The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added some extra quickness to the offense after the NFL Draft and found that talent from a recent wide receiver factory.
Former Maryland wide receiver Rakim Jarrett signed with the Bucs as an undrafted free agent on April 29 according to KPRC’s Aaron Wilson. Jarrett comes from a Maryland program that recently produced three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Stefon Diggs of the Buffalo Bills and rising wideout D.J. Moore of the Carolina Panthers.
A 6-foot, 192-pound receiver, Jarrett caught 119 passes for 1,552 yards and 10 touchdowns in 28 games with the Terrapins over three seasons. He clocked 4.44 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, and he posted a vertical jump of 35-feet-5 plus a 10-foot-3 broad jump for the combine.
“Jarrett’s top selling point is his ability as a vertical threat,” Pro Football Network’s Ian Cummings wrote. “When he has room to open his strides, he explodes into space and has the speed to stress defenders in the deep third and stretch the field horizontally. He’s also shown he can manipulate space and bend at stems to maximize that vertical ability, and convert with steady ball tracking.”
Bucs Need a Deep Threat
The Bucs lacked a consistent vertical threat in 2022. Mike Evans led the team with 14.6 yards per reception, but he made plays of 30-plus yards in only five games all season. Chris Godwin averaged 9.8 yards per reception, but he eclipsed 30 yards on plays in only two games all year.
Russell Gage came to Tampa in 2022 for his speed and deep ball-catching ability. It never came to fruition as Gage averaged 8.4 yards per reception and never went over 23 yards on a reception all season.
Julio Jones, Breshad Perriman, Jaelon Darden never became consistent deep ball threats in 2022. The Bucs released Darden and didn’t re-sign Jones or Perriman.
“Jarrett, at the very least, has the testing athleticism and upside to develop, but without improved refinement as a separator and pass-catching consistency, he may be limited to a niche role in which he’s schemed RAC touches in the short range and used as a vertical presence,” Cummings wrote. “That’s a valuable rotational role, but it doesn’t demand high-end capital.”
Rakim Jarrett Won’t Cost Tampa Too Much
Jarrett won’t make a lot with the Bucs, but he signed a significant deal for an undrafted free agent. His contract includes $225,000 guaranteed amid his base salary and $25,000 signing bonus according to KPRC’s Aaron Wilson.
If Jarrett doesn’t pan, the Bucs won’t lose out too much, too. He carries some critical questions besides his small frame, which all impacted his not getting drafted.
“Unfortunately, Jarrett’s profile lacks the refinement and overall solidity that other [rookie] speed receivers have,” Cummings wrote. “Jarrett has little experience against press and has room to be more varied, streamlined, and efficient at stems. He’s not consistent against tight coverage and can be prone to focus drops.”
Jarrett will have his work cut out for him to make the Bucs 53-man roster though the Bucs don’t have much experience after Evans, Godwin, and Gage. Deven Thompkins and Kaylon Geiger both saw playing time as rookies, and the Bucs drafted Trey Palmer from Nebraska with a sixth-round pick on April 29.