2014 Draft Brings Height to Buccaneers Receiving Squad

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, May 15, 2014 5:39 PM UTC

Thursday, May. 15, 2014 5:39 PM UTC

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted a Texas A&M star with their first-round pick -- it wasn't Johnny Manziel as some expected but receiver Mike Evans. He is the 3/1 favorite on Bovada's NFL odds to win the 2014 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.

Twin Towers at Receiver
The Bucs made some noise leading into the draft about how much they liked Manziel despite just having signed Bears free-agent quarterback Josh McCown to a two-year, $10 million deal to be the team's starter. It was always a smokescreen as Evans was the guy Tampa Bay wanted all along. The 6-foot-5, 231-pound Evans was Manziel's favorite target and roommate and he forms a tremendous big receiving duo with veteran Vincent Jackson, who is also 6-foot-5. Last year Evans had 69 catches for 1,394 yards and 12 touchdowns. His average of 20.2 yards per reception was No. 1 in the FBS for a receiver with at least 45 catches.

This is perfect for McCown because he shined last year in Chicago often throwing jump balls to the Bears' two twin towers, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. The Bucs needed a receiver in a big way after trading Mike Williams to Buffalo after he had some off-field problems. They also ranked last in passing yards in 2013. Should Evans win the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, he would be the third Tampa Bay player to do so, joining running backs Warrick Dunn (1997) and Cadillac Williams (2005).

The Buccaneers didn't take a single defensive player in the draft, a fairly big surprise considering new head coach Lovie Smith is a defensive guy. There was no quarterback taken, either, as Smith has called second-year player Mike Glennon the team's future at the position even though he wasn't drafted by Smith's regime. 

"I love Mike Glennon. Mike Glennon is our quarterback of the future," Smith said, for the first time. "So why would we want to add a third quarterback to the mix? We needed other positions."

Tampa did sign Wyoming’s Brett Smith as an undrafted free agent and he will battle with Mike Kafka for the third quarterback spot. Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a second-round pick, adds yet another target for McCown/Glennon. He's 6-foot-6 and had 38 catches for 450 yard and eight touchdowns last year for the Huskies. Seferian-Jenkins and Evans should start from Day 1.

The team's third-round pick didn't look like much of a need in West Virginia running back Charles Sims. The Bucs have an every-down back in Doug Martin and decent backups in the likes of Mike James, Bobby Rainey and Jeff Demps. The Bucs will likely use Sims mostly as a pass-catching third-down back. He had 45 catches last year for WVU after transferring from Houston.

Tampa Bay had a much bigger need at guard than running back at that point in the draft so it's a minor surprise the Bucs didn't go that route, although they did with their fourth-round pick in Tennessee State's Kadeem Edwards. He's more of a project than immediate help. The Bucs also added a smallish, fast receiver in Wyoming's Robert Herron with their final pick of the draft. He could see playing time right away as a slot receiver or return man.

Full List Of Draft Picks
Mike Evans (Round 1, No. 7 overall); Austin Seferian-Jenkins, tight end, Washington (2, No. 38); Charles Sims, running back, West Virginia (3, No. 69); Kadeem Edwards, guard, Tennessee State (5, No. 143); Kevin Pamphile, offensive tackle, Purdue (5, No. 149); Robert Herron, wide receiver, Wyoming (6, No. 185).

NFL free picks: Evans isn't bad value on the Rookie of the Year odds because he has a veteran quarterback throwing to him, unlike Sammy Watkins, the No. 4 overall pick, in Buffalo.

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