Pictures of the Buccaneers' wide receivers.
The receiving corps got a jolt in free agency with the signing of Jackson from the Washington Redskins. Jackson is seen as the perfect answer to the obvious deficiency in the Bucs' passing attack last year: A lack of explosive plays. Since he entered the league as a second-round pick in 2008, Jackson has posted an NFL-high 37 receptions of 50 or more yards, including four last year when he led the league with a 17.9 yards-per-catch average.
Jackson is likely to start opposite Mike Evans, who is coming off his third 1,000-yard season in as many years in the NFL and his first trip to the Pro Bowl. Evans caught 96 passes for 1,321 yards and 12 touchdowns last year despite getting an inordinate amount of attention from opposing defenses. In addition to the big plays he will hopefully provide to Winston and the offense, Jackson may also push Evans' game to another level if he can draw some of that coverage away.
Adam Humphries returns as the slot receiver after catching 55 passes in that role a year ago. Another former undrafted free agent, Humphries quite possibly hasn't reached his NFL ceiling yet, and he too should find more open space with Jackson stressing the back end of opposing secondaries. Humphries is an exclusive rights free agent but can only negotiate with the Buccaneers, who are obviously intent on keeping him around.
The receiving corps will have something of a new look in 2017. While Jackson comes aboard, Russell Shepard has left for the Carolina Panthers and Vincent Jackson and Cecil Shorts remain free agents. Assuming they do not return, there will be some sorting out to accomplish in the 4-6 spots. Freddie Martino also got a qualifying offer to make him an exclusive rights free agent, so he'll get another shot after contributing a couple big plays last fall. Josh Huff didn't play much on offense after he was released by the Eagles and signed by the Bucs at midseason but he does have 51 career NFL receptions.
Donteea Dye and Bernard Reedy, are smaller, quicker wideouts who are back after spending portions of last season on the active roster. The Buccaneers also are going to give Derel Walker a shot after he put up some very big numbers in the Canadian Football League the last two years. Even after signing Jackson, though, the Buccaneers may dip into the receiver pool in the draft, doubling up at the position like they did a year ago with free agency/draft combos at cornerback and defensive end.
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