TAMPA — Nothing defines draft value better than a late-round selection who can step in and contribute — or better yet, start right out of the box.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have secured just such a value pick in rookie wide receiver Robert Herron, their sixth-round selection out of Wyoming.
Herron has been working mostly at the slot receiver spot since joining the Bucs and his raw speed is something they may want to take immediate advantage of.
“Robert has done a really good job,’’ Bucs offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford said. “He brings a lot of speed as an inside receiver, so I think the guys we’ve drafted are going to play a major role in what we’re doing.’’
The Bucs are already counting on their top three picks (wide receiver Mike Evans, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and running back Charles Sims) contributing regularly this year.
Their fifth-round picks (guard Kadeem Edwards and tackle Kevin Pamphile) appear to be in line for backup roles, but Herron could immediately give the Bucs a fourth contributor from this year’s draft class.
He’ll likely have to beat out Chris Owuso to do it, but with 4.4-second speed in the 40-yard dash and a 35-inch vertical leap, Herron has the athleticism necessary to win the battle.
All he needs is to learn how to best use that skill.
“You watch him and you definitely see the leaping ability and the speed right away,’’ said Bucs wide receivers coach Andrew Hayes-Stoker. “But he has to learn how to tempo his speed in order to be an asset.
“I mean, he can go. He has juice. Defensive backs should be scared of his juice. He just has to learn how to use it. You know, use some of it and then — boom — at the very end of the route, burst on a guy.
“It’s like having a car with 600 horsepower. You give it to a new driver and sometimes, that’s a lot of power to have. He just has to learn how to control it and how to use it.”