TAMPA – It’s dangerous to get too excited about what you see of a football team in OTAs. After all, as Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter said this week, OTAs are the NFL’s version of “touch football.’’
Also referred to in some circles as “underwear football’’ because the players work out in shorts and shirts (no pads), it’s a brand of the game that caters largely to the athletic skills of the position players.
That said, there are always a few players who manage to stand out above the rest and one of the real standouts for the Bucs at OTAs this week was rookie wide receiver Chris Godwin.
Godwin, a third-round draft pick out of Penn State, was lauded by Koetter for his work on the first day of workouts and once again after the first week of workouts wrapped on Thursday.
“Chris is off to a fast start,’’ Koetter said. “Like I said the other day, Chris and (tight end) O.J. (Howard) are both doing fine. O.J. has showed up probably a little more as a blocker than a receiver the first couple days, but Chris, he’s had a couple small mental blips – but the physical stuff is there for sure.’’
Oh, it was there all right. All you have to do is look at this video posted by the Buccaneers on their twitter feed of Godwin going up to get a Jameis Winston pass to know that.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) May 26, 2017
This is proof that what most scouts said about Godwin is true, that he has a very good catch radius and an innate ability to adjust his body to make almost any catch anywhere on the field.
In addition to those traits, scouts said, Godwin has the leaping ability to go up and get an overthrown ball and the hands to snare that ball out of the sky, and that’s all evident in this video, too.
There is little doubt that Godwin proved to be one of the real stars of this first week of OTAs for the Bucs, but remember, it’s “touch’’ or “underwear’’ football that the Bucs are playing right now.
There was a Bucs player a few years back who made a similar impression during non-padded workouts and instantly became a fan favorite because of it but never played at the same level when the pads went on.
Surely you remember Kenny Bell. Now, there’s every reason to believe that Godwin will be a much better player than Bell. He’s a far more accomplished receiver and his skill set is greater.
But we throw Bell’s name out there just as a reminder of how dangerous it is to get too excited about what you might see in a few plays from any player at this time of year. Sometimes those looks can be deceiving.