Buccaneers Acquire 6-Foot-7 Wide Receiver: Report

Todd Bowles

Getty Todd Bowles will bring in Tampa native Zach Mathis for rookie minicamp.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers obtained some extra height at wide receiver with rookie minicamp around the corner.

Tampa native and 6-foot-7 wide receiver Zach Mathis received a rookie minicamp invite on April 27 according to KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson. Mathis played for North Dakota State from 2018 to 2023, and he tallied 95 receptions for 1,392 yards and nine touchdowns in his career.

“He’s a huge back-shoulder-throw threat because of his length,” former NDSU head coach Matt Entz told the Fargo Forum in August 2023. “He runs probably better than most people think, when you have a kid that’s [6-foot-7] and has good speed he can stretch the field and create some mismatch problems.”

Entz, who now coaches linebackers at USC, worked with current Buccaneers offensive lineman Cody Mauch and defensive back Josh Hayes while at NDSU. Mathis played with both, and he also competed with former Bison and now-NFL quarterbacks Trey Lance and Easton Stick.

For Mathis, returning to Tampa gives him the chance to play for the organization that fielded two of his favorite players. He told Bison Illustrated in 2023 that both former Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks and fullback Mike Alstott worked with him on 7-on-7 football teams.

“That was pretty cool,” Mathis said. “I always looked at Hines Ward [too] because I was a big [Pittsburgh] Steelers guy. And then, lately, like when I got to high school, because I didn’t start playing football until high school.”

“I looked up to Keenan Allen’s game and technique for sure. And Christian Watson, he gives me a lot of advice,” Mathis added.

Mathis played alongside Watson, now with the Green Bay Packers, for four seasons in Fargo. The Packers took Watson, also a Tampa native, with a second-round pick in 2022, and he has 69 receptions for 1,033 yards and 12 touchdowns in his young career.

Zach Mathis Showed Promise at Pro Day

Mathis didn’t match Watson’s dominance at NDSU, but the former Berkeley Prep standout showed promise in the Bison Pro Day during March. He didn’t make the NFL combine before that nor get projected as a late-round pick.

“Mathis was recorded between 4.58 and 4.63 on his 40-yard dash, which may not sound like a great time for a wide receiver, but considering his massive size, his ability to be ‘faster than slow’ will turn a few heads for teams looking for possession and red zone weapons,” wrote Ross Uglem of 247 Sports’ Bison Report. “Mathis posted good jumps as well for a player with his tremendous length.”

Zack Mathis Has Skill but Faces Tall Order to Crack Buccaneers Roster

NFLDraftDiamonds.com noted qualities that Mathis brings to the next level — albeit he will have his work cut out for him to make the team. The Buccaneers have a deep receiver room with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Trey Palmer, Deven Thompkins, and Rakim Jarrett plus the addition of Jalen McMillan in the draft.

“He possesses good hands as he displays above-average manual dexterity that enables him to possess a catch radius that allows him to catch the ball with his hands away from his body,” NFLDraftDiamonds.com wrote about Mathis. “He is very good in contested catch situations as he boxes out CB with ordinary ball skills and high points the ball before making the catch.”

“He is above-average at adjusting his body to the ball on passes thrown off-target. He does a solid job of working his way back to the QB on broken plays. He is a sufficient run blocker as he shows the willingness to block and displays solid physical toughness,” NFLDraftDiamonds.com added.

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