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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Nab "Fluid" Route-Runner Jalen McMillan in Round Three

Tampa Bay adds to its pass-catching corps in the third round of the 2024 NFL Draft, snagging savvy route -runner Jalen McMillan from Washington's high-powered passing attack


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted University of Washington wideout Jalen McMillan with the 92nd overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on Friday night, adding him to a receiver group that already includes Pro Bowlers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. It won't be the first time that McMillan has shared the spotlight with a pair of talented teammates, and the Buccaneers hope he will be just as productive this time around.

The Washington program was obviously loaded at the receiver position, with Rome Odunze going ninth overall to the Chicago Bears and Ja'Lynn Polk coming off the board five picks into the second round. A knee injury limited McMillan in 2023 but he topped 1,000 yards for the Huskies in 2022 and caught nine touchdown passes.

View pictures of University of Washington Jalen McMillan, who Tampa Bay selected in the third round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

"Had it not been for the injury this year, I think he would have had no chance to be where we just picked him," said Assistant General Manager John Spytek. "But he missed some games this year, tried to fight through it. He had a thousand yards [in 2022], which is pretty impressive. When you talk to the people in that building, they had a high level of respect for Jalen and thought that he was really similar and close to the level that both Rome and both that other Jalen were."

McMillan (6-1, 197) is a long-strider with good first-step acceleration and the ability to pick up yards after he gets the ball in his hands. He also has some experience in the return game, which could add some value after the NFL dramatically revamped its kickoff return process.

"He's a natural receiver," said Spytek. "He plays like the game makes sense to him. His route-running is very, very fluid. We talked to several DBs throughout the process. When we asked them, 'Who's the hardest cover that you've had all year?' several of them mentioned him, just because he's such a good athlete and has such a good feel for running routes. That combination makes it an extremely hard cover. He has great hands, he can run, he's a low 4.4 guy on our watch, he's still big. High expectations for him. He's played football on a high level."

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