The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have arguably the best player in the NFL at at least one position: wide receiver Mike Evans, who’s having a stellar third season after a very good first two years in the NFL.
Evans has done so well that he’s getting a lot of press this week. The Ringer’s Danny Kelly wrote an extensive profile of Evans, which is definitely worth a read, and Pro Football Focus has apparently graded him as the best receiver in the NFL this season. All of that is well-deserved, of course.
Evans has the most targets, the third-most receptions, the second-most yards, is tied for the most touchdowns and has by far the most first downs in the league: 62, well ahead of Antonio Brown’s 50.
Oh, and he made what will likely go down as the single best catch of the season.
The only players who are really in competition with him are Antonio Brown and Julio Jones, and Evans has been more productive than them in some respects.
In other words: Evans is having an outstanding year, is arguably the most productive receiver in the league (depending on which stats you focus on), and is certainly one of the five best receivers currently playing. That’s a pretty good look for the Bucs’ third-year player.
All of this is especially exciting because Evans is just 23 years old. Many rookies are older than he is, and yet he’s in the middle of his third season. He should get his first Pro Bowl berth and hopefully his first All-Pro selection as well. And if everything goes according to plan, he’ll have racked up a record number of those before he’s done.
There’s one downside to all of this production: the Bucs are going to have to cough up a lot of money for his second contract. Thankfully, they can pick up his fifth-year option and keep him in town through at least 2018 without paying an absolutely top-of-the market price. For now.