Receiver/Tight End Depth Proven A Question Mark

September 26th, 2023

Deven Thompkins

Before opening day, there was a divide at world headquarters.

One Joe was selling that receiver depth was a likely strength of the roster while the other Joe barked that the Bucs have two practice squad talents and a green late-round rookie behind Chris Godwin and Mike Evans.

Where art thou, Russell Gage?

After last night’s drubbing by the Eagles, receiver Deven Thompkins now has 4 catches for 14 yards while undrafted rookie receiver Rakim Jarrett has 1 catch for 7 yards. Rookie sixth-round pick Trey Palmer has 4 catches for 36 yards and 1 touchdown. That’s a combined 9 catches for 57 yards and 1 TD through three games from the Bucs’ Nos. 3, 4 and 5 receivers.

Stretch those numbers over a season and that trio won’t match Gage’s production from 2022. And Gage was banged up all year and missed four games for an offense that scored 18 points a game.

Joe is not blasting the Bucs’ young trio behind Evans and Godwin, but it’s going to be a long season if offensive coordinator Dave Canales can’t find ways to get those players to produce.

Combine that with the Bucs getting 1 catch from the tight end position last night (Cade Otton) and it feels like the Tampa Bay offense is way too reliant on its big guns.

Godwin and Evans could have 1,100 yards each (see 2014) this season and the offense could struggle mightily without significant contributions from other pass catchers.

Of course, a run game would help, too, but that’s just a dream right now.

For those wondering, Scotty Miller (Falcons) and Breshad Perriman (Colts) don’t have a reception this season.

27 Responses to “Receiver/Tight End Depth Proven A Question Mark”

  1. I remember 21 Says:

    Otton won’t, and shouldn’t, get a second contract here. Doesn’t excel in any area, too much “aw shucks” and not enough dog in him. Stone hands, no speed, poor blocker.

  2. DS Says:

    Y was Thompkins targeted so much ?

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    Depth isn’t just a problem at WR, it’s a problem in almost every position group this year. Our salary CAP hangover from 2020 & 2021 left us as paupers this year, so what did everyone expect? We’re filling our roster with a bunch of inexperienced 2nd-tier players to back up a respectable starting roster in most position groups. Soon as our starters get dinged up, we get exposed.

    Our defense was hurting last night, before the game. Davis, out. So are our 2 rookies, Kancey & Dennis. Vea & White shouldn’t have even been playing; they were half speed. Dean was hurting prior to the game, and we’ve probably now lost him for awhile too. Neal was hurting. Over half our starting defense was either out or pretty banged up BEFORE the game, and we didn’t have the depth to sit them for this one. I’ve got an idea how to solve that: let’s blame Bowles for the lack of depth. After all, he’s the one who prints money & stocks the roster with talent.

  4. SB~LV Says:

    ME had 3 in his hands, ask Tom Brady about ME drops

  5. Hodad Says:

    Palmer, and Thompkins should be on the outside running nothing but go routes. Godwin needs to play back in the slot.

  6. Boss Says:

    ME single-handedly lost the game last night. I stopped watching by end of q3 and little mike had already dropped a TD, and two easy ones….both of which came on 3rd down. TD and killed 2 drives while the game was on the line.

    Yeah, we’re thin at “quality” wr

  7. Boss Says:

    Mike can move on elsewhere after this year. Guy always drops his 1st ball….but I am sick of him losing games and now he wants to strong arm the Bucs.

    Not only do I not agree signing him a big contract, we need a reliable number 1 wr. I been saying trade the guy for years…..but now it’s just ugly when he single handedly loses games.

  8. D Cone Says:

    One look at the box scores and Joe would see the targets. Evans, Godwin, TE and others. Others are not getting a lot of targets and when they are it.s short quick passes. Mostly screens.

    If you are getting rid of the ball fast there is not a whole lot of progression going on. It’s one look to Evans or Godwin and check down. It’s a quick pass to the Tight End. Quick pass to the others on the wings and hope that they break tackles.

    Roll Outs and Bootlegs were advertised but I’ m not seeing much of it. . Play to Baker’s ‘ Skill Set’ was mentioned often. Pocket Passer is not it. Baker has a Fastball but no Curve and if he has a lane he does OK. If he has to throw it over the Linemen then throws are high and put his receivers at risk.
    Only time I see him outside the hashes is when he’s running for his life.

  9. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    Palmer and Jarrett need more snaps and more targets and less of both for Thompkins.

  10. Voice of Truth Says:

    For $13 a month you can get NFL+ and watch the all 22 of Baker missing wide open receivers all game long

    That is why he is on his 28th team in 4 years, he either can’t read
    Properly or is scared to throw the ball far too often

    Yes we lack depth, we also lack a quality starter at QB

    He is just good enough to get you beat

  11. 757Buc’em Says:

    Mike knew he f up he walked into the locker room b4 the game ended. Scared to answer them questions about them drops but wanting a fat contract

  12. DBS Says:

    We need a better TE then Otten. This guy can’t break tackles. 3and 6 you know he’s going to come up 2 yards short most of the time. Defender stops him in his tracks.

  13. Buddha Says:

    Football is won in the trenches. It is as simple as that.

  14. Jack Clark Says:

    Receivers are fine, Mike Evans just needs to stop dropping passes

  15. Bojim Says:

    If they bounce back next week we’ll know if we have a team or a dream.

  16. PewterStiffArm Says:

    Sorry, as much as I like Devin Thompkins, he is not a number four reciever. Rakim Jarrett should be introduced into the mix by securing first downs. Stop gasing Mike Evans, he is no longer a spring chicken. When you watch him on television and during replays he is realizing his body won’t allow him to run 30 yard routes all the time. Secure the first down first and when the opportunity comes throw the bomb. And oh by the way, there is a position called Tight-End, can’t we throw to these guys.

  17. Mark Says:

    The $77M of dead cap money really shows on the field. Credit to the team for playing hard, but they were obviously overmatched. The Eagles exposed the Bucs talent level due to their extraordinary team speed, size, and depth. If not for a few timely plays, the final score would have been much worse.

    If the Bucs can keep what talent they have on the field, there are enough mid- to poor teams on the schedule to stretch out some wins this year. It’s going to take some smart cap management to keep the young stars on this team and great drafting to fill the many holes on the roster.

  18. Marine Buc Says:

    Another inconsistent performance from Mike Evans… Too many dropped passes for a guy who wants top 10 WR money.

    Has Mike Evans earned a new contract paying him $25M per season?

    Week #1 – NO.
    Week #2 – YES.
    Week #3 – NO.

    Come on man! What have you done for me lately?

  19. The Dave Says:

    As I said before the season started, 13 rookies on a 53 man roster is not a winning formula. We just got beat, plan and simple, by a better team in all facets of the game.

  20. larrd Says:

    You have to throw to them before you can expect them to produce. I’d like to see the three speedy youngsters get chances deeper down field, too. Especially Garrett.

  21. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    Evans has proven all throughout his career he has crucial drops. 2 of the 3 games this year he’s dropped TDS and he’s way overrated. Don’t forget last year vs. Panthers. He’s not all that.

  22. ScottyMack Says:

    Comparing this year’s team to last year’s numbers by Gage is a tough sell when the offense is only putting the ball in the air 50 percent as much as the Brady teams. That, alone, should make a 1,000 yard season by Evans even more remarkable.

  23. SlyPirate Says:

    Boss Says:
    ME single-handedly lost the game last night.


    As over-the-top as that sounds, I agree. We go up early and the Eagles might have to play a different game. Mike blew it.

    Here’s another thing about Evans, he fades when the lights are bright. Dude crushes in meaningless games but Primetime games, Monday Nights, playoffs, Super Bowl … he’s no where to be found.

  24. JD Still Says:

    New Young receivers are useless if you don’t use them , which requires a passer who can get them the ball, Mayfield’s happy feet and over reliance on Evans and Godwin reduced their effectiveness ,( Trask does not have happy feet and is not afraid to throw to anybody ) , the more targets that you use the more porous the pass defense becomes and the more the defense has to concentrate on stopping the pass the more it opens up the run game , it’s not complicated ,it’s still run and pass working together , run first is fine if you can do it , if you can’t , you have to be flexible enough to flip the script and use who and what will work.

  25. unbelievable Says:


    Baker threw a soft rainbow lollipop pass that allowed the DB to make his way back to Mike and get a hand on the ball.

    Just like he was way too late on the previous pass to Godwin, which is why he was out of bounds by time it was caught.

    If baker throws those balls a half second sooner / faster, we have a touchdown. LOL at blaming Evans or Godwin for those.

  26. unbelievable Says:

    Oh and you can add the interception as another pass he threw way too late. There were others as well.

    Baker didn’t have a good game, simple as that. Neither did the o-line, d-line, running backs, tight ends…

  27. Another J Says:

    Both of our TE’s appear to be nothing special. If either Kieft, or Otton produce anything it would open up the passing game for everyone else.