With young quarterbacks, the goal is typically to surround that young quarterback with plenty of talent to make sure he succeeds. Fortunately for the Bucs, Jameis Winston is not your typical young quarterback. Winston is already to the point where he will make the players around him better, rather than needing them to help him succeed.
Winston has a great duo of receivers to initially work with in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. Unfortunately, once Jackson went down with knee issues in 2015, we saw the tremendous drop off to the next group of receivers. Dirk Koetter understands that depth needs to be built at receiver.
“Real critical," Koetter said of finding a receiver after Evans and Jackson. "Like three through eight right now in that receiver group is pretty close. You take a guy like Kenny Bell - two days ago looked like the MVP two days ago, then he disappeared yesterday. And ‘DD’ (Donteea Dye) looked like he didn’t belong out here two days ago, and it was better yesterday. Russell Shepard has had his moments. Evan Spencer has had his moments. All those guys have a chance. You even look [at] Bernard Reedy and Freddie Martino, those are two guys that stuck with us a long time in Atlanta, two veteran players and they know what they’re doing. I like this Jonathan Krause kid, [he] has flashed a little bit. So no doors are closed right now for those receivers. I like our talent there, I like all those young guys and that’s what this preseason will be for.”
I believe the Bucs are going to give these young receivers every opportunity to step up and become more of a household name. These young receivers will likely have through training camp and the first 2 preseason games to make their mark. If none do, do not be surprised if Jason Licht makes a move to improve the depth at receiver.
Of course, Koetter did name Adam Humphries as the Bucs' 3rd WR, which essentially means he'll be the slot receiver heading into the season. The Bucs must find depth behind Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson to avoid the issues of inexperience on the outside when/if injuries occur.
One name to keep an eye on is Roddy White. White is currently a free agent, but will sign with a team that's willing to pay him more than the minimum. White might not be the elite receiver he once was, he's still a veteran receiver with ties to Dirk Koetter and knowledge of his offense. As long as White remains available, he will be tied to his former coaches in Tampa who need receiver help.