Statistically speaking, no wide receiving group had a better 2019 than Tampa Bay. Mike Evans was his usual dominant self, and Chris Godwin had a breakout year. However, with Breshad Perriman leaving in free agency, the wide receiver three position is up for grabs. General Manager Jason Licht and Head Coach Bruce Arians were sure to address this need in the draft.
With the 161st overall pick in the fifth round of the draft, Tampa Bay grabbed Tyler Johnson, Wide Receiver out of Minnesota. The 6’2″ wideout has tremendous hands and was a human highlight reel as a Golden Gopher.
– Receptions: 213
– Yards: 3305
– Average YPC: 15.5
– Touchdowns: 33
As one of the biggest playmakers in the Big 10, you may ask yourself how Johnson fell to the fifth round. The most valid reason that comes to mind is he did not take part in the NFL Combine. The lack of participation in the Combine resulted in scouts seeing other wide receivers they liked and were willing to draft before Johnson. However, that was a risk he was willing to take, and now Johnson is part of arguably the best wide receiving group in the NFL, with the greatest quarterback of all-time throwing him the ball.
I see Johnson winning the wide receiver three battle. Scotty Miller and Justin Watson will get their opportunities, but Johnson is a bigger and overall more talented player. Cyril Grayson, Bryant Mitchell, Spencer Schnell, and Jaydon Mickens will all return as camp and preseason bodies but are not likely to be any sort of danger to Johnson’s spot on the depth chart. Johnson can lineup in the slot, but most of his snaps will probably come on the outside, opposite Mike Evans, with Godwin in the slot.
Undrafted Free Agents
Tampa Bay signed 13 free agents after the draft, three of them being wide receivers.
– John Hurst, WR, West Georgia
– Travis Jonsen, WR, Montana State
– Josh Pearson, WR, Jacksonville State
I don’t expect any of these players to make the final roster. However, that is not to say that one or two of these guys could not make their way onto the practice squad and eventually be brought up into the pros.
Final Wide Receiver Depth Chart Prediction
– WR 1: Mike Evans
– WR 2: Chris Godwin
– WR 3: Tyler Johnson
– WR 4: Scott Miller
– WR 5: Justin Watson
– WR 6: Bryant Mitchell
I believe the first wide receiver to sign to the practice squad will be Spencer Schnell. Schnell is familiar with the offense and spent a majority of 2019 on the practice squad. He is also the prototypical Brady-slot receiver type of player such as Wes Walker or Danny Amendola.
The other wide receiver that will sign to the practice squad is Cyril Grayson. Grayson spent last season on the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. The 5’9” receiver out of LSU has bounced around eight different NFL teams, but Tampa Bay could finally be a resting place for him.
I see Franklin and Mickens as the odd men out, as the team may waive a few players to add depth to other positions before the Preseason starts.
Overall, wide receiver is the position that this team has the most depth and talent at, outside of maybe the front seven. There is an excellent possibility that players who get cut from this group end up making other NFL rosters.