Not many folks will want to draft DeSean Jackson in 2018, but you could do worse with a late-round flier. Jackson disappointed in his first year with the Buccaneers, but his speed nor his opportunities could be questioned. Jackson routinely got open deep and was a frequent target in the passing game (6.5 targets per game). He simply couldn't connect with his quarterbacks enough. Coach Dirk Koetter lamented this and promised that the team will work on concepts to involve Jackson more. It's true that it's hard to trust Jackson as a weekly starter, but you don't have to do that if you get him with a low-risk pick in the double-digit rounds. If the Buccaneers throw as much as we expect them to, he'll improve from last season.
Jackson secured two of three targets for 73 yards in the Buccaneers' 30-14 preseason win over the Titans on Saturday. Jackson's 54-yard connection with Jameis Winston in the second quarter was one of the highlights of the night and served as what the Bucs hope is a preview of a more prolific deep passing attack this coming season. Jackson averaged a career-low 13.4 yards per catch and 7.3 yards per target in 2017, but his work in both training camp and the first two preseason games (three receptions, 91 yards) suggests the team will emphasize a more consistent downfield approach with the veteran speedster in the upcoming campaign. Jackson is likely poised for even more extended playing time than the 22 snaps he logged Saturday when Tampa takes on the Vikings on Friday.
Jackson secured his only target for 18 yards in the Buccaneers' 26-24 preseason win over the Dolphins on Thursday. Jackson jumpstarted the offense by making his one grab on the team's first play from scrimmage. While he didn't see another target from Ryan Fitzpatrick during their two series on the field, Jackson has often displayed impressive chemistry with the veteran quarterback in camp. The veteran speedster has also been logging some reps at punt returner in practice and is even listed as second at the position on the initial version of the depth chart, but he didn't see any time in that capacity Thursday. Jackson will look to continue sharpening his game for the regular season when the Bucs face the Titans in their second exhibition game a week from Saturday.
Jackson received reps as the second-string punt returner behind Adam Humphries during Thursday's practice, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports. Jackson enjoyed success as a punt returner early in his career with the Eagles, but he hasn't served in that capacity since the 2015 season in Washington. While the Bucs will likely be wary of exposing as important an offensive piece as Jackson too much in the return game, a few chances against short fields certainly wouldn't be out of the question. Jackson has enjoyed a strong start to camp as a pass catcher as well, displaying good chemistry with both Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick on a diverse array of routes in early practices.
Jackson has impressed through the first several training camp practices by making catches all over the field, Carmen Vitali of the team's official site reports. Jackson has primarily made his NFL bones streaking past defenders, but he's been much more than a one-trick pony in the early stages of camp. The veteran has generated a high catch rate over the first three practices overall, including on short- and medium-range throws. That was particularly on display Saturday, when Ryan Fitzpatrick connected with Jackson on several slants. Naturally, Jackson has run his share of deep routes as well, with Vitali reporting that he hauled in a pretty 60-yard bomb from Fitzpatrick in Friday's session, and Jenna Laine of ESPN.com noting that Jackson connected with Jameis Winston for a long touchdown down the sideline Sunday.
Jackson is slated to catch passes from backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick for the first three games of the 2018 regular season in the wake of Jameis Winston's expected suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. Jackson actually displayed solid rapport with Fitzpatrick over the four-plus games in which the latter saw action last season. The 31-year-old pass catcher hauled in two of his three touchdowns on the season from the veteran backup and posted 19 grabs on 30 targets overall during the four contests that Fitzpatrick saw extended action in (Week 6) or started (Weeks 10-12). Jackson is looking to improve on a lackluster first season in Tampa, during which he posted career lows in YPC (13.4), YPT (7.3) and receiving yards per game (47.7), and as such, has been making appearances in OTAs this offseason in an effort to improve his chemistry with Winston. However, barring a last-minute development, it appears Jackson will have to wait until at least Week 4 of the regular season before he can start to see that work pay dividends.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/09||@New Orleans Saints||20||20.00|
|11||11/18||@New York Giants||25||20.75|
|12||11/25||San Francisco 49ers||23||20.38|
|14||12/09||New Orleans Saints||20||20.00|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||80||45||734||4||29||16.31||98|