How good is Mike Evans, how bad is Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and how poorly did they do compared to the average NFL receiver and tight end? It’s hard to disentangle their performance from that of Jameis Winston and the rest of the team, and a few bad drops can sour someone’s view on a player really quickly — even if they’re just incidents.
Football Outsiders tries to bring some objectivity to this process with their +/- ratings, essentially trying to determine how much better a player was at just catching the ball than all the other players at his position on his team. When they ran the numbers for the tight ends and receivers this past season, both Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Mike Evans appeared on the list as some of the worst catchers in the league. Seferian-Jenkins ranked 43rd at his position, while Evans ranked 72nd, and both were in the bottom 15 for qualifying players. No Bucs player ranked in any of the top 15s.
That’s pretty bad, but it’s not a surprise: they both had a few too many drops, and that was obvious. One mitigating factor for the Bucs’ top tight end: he was the 12th-best tight end at gaining yards after the catch, significantly better than fan-favorite Cameron Brate, who was the exact worst tight end in the NFL at running with the ball.
Overall, though, last year just wasn’t good enough for either player. Playing receiver or tight end starts with catching the ball, and that’s what they have to improve on this offseason.