The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a lot of players to get excited about: Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, O.J. Howard, Brent Grimes, Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander, Gerald McCoy, DeSean Jackson—the list is pretty long, and this one’s not exhaustive.
And yet, despite all that excitement, only one Buc is consistently seen as a top 50 NFL player: Mike Evans.
The highlight reel Evans put up in 2016 was one of the best you will ever see from a wide receiver. What made it so impressive wasn’t necessarily the highs of that reel, but the length of it compared to other top receivers, each of whom have their moments over a 16-game season. Evans emerged as a legitimate top target over the season and made spectacular catch after spectacular catch, earning a PFF grade of 93.3 — trailing only Julio Jones — despite ranking fourth in receiving yards and sixth in receptions.
Evans clearly deserves his place on this list, and there’s a solid argument to be made that he’s undervalued in both cases. He’s that good, and he should be getting even better this year.
But the lack of other players is disappointing for the Bucs, and doesn’t bode well for their ambitions this year. The Bucs have a slew of good players, but few great ones—and you need the great ones to really make an impact, especially in the playoffs.
Hopefully a few players will take that next step into greatness this year. Brent Grimes was arguably there last year, at least in terms of impact plays, and Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander and Gerald McCoy certainly have the talent to get there quickly. The Bucs will need it if they’re really going to get where they want to go.