TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – He may not be a household name, yet. But inside the Buccaneers’ locker room, it’s no secret that rookie wide receiver Trey Palmer’s a special talent.
“Who else should we be aware of that’s caught your eye at the wide receiver spot?” a reporter asked Bucs’ Offensive Coordinator Dave Canales.
“Oh, Trey Palmer for sure,” Canales responded off the top.
Canales put everyone on notice less than a week into training camp, and Palmer proved him right in their first preseason game.
“I do it at practice every day so [when it] came to the game, it came natural and I just did what I did,” Palmer said of his performance against the Steelers.
In that game, he caught the first Bucs’ touchdown in the second quarter, marking his first in the NFL. Palmer was targeted four times and caught all four passes for 33 total yards.
“The biggest thing was that he flashed in the game,” Bucs Head Coach Todd Bowles said. “You can flash in practice because it’s kind of, you can’t touch most of the guys and they’re running free most of the time. But he flashed in the game and he flashed more not just offense but special teams as well, so that gave me a lot of confidence and I’ll look at him more and he’s a guy that’s very noticeable right now.”
Palmer’s been noticeable to the Bucs for some time, especially after his NFL Combine performance. Palmer, a multi-state champion track star in high school, ran a 4.33—the fastest 40-yard-dash time of all the receivers and fourth overall. Even with that speed though, he was passed-over in the draft the first two days. Much to the Bucs’ delight, he was still on the board in the sixth round.
“It’s hard because there’s a lot of guys that go undrafted or get drafted late that are very good football players,” Bowles said when he was asked if he was surprised Palmer was still on the board in the sixth round. “You’d be surprised how many don’t get drafted that can play and how many get drafted in the fifth, sixth, seventh round that really play ball very well. I’m not surprised. 4.3 [40-yard dash time] is like the norm these days — so it seems anyway. He got overlooked and I’m glad we got him.”
“I was just waiting on my name to be called, wherever I go,” Palmer said. “Only thing I do is just need a chance. When I get my chance I’m going to take the best that I can do with it.”
Palmer took his best from two football state championships at Kentwood High School in Louisiana, to LSU, where he won a National Championship and played for three seasons, to Nebraska for his final collegiate season, to the Senior Bowl, and now to the NFL, where he says he’s picking things up quickly — with some extra help from his new teammates.
“I’m just a quick adjuster,” Palmer said. “I learn the playbook very easily, and having the veterans like Chris [Godwin], Mike [Evans] and Russ [Gage] in the room — they’re just teaching me the game and I’m just learning it. Then just keep going and perfecting my craft.”
Palmer’s said several times that his approach is simple: ‘see ball, get ball.’ It’s worked-out so far, and he’s set to put that up against the Jets in the Bucs’ second preseason game Saturday night.
“It’s just really the same thing, same process: practice, practice, practice makes perfect,” Palmer said. “That’s what I do. I don’t even look at the game. I take it one day at a time.”
He doesn’t look at who he’s matched-up against either.
“It’s just no name, no face to me,” Palmer said. “I just go out there and compete. That’s how I was always taught and that’s how I’m gonna do.”