There’s no question that Mike Evans is the #1 receiver on the Buccaneers depth chart, and for good reason. The Texas A&M product made quite the splash in his rookie year, starting in 15 games and registering 68 catches for 1051 yards. To go along with this, Evans had 12 touchdowns for 2014, which wasn’t bad on a 2-14 team. However, his sophomore campaign was a bit abysmal in the scoring column, totaling only three TD’s on the year. While he did have more receptions (74) and yards (1206) than his rookie year, there’s no telling how much more his stats would’ve been if it weren’t for all his dropped passes (11, the NFL leader).
Looking at last year’s statistics, it got me to thinking if Evans will shake off the dust of 2015. Considering the positives that you might’ve read or heard coming out of OTA’s and training camp, he has been working on his pass-catching and ball-handling ability. And while the history of Tampa Bay Buccaneers receivers isn’t as rich as their defensive players, Evans wouldn’t be the first wideout to show improvements in his third year with the club. Back in 1989, Mark Carrier had a huge stat increase in his third year, raking in 86 receptions for 1422 yards and nine scores. This was more than the stats of his first two years combined in receptions (83), yardage (1393), and touchdowns (8).
I know that Mark Carrier was only one example, but in that third year his quarterback was a young Vinny Testaverde. With Mike Evans, you have a young and more talented leader in Jameis Winston behind center, who does have a lot of years to blossom along with Evans. Yes, Mike Evans is the top target, yet you have to factor a healthy Vincent Jackson into this as well. The more options that Winston has to throw to, it frees up Evans a little more to inflict damage on opposing defenses. I’ll admit that I was rough in my game day tweets on Evans, mainly because of mental mistakes like the drops. But the guy is still young, and with a talented supporting cast around him, I definitely see Mike Evans flourishing for years to come.
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