Have The Bucs Found Their Punt Returner?

November 20th, 2023

He broke one.

After his first big return of the 2023 season, and a dynamic one it was, Bucs return man Deven Thompkins ranks 20th in the NFL among full-time returners.

Joe defines full-time as 10 or more returns this season.

Thompkins emerged from the dungeon of returners yesterday with a 51-yard scamper against the 49ers in the fourth quarter. And it was special, with Thompkins making a few guys miss immediately after the catch.

Thompkins also had a hell of a run for 17 yards on a handoff, when Thompkins had the presence to slow way down and wait for a block by Cade Otton.

The Joe typing here never thought Thompkins belonged on the field as a receiver because he defines the phrase “practice squad material” as a pass catcher; he dropped a touchdown yesterday and is too small and plays too small at that position. But Thompkins is proving his mettle as a returner/specialty player.

Man, Joe can’t remember the last time the Bucs had a giant return in a key moment.

18 Responses to “Have The Bucs Found Their Punt Returner?”

  1. HC Grover Says:

    Agree. He is not a reciever.

  2. rrsrq Says:

    He probably has better chemistry with Trask

  3. realistic-optimistic Says:

    He had one good return. I’ll take that. But why does he constantly field kicks inside the 10 and not fair catch? He return what, 4 like this during the game? None of which made it back to the 25. Just fair catch those, man. Take the free field position…

  4. Dlavid Says:

    This team has no leader …. Bowles is not a leader ! Opposing QB has a perfect QB rating yesterday and a Rookie lights us up breaking the record books two weeks ago ! Come on Glazers ….you better be looking !

  5. Pewter Power Says:

    Have to break more than one. The there should always be a competition coming from the draft since licht refuses to use that capital to trade up. JTS does nothing and we notice because he’s a defensive end. Can we find a returner who’s actually useful on the field. He’s just too small

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    He needs to call for a fair catch on some of those kickoffs instead of trying to run them out……..just take the ball, safely, on the 25.

  7. adam from ny Says:

    he’s starting to settle in a bit more now as a returner…

    still need more from him, but i’m sensing he’s getting his footing a bit more, or the game is slowing down for him…

    we’ll know more in a couple more weeks…hopefully he’s leveling up…

    some of the sweeps are looking better too and he’s getting a little more patient and waiting on blockers…

    he’s improving, i see it

  8. teacherman777 Says:

    He made that return after dropping the diving TD catch.

    Devin Thompkins is a true Buccaneer. He’s not scared.

    I like how he shook off the dropped TD by making a huge punt return to give us a chance to win.

    Thompkins is still a rookie.

    I think he will grow into a nasty slot receiver and deep threat.

    But I think his stride is too short for a kick returner.

    I would like to see Tucker return kickoffs.

  9. DS Says:

    Just stop targeting this guy downfield

  10. Craig Says:

    He has pretty bad judgement for a returner.

    He tends to let balls sail by him and has caused a longer field several times because of it.

    He could just fair catch those balls and not let them roll towards the goal line.

    He has had a few good end around runs and that necessitates him running a few routes as camouflage.

    He is a rookie and has a lot to learn, but may become a receiver some day, I do put him behind Trey Palmer and Rakeem on the rookie rotation list.

  11. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    It was a line-drive punt. Ideal for a return.

    Save the party-poppers for New Year.

  12. shorttrooper Says:

    No. He sucks at returning punts.

    Credit for busting one yesterday, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t stink 99% of the time.

  13. Rod Munch Says:

    I’ve always been high on Thompkins, but also pointed out he shouldn’t be viewed as more than a 5th WR, he’s just too small to be much more than a gadget player. With that said, as a WR’s he hasn’t been bad, but he is what he is, and shouldn’t be compared to starters, he’s just not that.

    However, on the “dropped” TD yesterday. Come on. Otton dropped a TD, Evans dropped a TD last week (but also made an insane play to get them to that point) it would have been an great catch had Thompkins been about to bring that on in. That is not a drop, in my opinion. Drops need to be plays that guys make the majority of the time – that’s how I view it.

  14. DJB Says:

    Love his heart, but also believe he is too damn small as a returner or a wide receiver. I would like to see what Palmer could do as a returner.

  15. Hodad Says:

    He also returned to kickoffs he shouldn’t have not making it to the 15. He’s not very good. This lone return was his only good one since last year. The bar is low in Tampa.

  16. Herbiebuc Says:

    That was a clear late hit that should have brung the ball to the 5 yard line ! If that happens that’s a lot different from starting at the 15, we got screwed on that call also the non roughing the passer on the interception following that return

  17. TheRealDrew Says:

    Does he have more drops than Mike Evans?

  18. garro Says:

    He is not running to the nearest sideline so yeah, I think so.

    Go Bucs!