Josh McCown was one of the breakout performers of the 2013 season, throwing to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in Chicago. It's no surprise, then, that McCown lobbied the Buccaneers to draft taller targets upon his arrival in Tampa.
"Josh has been in that situation and to say that he has been in our ear quite a bit is an understatement,'' Bucs coach Lovie Smith told the Tampa Tribune. "And having seen that work, that was attractive to us.''
Tampa listened to its new quarterback, who will compete with second-year man Mike Glennon for the starting spot this summer. The Bucs nabbed 6'5, 231-pound wideout Mike Evans in the first round, then took 6'5, 260-pound tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the second.
"I'd be lying if I didn't say there was a comfort zone in that,'' said McCown, who signed a two-year, $10 million free agent contract this offseason.
"It's very similar [to what I had in Chicago], at least on paper. There's still a lot of work to do. We have to get out there and [Evans] has to learn the offense and we have to start building together, but it was good.''
With the Bears, McCown had the luxury of throwing to the towering duo of Marshall (6'4) and Jeffery (6'3). That's one reason he was able to win three of his five starts while filling in for an injured Jay Cutler, passing for 13 touchdowns to just one interception in the process. During those starts, Marshall had at least six receptions and 100 yards in three of them. In Week 13 against the Minnesota Vikings, McCown found Jeffery 12 times for 249 yards and two touchdowns.
Like Jeffery, Evans combines his height with strength and body control, making him a nightmare in the red zone. The two are so similar, in fact, that SB Nation used Jeffery as a pro comparison when scouting Evans before the draft:
Seferian-Jenkins is grown up and ready for the NFL
Austin Seferian-Jenkins spoke with SB Nation about his preparation for the NFL Draft, and the lessons he has learned since his 2013 DUI arrest.
Like Jeffery, Jackson does his best work at the catch point and wins on physicality. Evans and Jeffery have both been knocked for their speed, but both have enough to get separation and make plays in the red zone.
Tampa's selection of Evans and Seferian-Jenkins follows a clear draft trend, which SB Nation's Danny Kelly explained over the weekend:
Well, the Buccaneers are definitely taking the Detroit Lions' tactic of drafting for size and catch radius on offense. ... To dictate matchups against smaller, faster defensive backs, offenses have started going with receivers that can box out and/or go up higher than opposing defenders and simply asking their quarterbacks to throw it where the defense can't get it.
While McCown may have had management's ear on those selections, it's likely the Bucs would have gone that directions anyway. The veteran quarterback will turn 35 this summer and is only under contract for two years, so it's doubtful the organization is willing to shape its decisions too heavily around a short-term option under center.