WR Reggie Brown, who owns a career mark of 14.5 yards per catch, re-emerged as a threat for the Eagles late last season
In 2005, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sent their coaches to the Senior Bowl to handle the South team, and it didn't take long for them to fall in love with Auburn running back Cadillac Williams. Three months later, Williams was a Buccaneer, courtesy of the fifth pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.
Of course, as a proven commodity, Williams didn't practice or play much that week. In contrast, Georgia wide receiver Reggie Brown came to Mobile, Alabama with something to prove, and an outstanding week at the Senior Bowl eventually made him a second-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Now, thanks to an astute trade by the Buccaneers five years later, Brown and Williams are teammates.
On Monday, the fourth day of the NFL's 2010 free agency period, the Buccaneers traded for Brown following the receiver's fifth year in Philly. In return, Tampa Bay sent a sixth-round pick in the 2011 draft to the Eagles.
For that relatively low price, the Buccaneers have acquired a 29-year-old receiver with 177 career receptions, 17 touchdowns and an average of 14.5 yards per grab.
The third pick in the second round in 2005, Brown was selected one spot before the Buccaneers nabbed linebacker Barrett Ruud. Brown was the seventh receiver off the board that year, following Braylon Edwards, Troy Williamson, Mike Williams, Matt Jones, Mark Clayton and Roddy White. Tampa Bay's staff had witnessed the 6-1, 197-pound Brown excel during a week of practice in Mobile before catching five passes for 65 yards in a driving rain in the 2005 Senior Bowl. Brown also impressed the assembled NFL scouts with his blocking and precise route-running during the week.
The former Bulldog stepped immediately into a starting role as a rookie for the Eagles, playing in all 16 games and starting 11 in '05 with 43 receptions for 571 yards and four touchdowns. He held onto that starting role in 2006 and proved to be an impressive big play threat, as evidenced by his eight touchdowns and 17.7 yards per catch. After nabbing 46 passes for 816 yards that season, Brown finished third on the team and second among wideouts with 61 receptions for 780 yards and four scores in 2007.
Injuries limited Brown to 10 games and three starts in 2008, during which he caught 18 passes for 252 yards and one score. The emergence of DeSean Jackson and the drafting of first-round receiver Jeremy Maclin last year put Brown into a reserve role, and he started only two of the 14 games in which he played. Despite catching a career-low nine passes last fall, Brown still showed his big-play potential with an average of 17.2 yards per reception. After seeing limited playing time for much of the season, Brown helped the Eagles during their December playoff run, producing six of his nine catches and 115 of his 155 yards over the final four games.
The Buccaneers have now used the trade option to add to their passing game for the second time in as many years. Last March, on the first day of the free agency period, the Bucs sent a second-round pick to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for tight end Kellen Winslow. Winslow's first season in a Tampa Bay uniform was possibly the finest ever by a Buccaneer tight end, as he set new franchise records for receptions (77) and receiving yards (884) at the position.