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Monday, May 10, 2010

2010 Offseason: The Wide Receivers

Plenty of excitement surrounds the 2010 draft picks in the receivers unit.  Fans recognize this as a place the team needs to improve to help the 2009 first rounder quarterback Josh Freeman elevate his game.  It should be a real gunfight to sort this position out for 2010.

Wide Receivers
NameStrt/GmsH/WAcquired
Parker, Preston0/05'11" 199 lbs(2010 College Free Agent)
Adeniji, Damola0/06'3" 213 lbs(2010 College Free Agent)
Brooks, Chris0/06'2" 215 lbs(2010 College Free Agent)
Benn, Arrelious0/06'1" 219 lbs(2010 Draft Pick)
Williams, Mike0/06'1" 221 lbs(2010 Draft Pick)
Urrutia, Mario0/06'6" 232 lbs(2009 Waiver Wire)
Nunn, Terrence0/06'0" 195 lbs(2009 Waiver Wire)
Spurlock, Micheal0/25'11" 200 lbs(2009 Waiver Wire)
Brown, Reggie0/06'1" 197 lbs(2010 Free Agent)
Clayton, Michael11/136'4" 215 lbs(2004 Draft Pick)
Bradley, Mark0/06'1" 201 lbs(2009 Waiver Wire)
Stroughter, Sammie0/135'10" 189 lbs(2009 Draft Pick)
2009 Final Game Starters:
WR: Stovall, Maurice7/156'5" 220 lbs(2006 Draft Pick)

Note the number of 2009 and 2010 players competing at this position.  Looks like General Manager Mark Dominik has been working this position hard looking for deeper talent.

Players are listed in order of productivity in 2009.  The surprise on this list is most likely Mark Bradley (24 catches, 316 yards), a waiver pickup from the Kansas City Chiefs, who produced nearly the same numbers as Sammie Stroughter (31 catches, 320 yards) last season.  Bradley put up his numbers in just 13 games with six starts for the Chiefs while Stroughter played in 13 games with no starts for the Buccaneers.

At this point, one starting spot is Stovall's to lose.  Maurice has been a tremendous contributor on special teams and put up his best year in 2009.  Clearly, he currently holds the most value on this squad.  The other starting spot should be a tremendous battle between the experienced men at this position -- which could expand to include the 2010 draft picks Benn and Williams.  Clayton and Brown should have the advantage but Coach Raheem Morris has said many times that production is what they are looking for.  Clayton and Brown were the 4th and 5th most productive players in 2009 which remain on this squad.  Experience alone may not be enough to keep the very talented youth at this position out of the starting lineup.

The Buccaneers carried eight wide receivers on the roster for most of last year.  At this point, I think there are only four players who would have to lose their roster spot in order to miss the 53-man roster for 2010:  Stovall, Stroughter, Benn, and Williams.  Everyone else has to win the competition for the other spots.  It is possible three of the remaining four roster spots could captured by the most experienced remaining players in Bradley, Clayton, and Brown. 

This would leave the final roster spot for the college free agents and 2009 practice squad players.  Micheal Spurlock is also a return specialist which would give him an edge.  The three college free agents are potential practice squad targets -- Chris Brooks was impressive enough at the rookie camp to land a camp contract, can he make the roster?  Urruita and Nunn are at a pivitol point in their NFL careers and must reach the 53-man roster to stay with the team.


Tight Ends
NameStrt/GmsH/WAcquired
Mastrud, Jeron0/06'5" 256 lbs(2010 College Free Agent)
Purvis, Ryan0/06'4" 260 lbs(2009 College Free Agent)
Gilmore, John2/136'5" 257 lbs(2008 Free Agent)
Stevens, Jerramy8/166'7" 260 lbs(2007 Free Agent)
2009 Final Game Starter:
Winslow, Kellen14/166'4" 240 lbs(2009 Trade)

Barring unforseen circumstances, this spot is Winslow's for the next four years.

The Buccaneers carried four tight ends on the roster last season.  With a significant push for additional receiving talent this year four may be too many.  One thing is certain -- these men are going to have to be more physical in the running game to stay on the roster.  Stevens and Gilmore must keep the youth at bay behind them.  Stevens (15 catches for 130 yards) and Gilmore (3 catches, 23 yards) are two of the five oldest players on the roster now -- they must be productive or they will not make the team.

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