Mining For WR Depth

February 14th, 2016
Joe likes the thought of speedy UFA Steelers WR Darrius Heyward-Bey for depth.

Joe likes the thought of speedy free agent Steelers WR Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Yes, the Bucs do need to address their wide receiver corps this offseason.

Vincent Jackson is on his last legs. Louis Murphy is an unknown coming off ACL injury. Donteea Dye is a whole lot of meh, and while the Bucs think they have a budding gem in Adam Humphries, Joe has yet to be warmed over by the undrafted rookie from Clemson.

If you have a franchise quarterback, which the Bucs do in America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, then he needs to be surrounded by weapons. As we noticed this past season, the wide receiver position quickly became awfully thin after injuries to Jackson and Murphy, relying on the too-often K-Y fingers of Mike Evans and practice squad fodder.

Here is a name the stat nerds, who are born out of fantasy football, scream over but Joe believes has depth value. That would be unrestricted free agent Darrius Heyward-Bey of the Steelers.

A former first round pick of Al Davis, Heyward-Bey has serious wheels, and at times has serious issues catching the ball. So why should the Bucs want him for depth? Well, Heyward-Bey contributed off the bench in the regular season and in the playoffs. And the Steelers had arguably the most dangerous passing offense in the NFL.

This just in: if a guy can make contributions in the playoffs off the bench, then he should be able to help the depth of the 6-10 Bucs living in the basement of the NFC South for six out of the last seven years.

Heyward-Bey can stretch the field big time, which few Bucs receivers can (yes, Joe knows speedy Kenny Bell is still on the roster and Joe really likes him as a person, but as much as Joe wants Bell to be successful, what has he done outside of in the first two weeks of training camp last year practicing against UPS drivers and personal trainers?).

In four of his seven years in the NFL, Heyward-Bey, who will be 29 this season, averaged 14 or more yards-per-catch, including over 15 yards a catch last year. This demonstrates his deep-threat ability. Only two Bucs receivers had a better yards-per-catch average than Heyward-Bey last season, Jackson and Murphy.

(Just for reference, Dye caught 11 of 30 targeted passes last season. Heyward-Bey caught 21 of 39 targets.)

Besides, Heyward-Bey is a pretty good gunner on special teams, and we all know how much the Bucs’ special teams were awfully mediocre last year.

Does Heyward-Bey have drawbacks? Sure. Would he be solid depth and maybe a good No. 4 receiver, a guy with playoff experience and solid on special teams? Sure would.

36 Responses to “Mining For WR Depth”

  1. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Hmmm…no hands. Can he block?

  2. Rob Says:

    The Bucs should be targeting Rashard Matthews from the Dolphins. He’s only 26, has good speed and hands, and has continued to get better each year. Should be a great #2 or possibly #3 depending on what we do in the draft.

  3. dave Says:

    i would absolutely take him. top shelf speed is what we need at wr

  4. Mort Says:

    Speed is great, but there is a reason he didn’t last in Oakland and didn’t last in Indy…. He kinda sucks. I’d rather have that spot go to a 6th round pick with actual upside.

  5. CaptainStagger Says:

    Hollywood Higgins in round 3 please

  6. Leighroy Says:

    I’d prefer young rookies for depth. Jackson and Murphy are already solid veterans for WR 2 and 3 spots. YOUNG TALENT needs to grow and eventually supplant these guys in the long run. Go FA at other positions, address WR with the rounds 4-7 picks.

  7. Tom T. Says:

    We need either or both of the Cincy WR Free Agents Sanu & Marvin Jones! Travis Benjamin is also a FA from the browns. All are in their mid 20’s. Sanu and Benjamin would immediately make a WR position weakness into a huge strength. Neither one of them would break the bank. Add Evans into the mix and with those three on the field we would put some serious points on the board.

  8. ndog Says:

    There are literally hundreds of good nfl receivers out there that fit this mold, this team had just done a poor job of finding them and coaching them. Teams like the Bengals have like 3 on their disasters and we have maybe one in humpheris. Spend this money on depth for the dline as that is were talent needed to won in the nfl is truly hard to find.

  9. DallasBuc Says:

    Hey you know what this team needs?…another receiver that can’t catch the damn football. Steel sharpens steel!!!
    There is something funny going on at JBF HQ these days based on the ideas floated in a few of these articles.

  10. Aristotle Says:

    Haha another receiver that drops passes, Joe must have stocks in heart attack medicine.

  11. Joe Says:

    Hey you know what this team needs?…another receiver that can’t catch the damn football.

    Catches the ball better than a couple of receivers already on the roster.

  12. Joe Says:

    Haha another receiver that drops passes, Joe must have stocks in heart attack medicine.

    Do a little research next time. Catches the ball better than two receivers currently on the roster, including a certain first round pick.

  13. Ocala Says:

    I know this is not a deep draft for receiver but I’m a big fan of Tyler Boyd from Pittsburgh.

    He probably won’t make it past the 2nd round but if he is somehow available for our third round selection I hope Jason Licht runs to the podium with his name on the selection.
    He’s got good speed great quickness and wait for this great hands too!
    Additionally he’s very strong in the return game.
    Perfect fit for Bucs.

    1) Sheldon Rankins DT Louisville
    2) Carl Nassib DE Penn State
    3) Tyler Boyd WR Pittsburgh
    4) Vadal Alexander OL LSU
    5) Terrance Smith OLB Florida State
    6) Parker Ehinger OT Cincinnati
    6) Cyrus Jones CB Alabama

  14. CC Says:

    Joe…..any update on the indoor practice facility promissed by the Glazers?

  15. bucs4life86 Says:

    I say go with the former cane T.Benjamin, dude has serious wheels and has better hands than DHB does. A deep threat would bring a whole new dimension to this offense. Hopefully afro thunder can stay healthy this season and make his mark, excited to see what he can do for us. And was it just me or was Jameis a bit off on his deep ball accuracy last season? That was suppose to be one of his strengths.

  16. CalBucsFan Says:

    Please, not another retread. There’s a reason he’s looking for his 4th team and with Evans already having butter fingers, we don’t need another one.

  17. Fsuking Says:

    He’s fast but he sucks. I guess it’s better than DD and Humphries but we don’t want better, we want GOOD!

  18. Fsuking Says:

    Why on Gods green earth would we draft a DT with our first overall pick. We almost certainly have the best interior defensive line in the NFL. Are you sure you meant to be on a Bucs forum?

  19. DB55 Says:

    Go back to bed Joe you’re drunk.

  20. DallasBuc Says:

    “Joe Says:
    February 14th, 2016 at 9:26 am
    Hey you know what this team needs?…another receiver that can’t catch the damn football.

    Catches the ball better than a couple of receivers already on the roster.”

    …that is not saying much for DHB. Says quite a bit about Mike Clayton Evans ineptitude as a football player though. Here’s an idea, let’s sign a receiver with the basic ability to catch footballs. I know, it’s crazy talk.

  21. Ocala Says:


    With all the holes we have on this team I sure would hope we put an emphasis on drafting the best player instead of reaching for need.
    That’s what looser teams do.

    Rankins is a monster interior pass rusher which would free up McCoy
    Who is our other DT besides MCCoy… Akeem Spence.
    He’s decent against the run but terrible at rushing the passer.
    The Bucs need play makers and the draft sets up for some strong 4-3 DE’s being available in the second round.
    Even Joe last year lauded the thought of Suh and McCoy collapsing the interior of the line.
    If you watched Florida State playing Louisville last year you would have seen Rankins destroying the interior of Florida States line(thankfully Florida State recruited an amazing OL this year).
    Rankins also dominated more than any other player at this years Senior Bowl practices which further confirmed he’s most likely going to be dominant in the NFL from day one.

    Also, You’re living in a dream world if you think the Bucs have any area of our defense that’s elite.

    We have 3 outstanding players on defense(Kwon, Lavonte and Gerald).
    The rest of the Bucs defense is quite frankly pathetic.

  22. Bucs Fan #7423 Says:


  23. Pawel Says:

    I say bucs have to atleast pick 2 DEs, one cornerback, one saftey, and DT

  24. Bucs SB with Jameis Says:

    Great QB’s make WR’s great. Who ever heard of TY Hilton or Austin Collie before Peyton. IMO we don’t need FA WR’s. Jameis will take young talent that he can mold any day over anything else. The future is bright in Tampa

  25. Hell Hound Says:

    I like it! SIGN HIM UP!!!

  26. JP4 Says:

    Heyward-Bey is another ‘meh’ guy. Only four 100 yard games in his career, and all of those came in his 1st 2 seasons with Oakland. Lately, he can only be counted on to have 2 or three decent games a season. as a 3rd or 4th WR. Decent on special teams, but Bucs can likely find someone who can do as good a job on ST for a lot less, and you don’t need great speed on ST unless you are actually returning the kicks.

  27. DB55 Says:

    Anquan Boldin. #nuffsaid #fsu #championsonly

  28. HIRE JIMBO Says:

    Andrew Billings would be a much better prospect for the bucs over Sheldon Rankins.
    You must be a Louisville fan or something because Rankins is a late 1st or 2nd round pick. Lol not a top 10 guy.

  29. Tiny Tim Says:

    Heyward bey!!!!?????? When did joe start a comedy blog? Joe some of your latest ideas have been rather ludicrous. I shouldn’t be surprised, you are the one who lobbied for Manziel. I really can’t give you credit for winston, he was a no brainer to those who know football. The media scrutiny made it seem as if the decision was a tough one.

    One last thing….stop beating on Bell. I recall you beating up Sims last year this time and he proved your assesment ludicrous. Allow these players to play and grow in order to make an educated assestment. The bucs drafted him for a reason and i think they have earned respect on their draft decisions over the past two seasons.

  30. Ocala Says:

    Hire Jimbo(your name makes no sense btw)
    I’m a former scholarship athlete at Florida State, a Florida State graduate, season ticket holder and a Seminole Booster so it’s safe to say my allegiance is not with Louisville.
    My biggest desire is the Bucs to draft Jalen Ramsey but he’s going to be long gone when we draft.
    I also would like Joey Bosa, Vernon Heargraves or DeForest Buckner but I don’t believe any will be available when we draft.

    Here’s a quote by former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah about Rankins.
    Rankins was dominant and unblockable at this years Senior Bowl practices he will get his name called on day 1 of the draft’
    But whatever I’m sure you know better than DJ

  31. godzilla13 Says:

    Check out WR Rishard Matthews, Dolphins (6-0 217). In 2015 he went 43-61 (70.4%) 662 yards, 15.4 average, 4 TD and 31 first downs, in just 11 games. He is a great route runner and sure handed. Mathews will hit the FA market and the Bucs should do everything they can to sign him. Miami already has their future at WR with Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker, and the Dolphins have big needs to fill all over the depth chart. There just is not a huge amount of talented receivers available in FA this year and Mathews is in the top three. He is just 26 years old, meaning there is still plenty of football, and plenty of growth, remaining. A Dolphin fan wrote “He plays angry and forcefully with an infectious enthusiasm.” IMO if I were GM, I would sign him and release Jackson and put the $10,000,00 straight at Mario Williams in an offer he can’t refuse.

  32. Trubucfan22 Says:

    If the bucs signed him, as of right now he would be the #2 wr. Our WR depth is garbage. Bring in him and every other wr we can. We need all the help we can get. Run a real competition and sign the best 5 or 6. Cut the rest.

  33. Brian D. Says:

    Droppy McDropperson? Hell to the no.

  34. Nuc if u Buc Says:

    Should have given Hall a real shot before he was poached from Prac squad, humph suks…

  35. Another J Says:

    What good is being fast? When you can only catch the ball some of the times…
    We can do better!

  36. true buc fan Says:

    I agree with this article bey would be good for depth we still need to tight up vjac on go get a2 and 3 wr Bell and bey at 3,4 I like that