With training camp less than three weeks ago, there are some players on this Bucs team poised for breakout seasons. Last year these two Bucs rookies started slowly and by the end of the season one was a very important part of the offense, while the other ended up on the DL. Both are poised to have breakout seasons.
WR Chris Godwin got off to a rough start and his playing time was very limited due to his slow grasp of the offense. By the time the second half of the season rolled around, Godwin was an important piece of the offense and finished with 34 catches, 525 yards receiving and 1 TD catch, that TD catch coming in the last game of the season. Godwin also averaged 15.4 YPC.
As mini-camp wrapped up, Dirk Koetter said that Godwin was one of the most improved players this off-season and should be play a much bigger part in the offense this year. His attention to detail, route running, and just his overall understanding of the offense has improved greatly this off-season. With Winston out for the first three games, Fitzpatrick is going to need all the weapons he has at his disposal to ty to avoid an 0-3 start for the Bucs.
TE OJ Howard is another player that should take a big jump this season. I Think Howard could have been a much bigger weapon for the Bucs had they used him more as a pass receiver than as a run blocker. Howard had 26 catches for 432 yards and 6 TD’s. Howard underutilized as a receiver last year did not wow anyone with his blocking ability.
This season I am counting on Howard to have a better grasp on the blocking part of his game. I think the revamped OL with the addition of Jensen and moving Marpet back to guard will help with the overall blocking schemes.
Howard has the potential to be an all-pro TE and I think he can reach that status this season.
CB Vernon Hargreaves has a lot to prove. To say that Hargreaves has underachieved his first two seasons would be an understatement. Hargreaves will have some competition this season for the starting spot as rookies Carlton Davis and MJ Stewart both showed good cover skills and were about as aggressive as you could be in shells and pads.
Koetter complimented Hargreaves as mini camp wrapped up saying that Hargreaves had improved both his coverage ability and his overall knowledge of the playbook. Hargreaves at times looked lost season at times not knowing what to do or where to be,
Look for some good competition at CB during training between Hargreaves, Davis and Stewart. Hargreaves is penciled in as the starter right now but the competition will be worth watching.
Let’s put the rookie RB from USC Ronald Jones on this list as well. Heath Cummings a writer at CBS Sports who specializes in statistical analysis projects Jones to lead the Bucs in rushing with 918 yards and 5 TD’s.
With the revamped OL and the Bucs featuring Ronald Jones as the main back, I think Jones can become the First Buccaneer RB to rush for over 1,000 yards since Doug Martin in 2015. I really like this group of backs in Ronald Jones, Peyton Barber and Jacquizz Rodgers. I think they compliment each other very well and the Bucs will finally be able to run the ball when hey need to and pick up those tough yards.