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How will Antonio Brown re-signing impact the Bucs' draft?

The Buccaneers agreed to a one-year deal with wide receiver Antonio Brown on Wednesday morning, just before the start of the NFL Draft on Thursday.
Credit: AP Photo/Gerry Broome
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) runs a route against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, in Charlotte , N.C.

TAMPA, Fla. — The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The Buccaneers agreed to a one-year deal with wide receiver Antonio Brown on Wednesday morning, just before the start of the NFL Draft on Thursday. Something that’s been discussed numerous times is the chance that Jason Licht opts to go with a young receiver prospect − like Kadarius Toney − if Brown didn’t return.

This move helps clear up a murky picture as to what Tampa Bay can do in round one Thursday night as well as the following rounds Friday and Saturday. You can be almost certain that a wide receiver won’t be on their board at all, let alone in round one.

The Buccaneers still have Scottie Miller and forgotten men Tyler Johnson and Justin Watson on the roster. With Johnson seeing limited snaps throughout the season but being called upon at crucial moments against the Saints and Packers in the postseason, it’s safe to say there is plenty of untapped potential there that the Bucs can still utilize. Drafting a wide receiver at any point, even with Brown and Chris Godwin being on one-year deals, just wouldn’t be the best utilization of assets for the franchise.

What this does is further opens the door to focus on the trenches and those high-value positions. The Bucs could go for offensive line depth at pick 32, but things are tilting heavily in the direction of getting depth at pass rusher. Washington’s Joe Tryon has received a lot of buzz relating to the Bucs in recent days and his fit in Todd Bowles’ defense makes a lot of sense. He won’t start right away but can begin learning a complicated defense and be used situationally throughout the year.

It’s incredible what Jason Licht has done in bringing all these players back. Tampa Bay has an embarrassment of riches at this point. However, for those of you hoping for a big-time playmaker at receiver to replace Antonio Brown, it doesn’t appear you’re going to get your wish in the 2021 NFL Draft.

For more on this story and all things Tampa Bay Buccaneers, check out the Locked On Bucs Podcast.