WR Joey Galloway has produced fantastic numbers as a Buccaneer since coming over in a 2004 trade
In the weeks prior to the 2008 NFL Draft, Buccaneers.com will analyze each position on the team in regards to the draft, looking at depth, selection history and available players. As usual, this look at the draft, free agency and the Bucs' roster is not intended to reflect the intentions or strategies of the team's personnel decision-makers. Today we focus on the wide receiver position, where the team has acknowledged a need to increase the playmaking ability. Upgrades in free agency and the draft, along with increased output from returning players, will be counted on to provide more explosiveness on the offensive side of the ball.
The 2007 season had hardly been put to bed before the talk around One Buccaneer Place shifted towards the next year.
And one of the most common refrains – even from the likes of quarterback Jeff Garcia, Head Coach Jon Gruden and General Manager Bruce Allen – was that improving the overall explosiveness and playmaking ability on offense was central to improving the team.
Wide receiver is typically the position thought of when discussing such matters, and as such the Bucs have made some moves through free agency – and could make more in this weekend's draft – to address this need.
Like a fine wine, Joey Galloway has only gotten better with age, but the Bucs need someone to step up alongside the 14-year veteran to provide a boost to the offense.
Whether that player is already lurking on the roster in the form of a Maurice Stovall or Michael Clayton, for example, waiting to join the Bucs from the college ranks in the draft, or signed in free agency like Antonio Bryant, the Bucs are hoping some increased production emerges from somewhere on the depth chart.
Before we break down the wide receiver position further and look at potential additions the team could make, here's a rundown of the receivers the Bucs will have returning in 2008:
|**Wide Receivers Currently Under Contract**|
|**Player**||**Exp.**||**2007 (Rec., Yds., Avg., TD)**||**Career (Rec., Yds., Avg., TD)**|
- Biddle spent the entire 2007 season on the Buccaneers' practice squad. - Bryant signed with the Buccaneers as a free agent on March 10, 2008. Bryant did not play for a team in 2007, so his 2006 statistics accrued with San Francisco are listed instead. * - Clark played in one game with the Buccaneers in 2007 after being released by Denver, but did not record any receiving stats. Clark's 2007 stats were accrued in four games played with Denver. ¹ - Hankton signed a reserve/future contract with the Buccaneers on January 11, 2008. Hankton did not play for a team in 2007, so his 2006 stats accrued with Jacksonville are listed instead. ² - Spiller signed a future/reserve contract with the Buccaneers on January 29, 2008 after previously signing a tryout contract with the team prior to last season. ³ - Spurlock's only stats in 2007 were return stats. Listed are his kickoff returns (No., Avg., TD) followed by punt returns (No., Avg., TD). His career receiving stats are listed, however. ^ - Warren spent the entire 2007 season on injured reserve, so his 2006 stats are listed instead.*
The Bucs had only one free agent wide receiver this offseason, five-year veteran Mark Jones. Primarily a return man throughout his career, Jones has yet to sign with any team. Jones has no career receptions; his stats listed below are his kick return and punt return totals.
|**Free Agent Wide Receivers from the 2007 Buccaneers**|
|**Player**||**Exp.**||**2007 (Kick Ret., Yds., Avg. TD)(Punt Ret., Yds., Avg., TD)**||**Career (Kick Ret., Yds., Avg. TD)(Punt Ret., Yds., Avg., TD)**|
In 2007, the wide receiver position produced some solid numbers, yet left the team wanting more.
Joey Galloway was his usual productive self, snagging 57 passes for 1,014 yards and six touchdowns. However, the other receivers on the roster combined to only crack the end zone twice.
Here are some other numbers relating to the wide receiver position:
Wide Receiver Position Numbers: