Jeff Tedford's mantra of "speed in space" on offense didn't seem to be the focus when the team drafted Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins with their first two selections in the 2014 NFL draft.
But after waiting until the sixth round, the Bucs turned the pick they got from the Bills for WR Mike Williams into a burner who will fit perfectly into the slot receiver role. Even though Herron took visits to two NFC South rivals, he'll end up lining up on the opposite side of the Saints and Falcons twice a year.
Speed to Burn
Herron is much faster than his 4.48 40-yard dash that he posted at the combine, and it shows up on film. Finishing just behind Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas in the 100 meters back in high school should tell you all you need to know about Herron's ability to fly:
Many fans and analysts were surprised when the Bucs added two receivers who aren't known for their speed with their first two picks, but getting Herron this late in the draft gives them the burner they need amid their growing roster of bigger, more physical targets.
The Perfect Complement
With three towering targets around him in Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Herron will be the perfect fit as the small-but-speedy slot receiver in the Bucs' new offense. Herron should be able to take full advantage of the attention opposing defenses will have to pay to "The Triple Towers."
With three pass-catchers who are 6'5" or taller around him, opposing defenses will have a tough time finding and catching Herron before he hits full speed.
More than One Dimension
Not only is Herron exceptionally fast, what really won scouts over at the Senior Bowl was his combination of technique and route-running ability. Herron showed great hand use at the line of scrimmage, especially for a smaller receiver, and consistently created separation with hard, precise cuts at the top of his routes.
Combine these traits with his top-shelf speed, and the Bucs have a recipe for a dangerous weapon who can both stretch the field and consistently move the chains.
The Bottom Line
Herron has walked a rough road to get to the NFL, but he's in an ideal spot to make the most of his talents. His skill set, combined with the Bucs' new offensive scheme and the players they already have in place around him, should give him every opportunity to reach his lofty ceiling.
Considered by many to be a potential Day-2 prospect, the Bucs got one of the best values of Day 3 by grabbing Herron this late.