NFL Draft Grades: Evaluating Mike Evans to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Scott Halleran

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers needed a receiver after trading away Mike Williams, and they wasted no time in getting their guy in Mike Evans.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers filled their biggest need on offense with the seventh pick of the NFL Draft, adding Mike Evans of Texas A&M with time to spare on the clock.

The monster receiver who caught passes from Johnny Manziel in college now heads to Tampa, where he'll match up with the NFL player he's most similar to (Vincent Jackson) to provide Josh McCown with a duo of tall, strong weapons at receiver.

So how does the pick grade out? Let's consider all of the aspects of the selection.

Talent: B

Mike Evans is not a "special" receiver, but he is quite capable. He projects to be a lot like Vincent Jackson, who is a criminally underrated offensive weapon for the Buccaneers. Evans could separate from defensive backs better, and he needs to prove he can run every NFL route, but he's got reliable hands that are very strong at the point of attack, and he knows how to use his size to his advantage.

Value: C

Mike Evans wasn't really considered a top-10 pick until about a month ago. Strangely enough, that's right around the time when the Buccaneers traded away Mike Williams.

Evans fills a need in Tampa, but he's not that much better than Jordan Matthews, Odell Beckham Jr., or Davante Adams, who will all go later in the first round or early in the second. So while Evans is not a bad player, he's not the sort of special athlete you'd like to get at the top of the draft.

Fit: A+

Josh McCown thrived last season with two big, strong receivers. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery helped limit the damage of McCown's occasional inaccuracy by hauling in passes with their wide catching radii. In Tampa, in Jeff Tedford's offense, McCown will get to do the same with a new duo of big, strong receivers.

Many fans have clamored for the need to pick a "fast receiver," but they ignore a player like Evans, who was only a tenth of a second removed from the elite speedsters at the position at the combine. Evans is capable after the catch both using his size and his speed, and he will breakaway for big plays as a Buccaneer.

The Bucs still have time to add a speedy slot receiver, but for now, they've ensured that for the foreseeable future, they have a big, reliable possession receiver who can move the chains and cause matchup nightmares.

Overall: B-

The value wasn't great, and the pick seems a bit boring, but Evans was a wise and reasonable choice for Jason Licht and his team. The Buccaneers needed a receiver, and they addressed that need with a player who is arguably the best at his position in this draft.

I would have rather seen a trade down to select a lesser receiver and build up more draft choices, but I still feel like the Buccaneers did "better than average" in adding a force at receiver to help turn around the worst offense in the NFL.

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