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Tampa Bay Buccaneers could trade up to get Sammy Watkins

Eight months ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave receiver Mike Williams a huge six-year, $40.5 million contract. On Friday, they traded him to the Buffalo Bills for just a sixth-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.

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Such is life in the NFL nowadays, especially with such a deep and talented draft coming up in May.

The move means the Buccaneers don't have a ton of quality players at the receiver position heading into the season. With free agency dying down, the club will undoubtedly be looking to grab a few pass catchers the draft.

So holding the seventh overall pick, Tampa Bay can't pass on a talent like Texas A&M's Mike Evans, can they?

"No, they can't afford to pass on him," NFL Media analyst Charles Davis said on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft". "If he's still there at No. 7, you have to go out and get him. You have to have somebody to help kickstart the passing game."

The 6-foot-5, 231-pounder is widely considered the second best receiver available behind Clemson's Sammy Watkins. Evans was known for his big-play ability for the Aggies, and the outstanding size he brings to the position should translate well in the NFL. Speed is the one knock on him, but he ran a solid 4.53 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Taking Evans would allow first-year Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith to trot out two big, physical receivers like he did in Chicago. Evans is frequently mentioned in the same light as current Buccaneers wideout Vincent Jackson, and while most coaches would prefer pair a taller receiver with a speed guy, the combination of the two could be dangerous to opposing defenses.

"I love the idea of having two big, physical receivers in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson," fellow analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. "We've seen it work in Chicago with Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall. [Josh] McCown had some success throwing to those big receivers in Chicago -- now he's in Tampa."

Just because there's a reasonable chance Evans will be there when the team picks at seven doesn't mean they shouldn't make a bold move. Both Davis and Jeremiah believe the Bucs could like Watkins enough to pick up the phone and call the Rams to discuss a trade for the second overall pick.

"They need a receiver to pair with Jackson and they can get the best receiver in this draft in the explosive Sammy Watkins," said Jeremiah. "He can also help in the return game, a very dynamic player."

Watkins grew up in nearby Fort Myers and would undoubtedly elicit a round of applause from Buccaneers fans at Radio City Music Hall. The speedster has, in his words, some "freakish talents" and would be a multifaceted threat for the team. Considering how their division rivals are retooling their secondaries, Tampa Bay would be wise to make a move for Jeremiah's highest-rated offensive player in the draft.

Based on Friday's trade of Williams, it's clear more than one NFL.com mock draft might have to be updated so that Tampa Bay winds up with one of the two top receivers.

Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.

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