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Trey Palmer Buccaneers

Trey Palmer Looks Poised To Make Rookie Impact

  • Justin Melo
  • August 16, 2023
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie wide receiver Trey Palmer was among the team’s most impressive performers in their preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Palmer recorded four receptions for 33 receiving yards and a touchdown. He appeared capable of contributing to the Buccaneers’ offense in three-receiver sets. An unfortunate injury may create a pathway for him.

Buccaneers veteran receiver Russell Gage was carted off the field with a serious-looking leg injury during Wednesday’s joint practice with the New York Jets, according to multiple reports. Gage allegedly pounded the turf in distress as members of both teams surrounded him. Gage is now being evaluated for a potentially season-ending injury.

The Buccaneers lack proven receiver depth behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. A potentially lengthy absence for Gage creates a hole in three-receiver sets. Unless Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht turns his attention to the veteran free-agent market, Palmer is the favorite to play alongside Evans and Godwin. And there’s a strong argument to be made for Licht to ignore pursuing veteran options. 

The Buccaneers are very much entering an evaluation season following the retirement of Tom Brady and Palmer has been playing like a receiver worth further evaluating throughout training camp practices and his preseason debut. Palmer’s touchdown grab against the Steelers was a thing of beauty. The former Nebraska standout made a contested leaping catch toward the back left-end corner of the end zone. Palmer showcased terrific awareness to tap his toes in bounds while securing the score.

The No. 191 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft has impressed the Buccaneers’ brass by making similar plays at training camp.  He should now receive every opportunity imaginable to perform his way into a starting role in 11-personnel.

It’s fair to wonder how much involvement the Buccaneers’ No. 3 receiver will have on the offense behind target hogs like Evans and Godwin. After all, the Buccaneers’ offense is expected to be significantly less pass-happy in 2023 while transitioning from Brady to Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask. But Palmer can’t exactly dictate the Buccaneers’ run-pass approach. What he can do is take full advantage of his opportunity in the wake of Gage’s injury.

Palmer is a dynamic talent that first caught the Buccaneers’ attention at the Senior Bowl. Palmer then proved he was one of the most athletic receivers in the 2023 class while performing at the NFL Scouting Combine. Palmer ran the 40-yard dash in a blazing-fast 4.33 seconds, which ranked first among all participating receivers and fourth overall. First-year Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales has been using Palmer as a deep threat in practice.

Palmer has great initial quickness and effective speed to threaten defensive backs vertically. He’s a smooth accelerator, which should open up space and opportunities for the Buccaneers’ new-look passing offense. Palmer’s ball-tracking skills, which were on display against the Steelers, are a standout trait of his.

Barring a transaction, Gage’s injury positions Palmer to be Tampa Bay’s No. 3 receiver. The early returns have indicated the Buccaneers got a steal when they drafted Palmer in the sixth round. He possesses the traits necessary to quickly make an impact on offense.

Written By

Justin Melo