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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs' 2023 Offseason Outlook: Wide Receiver 

An overview of the Buccaneers wide receiver depth chart entering Phase Three of the offseason workout program

WR offseason outlook_

Rosters have taken shape around the NFL with the height of free agency in the rearview, along with the 2023 NFL Draft. From re-signings to undrafted free agent pickups, each organization is striving to make a mark in 2023. A new year is on the horizon and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have put the past behind and are embracing the future. Each Bucs position group will be evaluated during the offseason workout program as turnover shifts the depth chart. First up in the series, let's take a look at the wide receiver position.

The top three spots on the depth chart are entrenched with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage Jr. but an intriguing competition battle will ensue during training camp between rookie Trey Palmer, and second-year players Deven Thompkins and Kaylon Geiger for the remaining spots. Evans and Godwin were one-of-five sets of teammates in 2022 to go over 1,000 yards each, joining Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle (Dolphins), A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith (Eagles), D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett (Seahawks) and Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins (Bengals).

The dynamic cast of headliners starts with Mike Evans, the only player in NFL history to begin a career with nine consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Evans has achieved both consistency and longevity during his tenure in Tampa Bay, bolstering the unit. Throughout his nine-year career, Evans has amassed 683 receptions for 10,425 yards and 81 touchdowns. He is a critical fixture in the Bucs' offense as a physical chain mover. He is essentially a cheat code on executing back-shoulder passes and generating separation on go routes. Evans has the size to box out defenders, has the strength to power though jams and is dangerous in jump-ball situations.

Chris Godwin has cemented himself as one of the best slot weapons in the NFL with superb contact balance and prowess in the short-to-intermediate area. He is adept at making physical, contested catches over the middle of the field and is as tough as they come. Although he is criminally underrated and can often get overlooked on stalk blocks/blitz pickups or on routine crossing routes, Godwin elevates the Bucs' offense. Over the course of his six-year career, Godwin has tallied 446 receptions, 5,666 yards., a 12.7 average in yards-per-catch and 32 touchdowns in 87 games (60 starts). Godwin had a breakout year in 2022, after working his way back from a torn ACL and subsequent surgery in January. He missed two contests due to a hamstring injury last season but still concluded his 2022 campaign with a career-high 104 catches and surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark. Godwin continuously exploited cushion in coverages when defensive backs did not challenge at the line of scrimmage.

Two days into the NFL's 2022 free agency period, the Bucs signed Russell Gage Jr. Gage had been a productive pass-catcher for the Falcons and can stretch the field vertically, while showcasing the agility to break inside on underneath/intermediate routes. He was featured primarily in three-receiver sets with Evans and Godwin, working interchangeably on the outside and in the slot. Last season, Gage accumulated 51 receptions for 426 yards and five touchdowns. He was projected to become an integral part of the Bucs' wide receiver corps last season but consistently dealt with injuries. Gage had dealt with a lingering hamstring ailment throughout the entirety of the season and before the Wild Card game against the Cowboys, he injured his back on a touchdown catch the prior week against his former team, the Falcons. With a clean bill of health in 2023, excitement builds around Gage.

The Bucs' coaching staff emphasized the need for an infusion of speed during the draft and got their wish with Nebraska's Trey Palmer. During the sixth-round of the draft, Tampa Bay selected Palmer, a deep-threat who ran a blazing 4.33 at the NFL Scouting Combine after putting up monstrous numbers (71 rec., 1,043 yards) for a traditionally run-oriented Cornhuskers offense. The threat of Palmer's speed or his ability in space off screens and reverses, will draw coverage. With rare acceleration out of his breaks, Palmer effortlessly glided past defensive backs at the collegiate level. He led the FBS with three catches of 70-plus yards in 2022 and Palmer will vie for a spot on the Bucs' roster in 2023.

2022 undrafted free agents Deven Thompkins and Kaylon Geiger are under contract and will fuel competition during the offseason and are expected to contribute on special teams. Both impressed at last year's training camp and will strive to build off the 2022 debut performance. As the Bucs venture towards another division title in 2023, keep an eye on the receiver battle throughout the offseason at the AdventHealth Training Facility.

Position Group: Wide Receiver


  • Mike Evans
  • Chris Godwin
  • Deven Thompkins
  • Kaylor Geiger
  • Russell Gage
  • Trey Palmer*

*Draft Selection Unsigned

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