The first weekend of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp for 2019 is just about in the books, and if you’ve been able to take in any of the drills and plays, you’ve been watching one of the NFL’s Top-100 players in the league in wide receiver Mike Evans. This, according to the players themselves.
Tampa Bay’s star receivers is the tenth player in his position group to be unveiled on the list landing at 53rd overall and coming in ahead of some other good pass catchers like Arizona Cardinals great Larry Fitzgerald (No. 60), Indianapolis Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton (No. 70), and Super Bowl winner Julian Edelman (No. 90).
Evans, Randy Moss and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (No. 58 on the 2019 NFL Top-100) all have one thing in common: 1,000-yard seasons. Five to be exact, each of them hitting that milestone in their first five years as professional receivers.
Moss had six-straight out of the gate with the Minnesota Vikings before missing three games in 2004, causing his seventh campaign to fall shy at 767-yards. Green saw his streak broken in his sixth-season as he fell 36-yards shy of 1,000-yards receiving. Still, this was incredibly impressive considering Green played in just ten games that year (2016).
So, as Evans enters this upcoming season, he’s looking to personally keep pace with Randy Moss, and professionally try his best to help get the Buccaneers into the playoffs.
As far as whether or not his position is too high or too low, my gut reaction is to say it’s too low, but not by much. With other receivers out there like DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans and Antonio Brown of the Oakland Raiders, we can certainly make a case for Evans to be among the Top-5 wide receivers in the league today.
And we would likely assume in a league as pass-focused as it is right now, the Top-5 wide receivers would likely fill in to the Top-50 of the league. But, until we see the rest of the list and which wide receivers other than Brown and Hopkins land ahead of Evans, we’ll have to shelf that debate for a later date.
Evans made his inaugural appearance on the NFL Top-100 list following his rookie season as 2015’s 75th best player.
He was completely left off of the 2016 list despite racking up 1,206-yards, most likely due to his low three-touchdown total in 2015.
Evans then climbed all the way up to 29th in the league ahead of the 2017 season, before again being left off the list in 2018 as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were shut out completely.
Given the by-and-large view of Evans as Tampa Bay’s best player on roster, it’s hard to imagine any other Buccaneers will be listed in the remaining portion of the list. However, he isn’t alone as the injured Jason Pierre-Paul came in at number 65.
Where Mike Evans, or any other Buccaneers for that matter, might be listed on the 2020 NFL Top-100 list is going to be decided in part by what transpires from now until at least the end of December.
How do you feel about Evans coming in at 53? Are there any other wide receivers you expect to get ranked ahead of him who shouldn’t be?