The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a lot of competition at several positions across their roster. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like there are a lot of questions when it comes to the receiver room.
But, if you look beyond the top-3 spots, it’s easy to see why there are plenty of lingering questions.
Sure, there are semi-proven players in Tyler Johnson, Scotty Miller, Cyril Grayson, and Breshad Perriman battling it out for the final 2-3 jobs. There’s also the not-as-proven-but-still-recent-fourth-rounder Jaelon Darden in the mix, as well. But none of the aforementioned Buccaneers have done enough over the entirety of their careers to warrant any guaranteed roster spots.
That’s why undrafted rookie Deven Thompkins’ minicamp/OTA performance was so important for his career. Thompkins put on a show during the offseason, so much so that it led ESPN reporter Jenna Laine to hail him as the surprise offseason standout for the Buccaneers.
Laine recently wrote the following in regard to Thompkins:
“Thompkins, a rookie undrafted free agent, caught the eye of coach Todd Bowles, who singled him at the end of mandatory minicamp. “I would love to see what Thompkins does in training camp,” Bowles said. “He’s quick, he’s fast, he’s explosive off of the ball, and he’s made some good catches. So, we want to see how he continues to learn and how he does in training camp and preseason. I’ll be looking at him.”
At his pro day, he clocked a 4.35 40-yard dash and had the second-most receiving yards in college football with 1,704 yards and 10 touchdowns. But he faces tall odds to make the Bucs’ 53-man roster at 5-foot-7 and 155 pounds and at a position that already has Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage. His ticket would likely come in the form of kick and punt returns, which hasn’t been a strong spot for the Bucs.”
Thompkins will have to find a different way to stand out during training camp
Thompkins’ best trait is obviously his speed. Any football player who runs a 4.35 will tell you that. Especially a receiver.
However, that’s not what will enable him to make the Buccaneers roster. Thompkins will have to develop another trait if he wants to make the final 53.
This is because the Buccaneers already have a ton of speed when it comes to the receiving options beyond the top-3 players.
The only receiver ahead of Thompkins in the pecking order that isn’t very fast is Tyler Johnson. And he is good when it comes to what he does with the ball in his hands after the catch.
Thompkins has to be ready to showcase different skills come camp. The good news is that he has a few weeks to work on what he needs to improve.
You can check out ESPN’s full column, here.
Featured image via Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports