While most of the world is focusing on who each team will choose as their team-changing, future star in the first round, many people are forgetting what really separates the men from the boys in the NFL draft: the middle-late rounds.
If you’re a true fan, then you pay close attention to the entirety of their team’s draft. The first round selection is just as important as Mr. Irrelevant in your mind. The young men that are chosen in the later rounds can often be overlooked and provide some hidden, or unexpected, value. If you don’t believe me, look up this guy named Tom Brady. You might have heard his name once or twice.
The fact of the matter is that any team can make the easy pick in the beginning of the draft.
The former 5 star kid out of High School who went on to be an All-American player in college screams “draft me” from a mile away. The true test of a team’s scouting ability lies within the mysterious picks at the end of the draft. You know what I mean, those picks that have you and your buddy’s wrinkling your foreheads and asking Siri who in the world your team just selected.
The Bucs are one of the teams that is looking at a “make-or-break” situation with this draft. The Bucs are starting to find the right talent and are putting them in the right places. They are just missing a few crucial pieces.
One of the biggest issues for the Bucs has been the consistency of their receivers. The Bucs’ receiving corps has slowly become a group of sizable men whose biggest talents lie in the vertical passing game. Their receivers are physical specimen who create match-up problems all over the field.
So what are they missing?
The Bucs are missing that consistent, sure-handed guy who can help them move the chains. The guy that won’t drop the ball when the team calls his number (I’m looking at you Mike Evans). The guy that runs routes with precision.
Deep in this year’s draft there is a guy who can be just that for Tampa Bay and his name is Rashard Higgins.
Higgins, who has had a productive college career at Colorado State, has largely been overlooked in this year’s draft.
Higgins is a very solid route runner, very sure-handed and has experience playing in a pro-style system while under Jim McElwain earlier in his college career.
Jameis Winston and co. could use a player with these qualities in the Bay area, and the Bucs could select Higgins with their picks in the fourth, fifth or sixth round.
Every Quarterback needs that security blanket, and that guy who can give linebackers fits in the middle of the field. Also, having a talent out of the slot, like Higgins, could help to keep the safeties honest and actually benefit a guy like Mike Evans in the vertical passing game. Higgins is a bit on the thinner side, at 6’1, 196 lbs, put an NFL weight program should do the job in preparing him for running with the big boys.
This isn’t meant to be a discredit to the improvements that the Bucs made last season, as they were actually in the top half of the league in terms of third-down conversion success, and their current receiving corps undoubtedly was a reason for this. Drafting Higgins would just simply improve on this, and would give the offense a whole new dimension to explore.
Jameis Winston is on his way to becoming a star in this league and the Bucs are in a great position to add another weapon to their promising roster to help Winston in his rise to stardom.