Skip to main content

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Presented by

Role Renovation in Bucs' 2024 Wide Receiver Room | Brianna's Blitz 

With Chris Godwin moving back to the slot and the addition of third-round selection Jalen McMillan, a look at how the Buccaneers’ wide receiver room is shaping up during offseason workouts


Each year across the NFL landscape, change is inevitable for all 32 clubs with offseason acquisitions and departures. For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a renovation is imminent in more ways than one for the wide receiver room. Overall, the offense is undergoing a transition under the tutelage of Offensive Coordinator Liam Coen. In correlation with league trends, the Bucs' offense will feature an uptick in shifts/motions and condensed sets in 2024 to create favorable matchups.

Pre-snap motion provides a defensive tell and advantageous blocking and route angles for offensive weapons. Out of condensed formations, teams can execute a variety of calls from dropbacks, play-action, or runs. In tight formations, receivers are closer to the line of scrimmage, which allows them to be readily incorporated in run blocking and as a result, defenses move a safety into the box. Then against single-high coverage, offenses are presented with one-on-one matchups for outside receivers against isolated corners to threaten vertically.

For Tampa Bay in 2024, future Hall of Famer Mike Evans will man his role on the outside and Chris Godwin will revert back to his full-time role in the slot. During the 2020-22 seasons, Godwin played in the slot on 51% of his snaps in 2020, 53% in 2021 and 60% in 2022. During those three seasons, Godwin ranked fifth in the NFL in receptions per game (6.5) and ninth in receiving yards per game (72.3). He also had impressive catch rates, snagging 77.4% of his targets in 2020, 77.2% in 2021 and 73.2% in 2022. The Buccaneers tried a different approach with Godwin in 2023, utilizing him in the slot 32% of the time. His overall receptions total dipped from 104 in 15 games in 2022 to 83 in 17 games last season. However, he still surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving yard marker (1,024), and his average per catch jumped up by 2.5 yards.

"Right now, Chris is going to be moved back to the slot, pretty much the majority of the time," said Receiver Coach Bryan McClendon. "That does not mean that you cannot utilize him in other ways, but just positionally if we went out there today, he would probably be the starting slot…He is a guy that does not mind getting physical. When you have that guy, he gives you an extra gap in the run game and then when you have that guy in the pass game, he has to be good around making contested catches."

Godwin possesses spatial awareness out of the slot and utilizes his frame to box out defenders. The Penn State product is physical at the catch point and leverages space of operation from two-way go's (can go inside or outside upon release) and plays with outstanding body control. Godwin is adept at generating run-after-catch and is lethal on screens, jet sweeps and in-breakers/crossers. Godwin poses a threat in the Bucs' offense and third-round selection Jalen McMillan provides another versatile chess piece in Tampa Bay's arsenal.

"If he didn't get nicked up, he probably would not have fallen to us in the third round," stated McClendon. "We feel really fortunate to get him in but the thing that you like about Jalen is his position flexibility. He is a guy that can play all three spots, and when I say all three spots, I mean the X, the Z and obviously in the slot. He gives you comfort that wherever we need to put this kid to get him on the field the fastest, you can do that… When you watch him on film and see his ability to beat man-to-man and [ability to] make those contested catches and get yards after catch and everything, you get excited. We feel fortunate that he 'fell' to the third round."

McMillan will start competing at the 'Z' position during offseason workouts but has the flexibility of filling various roles in Coen's retooled offense. He accumulated 1,098 yards for the Huskies in 2022 but dealt with a left knee injury last season that caused him to miss four games and positioned him behind Rome Odunze and Ja'Lynn Polk on the depth chart. McMillan has acceleration to attack the field vertically and pairs effective body control with stellar ball-tracking skills. His ability to bait defenders with head/body fakes mid-route rated at the top of the 2024 class.

Related Content

Latest Headlines