Bucs Training Camp Battle: Wide Receiver

Who will rise up and take Tampa Bay's No. 3 WR spot alongside Mike Evans and Chris Godwin?

There's little question that the Buccaneers have one of the NFL's best wide receiver tandems in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. The real mystery is how the rest of the receiver depth chart will shake out.

Evans has been one of the best wide receivers in the NFL since he was drafted by Tampa bay in 2014. Former 2017 third-round pick Godwin showed promise in his first two NFL seasons but exploded last year, catching 86 passes for 1333 yards and nine touchdowns.

They are the pillars on which the Bucs offense is built, likely giving the Bucs' front office the confidence to let Jameis Winston walk to take a swing at Tom Brady. They will no doubt be the focal point of the offense even with a new quarterback.

What comes after Evans and Godwin is another issue altogether. The Bucs lost a reliable WR3 in Breshad Perriman, who signed with the New York Jets this offseason. What remains is a collection of young receivers with just 37 NFL receptions between them.

The front runners for roster spots are all former draft picks. Second-year WR Scotty Miller looks to build on a promising rookie season where he caught 13 passes for 200 yards and a touchdown. His long speed makes him Tampa Bay's chief deep threat.

Fifth-round pick Tyler Johnson could be the Bucs' biggest draft steal of 2020. Though he is not an elite athlete, Johnson is simply a good football player and one of the best wide receivers to come out of the Big Ten in the past decade. He has the most career receiving yards of any Big Ten receiver in the past 10 years. 

As a rookie, it make take Johnson a little time to adjust to NFL speeds, but his college production and draft status should keep him safely on the roster after training camp.

The last draft pick on the depth chart is 2018 fifth-rounder Justin Watson. After a quiet rookie year, Watson became a starter following injuries to Evans and Godwin last year. In the last four games of the season, he caught 12 passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns.

Miller and Johnson are the most likely to make the team outside Evans and Godwin. Watson has the best chance among the rest, but he is vulnerable if one of the young receivers impresses in training camp.

Former CFL receiver Bryant Mitchell could beat out Watson for a roster spot with strong camp. Mitchell was excellent for Edmonton, catching 60 passes for 867 yards and three touchdowns. Before tearing his Achilles tendon during camp last year, he was in contention for the fifth receiver spot (via Pewter Report):

Watson and Mitchell's receiving skills may play less of a role in their chances to make the final roster than their contributions on special teams. Watson played 57 percent of the Bucs' special teams snaps in 2019, which could be the edge he needs to secure the final roster spot.