Mike Evans has had a weirdly up-and-down year. On the one hand, he's put up some outstanding numbers: 66 catches for 1,046 yards and three touchdowns in just 13 games. He's 12th in the NFL in receiving yards, and looks both more explosive and more consistent than last year with five 100+ yard games compared to just three last year.
On the other hand, Evans leads the league in drops by most reckonings and struggled to catch the ball for far too many games -- though that problem has mostly disappeared over the past month. That's soured a lot of Bucs fans on the star receiver, and I've even heard some ludicrous Michael Clayton comparisons -- though that'll undoubtedly change as long as he just keeps on putting up catches and yards.
With his second 1,000-yard receiving season, Evans joins a group of just eight players to have ever done that in their first two seasons in the league. The group includes Odell Beckham Jr., A.J. Green, Marques Coltston, Randy Moss, John Jefferson, Bob Hayes and Bill Groman, going all the way back to 1960-61.
It's easy to forget that Evans is still incredibly young: he's 22, one of the youngest receivers in the NFL and younger than many rookies. And with his second 1,000-yard season, he's done something only Randy Moss has ever done: have two 1,000-yard receiving seasons before age 23. That stat courtesy of the inimitable Scott Smith over at Buccaneers.com.
Obviously, Evans is not Randy Moss, who was an absolutely unique talent. He also put up over 1,300 yards in both of his first two seasons. so Evans isn't quite at that level. But certainly the Bucs receiver has shown himself to be a very good if not quite polished NFL receiver -- and that's a great target for a young quarterback to have.