Ogletree adds needed competition to Bucs' receiving unit
You’re undoubtedly aware the Bucs have not yet addressed their lack of cornerback depth during this free agency period, although the signing of safety Dashon Goldson vastly improves the secondary. But stop obsessing over the pass defense for just a brief moment.
There was actually a notable signing on the offensive side that we’ve failed to adequately address.
When the Bucs signed Cowboys free agent receiver Kevin Ogletree last week, the transaction went mostly under the radar, coming in the midst of the Darrelle Revis speculation and on the heels of the Goldson signing.
But it was an important move nonetheless. The Bucs are fond of saying they want competition at every position. Sometimes they’ve actually taken steps to ensure that. At other times, that’s been less true. But this move clearly is a case of putting actions behind words.
Can Olgetree earn the No. 3 receiver spot behind Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams? We’ll see. He’ll battle with Tiquan Underwood during the offseason and in training camp. But the mere fact that there will be a position battle is progress.
Underwood became the No. 3/slot receiver last season because he made plays and earned the job. But to an extent, it became his job by default. Arrelious Benn’s inconsistency and inability stay healthy undermined him, Preston Parker fizzled out and Sammie Stroughter got hurt (again).
Underwood had been released at final cuts, a bit of a curious move by the staff, but was re-signed a few weeks later as the lack of depth at receiver reached a critical point.
Ogletree has just 57 career receptions, but he’s a veteran and began to emerge last season before tailing off late. He initially was the Cowboys’ No. 3 receiver, starting strong with eight receptions for 114 yards in Dallas’ season-opening win over the Giants.
Underwood also is coming off his best season (28 catches, 425 yards), creating a situation where he and Ogletree will fight it out on the field. And that’s healthy. The Bucs have had far too few preseason position battles in recent years. They need more of that.
And, now, they have it at receiver.