Jalen McMillan Knows How To Get Open

June 18th, 2024

Bucs coaches smile over rookie WR Jalen McMillan.

The buzz at minicamp, and yeah, even at OTAs, is that the Bucs found a stud in the third round with the selection of University of Washington wide receiver Jalen McMillan.

Now Joe isn’t going to claim this McMillan is the next Chris Godwin. What Joe did see in underwear football is McMillan, playing with the first-team offense, targeted more than a few times. And it seemed just about each time his number was called, McMillan answered.

Joe does know Bucs coaches are really eager to see what happens when McMillan and the rest of the team put on the pads in training camp.

And that’s exactly why Joe hasn’t taken the McMillan plunge. Joe has seen what happens with receivers in underwear football. It’s very seductive to make sweeping conclusions about how receivers look in flag football underwear football. Tommy Streeter and Kenny Bell looked like can’t-miss studs in underwear football. When the pads came on, they vanished.

Still, it’s cool to imagine what McMillan could be like.

One guy solidly in McMillan’s camp is prickly Pete Prisco of CBS. Prisco was high on McMillan before the draft. And nothing that McMillan has done in underwear football with the Bucs has surprised Prisco.

Apparently, there are stats that demonstrate McMillan knows how to get open. The PFF tribe (see below) had McMillan getting open on 62 percent of his targets over five yards at Washington. That is simply extraordinary.

Now to be fair, most teams Washington played were trash. ACC powerhouses Cal and Stanford? Really? Additionally, USC’s defense under Alex Grinch was a complete and total abomination.

Also, many Washington opponents didn’t have the resources to cover all the Huskies receivers. Remember, Washington just had three receivers selected in the first two days of the draft, including McMillan. Rome Odunze went in the first round to Bears. Ja’Lynn Polk was grabbed by the Patriots in the second round.

So it was a pick-your-poison situation against Washington. Given that McMillan was dinged up last season, it’s no stretch to believe some opposing defensive coordinators hoped/prayed they could get away with a lesser defender on McMillan.

With McMillan open well over half the time, such a strategy, if employed, certainly wasn’t a winning strategy playing Washington.

16 Responses to “Jalen McMillan Knows How To Get Open”

  1. Stanglassman Says:

    After the ’22 season, he was neck in neck with Odunze as the top WR going into ‘23. Polk showed out after his injury. Check out the first few games of ‘23 and at the end of the season when Mcmillan was getting healthy again. He had great games. The Bucs appear to have really gotton a steal. He will be WR 3 to start the year. As much as I love CG he’s gonna be his replacement after ‘24. The Bucs can’t pay a Qb their market value and 2 WRs 20+ million a year.

  2. Lt. Dan Says:

    McMillian is clearly (sadly) Chris Godwin’s replacement. He is a younger, cheaper version. Mark it.

  3. Dude Says:

    -Hands catcher
    -Can stack DBs anywhere within his route
    -Sneaky good in the open field
    -Basketball background shows up using body control(& spin move)
    -Very handsy catcher

    To be honest, when you watch McMillan on tape he’s flashing things Mike & Chris do well respectively. To me, he’s more like a mini-Mike Evans with with a little more polish/wiggle as a route runner in comparison to Mike coming out of A&M.

  4. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Did these players not play in pads in Pee Wee, high school, college? So why does everyone say that they need to see said player in pads? Why the big difference in the NFL when the “pads” come on?

  5. Lt. Dan Says:

    @ Scotty if I may: This will be the first time most of these guys will compete physically with “grown arse men”. How will they hold up?

  6. No Mercy Says:

    @scotty when they say “see them in pads” they just mean that’s the point where players can actually tackle eachother and the QB can actually feel some type of pressure from the defense. It’s a lot easier to get open when physical contact is almost non existent

  7. No Mercy Says:

    @Lt he most likely is Godwins replacement, which sucks because we all love Godwin but he hasn’t been the same game-changer like he was before the injury. But if it’s true he’s playing the slot this year, we could hopefully get a final look at him before we let him walk.

    But right now he’s sadly another guy like Shaw Barrett who got paid too much compared to his production

  8. teacherman1983 Says:

    Mike Evans had Vincent Jackson.

    J-Mac will have Godwin for 3 years.

    I really hope we can keep Evans-Godwin-McMillan healthy and together for 3 years.

    That’s a very solid window for a 3 WR setup,

    Hopefully we can find Mike Evans understudy next draft in the 3rd round. A 6 foot 4 basketball player.

  9. heyjude Says:

    Pete Prisco got it right again!

    I am already all in on Jalen McMillan hoping to not be disappointed. Saying that, I am all in on Chris Godwin too. He is still playing this season and isn’t replaced yet. Have a good feeling, he is going to come out strong too.

  10. Camila's Dad Says:

    This kid is a stud. Mark my words: he’s better than Romeo Odunze.
    The only issue is that he’s better inside than outside and Chris Godwin will be back at the slot.

  11. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    With Mike and Chris, he’ll be getting the 3rd corner covering him here as well.

  12. Booger Says:

    Stanglassman – They’re not paying their QB ‘top’ of the market $ and they’re already paying Godwin $20MIL… If he explodes and ‘balls-out’ again next season, even if his market value is $25MIL, then that is only a $5MIL difference. Everyone else is finding a way, & in some cases they really ARE paying their QB’s ‘top’ of the market money, at $50MIL+Per. And, you’d like to hope that he’d like to stick around here like Mike Evans, & cut us a little break… No state income tax and no having to pack up an move your family, either. Hopefully, he has kids in school, too LoL. I’m not a big fan of letting ‘good players’ just walk, & getting nothing in return. I think sometimes, you have to buy future draft picks/capital (if you don’t have a cheap/broke owner), as long as you can re-sign them to a below market/team friendly type of deal, that makes them an attractive piece to move later on down the road, to another team. Again, this is IF he returns to the old CG, looks explosive, and gets into the endzone again.

  13. garro Says:

    That is an amazing stat Joe!
    Yet another late round win for Jason?
    Makes me even more eager for when the pads go on. We have alot of interesting battles and players to watch this year in TC!

    Go Bucs!

  14. SlyPirate Says:

    I know it’s tough to get a read on defensive players in camp, but Braswell’s advanced stats are impressive. Look at his sack rate vs Dallas Turner and Chop Robinson. The Bucs may have the best pure QB pass rusher in the draft.

    I still don’t see how he wasn’t rated higher than Chop.

  15. Dude Says:

    “but he hasn’t been the same game-changer like he was before the injury.”

    Nonsense, because he literally made plays in both postseason gamed that we’ve seen him make before and after the ACL injury. This is the most copy & pasted narrative about a Bucs player going this season, when the only “down” year Godwin has had was the same season we won a title and that’s because there was a greater share of the targets.

    Godwin hasn’t scored much the last 2 seasons because the QB play has been “meh” how else do you explain Godwin playing in 30 games since rehabbing the league and only having 5 scores?

    Godwin scored more than that in 2019 ONLY playing 14 games and with his QB handing INTs out like Marlboro Lights.

    Godwin is fine, the QB play needs to be better.

  16. SenileSenior Says:

    I see the possibility that JMac does not replace Godwin until 2026 or even later. Predicting sooner than later is not my thing, but I think it is the plan ultimately.

    He could provide some insurance and some leverage for negotiations with CG this year. We shall see.