A question was posed just a few days ago, asking if Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans was a first ballot Hall of Famer. That led to some number crunching, debating, and conversations regarding the star wideout.
There’s things Mike Evans has done that no other receiver in the history of the game has. We all know about the seven consecutive seasons to begin a career with 1,000 or more receiving yards - something his idol Randy Moss never accomplished. However there is more to this conversation than just that.
In the history of the NFL - or Pro Football - there have been just seven wide receivers inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Raymond Barry, Lance Allworth, Paul Warfield, Steve Largent, Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, and Calvin Johnson. You can assume that Larry Fitzgerald will make number eight, but that’s a thin class. Terrell Owens, Michael Irvin, Marvin Harrison, Art Monk, Isaac Bruce - these guys dominated the game every time the stepped on to a field and weren’t first ballot inductees.
That’s tough sledding for Evans, already.
Take a look at some of the players that are first ballot guys compared to Evans. Calvin Johnson through the first seven full seasons of his limited career had 40 more receptions, 1,062 more yards, and five more touchdowns. Jerry Rice through the same stretch had 806 more yards, 32 more touchdowns and did on six fewer receptions. Evans’ idol Randy Moss? 48 more receptions, 876 more yards, and 29 more touchdowns.
Now, Evans still has plenty of time to go. He just turned 28 this past August and can climb into the top ten in all-time receiving yards by time he’s 33 just by continuing to get 1,000 yards each of those seasons. However, history shows that isn’t likely.
I believe Evans will finish with a Hall of Fame career when all is said and done if we project him to continue on a similar trajectory that he’s on now. But first ballot? I think that might be asking too much from the best offensive player in Buccaneers history.
Check out the conversation I had with Evan Closky of 10 Tampa Bay on this very topic on the latest Locked On Bucs podcast in the player below or by clicking here. While you’re there, subscribe to the channel for more Bucs content.