TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t the only NFL team that seems to think bigger is better at the wide receiver position.
The trend toward taller more physically imposing wideouts is starting to catch on across the league, and the Bucs rivals in the NFC South are also riding the wave.
Atlanta, Carolina and New Orleans added at least one wide receiver who is 6-foot-4 or taller during the offseason through free agency or the draft.
Those additions are creating a greater need for taller, more physical cornerbacks, which is why Bucs coach Lovie Smith said he’s glad he inherited 6-2, 185-pound cornerback Johnthan Banks.
“We are not the only wide receiving group in the division that’s gotten taller,’’ Smith said. “Others have done the same thing, so we’re going to need a couple of corners 6-plus (feet tall), and that’s Johnthan.’’
Banks was a second-round draft pick, the Bucs’ first selection overall, in the 2013 draft. He came to Tampa with a reputation for making great use of his height and long arms, and he’s enhanced that reputation since Smith was hired in January.
Though he’s having to make the transition from playing in a press man scheme to Smith’s preferred Tampa 2, Banks is fast proving to be just what the Bucs need at cornerback.
“Banks is a great fit for our scheme,’’ Smith said during a break in offseason workouts at One Buc Place this week. “I like what he did last year as a young player, and he’s a coachable guy who has talent. I’m excited about coaching him.”