Mayfield Will ‘Love’ Offensive Weapon Bucs Added in Draft

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went heavy on offense in the 2024 NFL draft, leading off with Duke offensive lineman Graham Barton at No. 26 overall in the first round and their last four picks of the draft all on the offensive side of the ball.

One player in particular should be a welcome sight for Tampa Bay quarterback Baker Mayfield — Washington wide receiver Jalen McMillan, who was selected in the third round (No. 92 overall).

“I was surprised Jalen McMillan lasted until the end of Round 3, but the Bucs might have gotten a steal at No. 92. Baker Mayfield will love him,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. wrote about the pick.

McMillan kicked off a run of offensive players for the Buccaneers, followed by Oregon running back Bucky Irving in the fourth round (No. 125), UTEP offensive guard Elijah Klein in the sixth round (No. 220) and McMillan’s teammate and Washington tight end Devin Culp in the seventh round (No. 246).

McMillan Missed Time With Knee Injury in 2023

McMillan was Washington’s leading wide receiver and an All-Pac-12 selection in 2022 with 79 receptions for 1,098 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. He saw his numbers drop to 39 receptions for 526 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2023 after he missed four games with a knee injury.

McMillan ended up being one of three Washington wide receivers drafted in 2024 after Rome Odunze (No. 9 overall, Chicago Bears) and Ja’Lynn Polk (No. 57 overall, New England Patriots).

McMillan could find himself in the rotation for Tampa Bay right off the bat with his ability to play in the slot or on the outside with equal ease.

“McMillan can line up inside or outside but 33 of his 45 receptions came out of the slot in 2023, and he caught six passes out of the backfield,” ESPN’s Jenna Laine wrote. “He’s also a master of the post route. His six touchdown catches on post routes since 2022 are tied for the most in the FBS, while his 253 receiving yards on post route concepts since 2022 are the 10th most in the FBS.”

Buccaneers Have Veterans in Place at Wide Receiver

The Buccaneers have one of the NFL’s elite pass-catching duos with veteran wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, but Godwin is in the final year of his contract and Evans is in his 11th season.

Evans signed a 2-year, $52 million contract in the offseason. Godwin signed a 3-year, $60 million contract before the 2022 season.

That being said, few situations could be better for a young wide receiver than stepping in to play with two veterans who have been both been Pro Bowlers and were both key parts of Tampa Bay’s run to a Super Bowl title in 2020.

Evans set the NFL record with his 10th consecutive 1,000-yard in 2023.

“(McMillan) is a natural receiver,” Bucs assistant general manager John Spytek told Laine. “He plays like the game makes sense to him. His route running is very, very fluid. We talked to several DBs throughout the process. When you asked them, ‘Who’s the hardest cover that you had all year?’ Several of them mentioned him just because he’s such a good athlete and (has) such a good feel for running routes. Like that combination makes him an extremely hard cover.”


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