Bucs won a Super Bowl.

However, Tampa hasn't been a perfect team, and a huge issue that persisted even during those great years was a special teams unit that has been below average for over a decade.

Coverage has never been great, but the Bucs being one of the worst return teams in the league has been obvious as the fanbase craves a return man that can finally break the curse of no return touchdowns that has been in place since 2010.

Perhaps the new kickoff rules could lead to a much-needed change.

Deven Thompkins just became one of the most important Buccaneers

In the NFL of the past few years, the kick return man had basically one job; catch the football and take a knee. More often than not, that job was taking a step forward as the ball sailed through the endzone for a touchback.

The return became an afterthought of the modern NFL experience. Teams would watch their players bring the ball out once or twice a game, but more often than not, the kickoff was a trial in kicker leg strength that eliminated a whole portion of the game. Not anymore.

Now, kick returns will happen on every kickoff, and a position that has been relegated to one of limited use is about to become a lot more important as guys will be forced to field the ball and make plays.

Deven Thompkins has been the guy for the Bucs over the past few years and should start as the KR1 based on what we have seen, but you can rest assured that this competition is going to be much more fierce as teams realize these guys are going to get the ball at an exponentially higher rate with more opportunities than the past few years.

With the receiving room mostly locked up, this will give a guy like Thompkins a chance to have a dramatic impact for the Buccaneers that other teams can't keep the ball away from 4-6 times per game. That is a much bigger spotlight than in past years.

In fact, depending on the game, there is a good chance that Thompkins (as it stands) could see more touches than guys like Mike Evans or Chris Godwin. That is how impactful this new rule is.

If you are a person that missed the days of the importance of the kick return, you should be very happy with this new change. And, if you are a Bucs fan that is dying to see a return touchdown finally happen again, this should certainly help your chances.

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