Why Drafting Mike Evans Makes Sense for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bob FoxContributor IApril 8, 2014

Florida's Marcus Roberson (5) breaks up a pass for Texas A&M's Mike Evans, right, during then first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, in College Station, Texas. Texas A&M begins a new era with its first Southeastern Conference game after leaving the Big 12 Conference. (AP Photo/Dave Einsel)
Dave Einsel

Josh McCown only started five games for the Chicago Bears in 2013, but his excellent production allowed the free-agent quarterback to get a two-year, $10 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March.

For the season, the 34-year-old McCown threw for 1,829 yards, 13 touchdown passes and just one interception. That all adds up to a quarterback rating of 109.0.

McCown's performance was so good that many wondered if he should have remained the starter when Jay Cutler was ready to return to action.

But why was McCown so good in 2013 compared to the rest of his career in the NFL?

I mean, McCown had started 33 games in his career before last season and had been mediocre at best, as he had thrown 37 touchdown passes to 44 picks.

So what clicked for McCown last season? For one thing, it was the size of his starting wide receivers in Chicago.

Brandon Marshall is 6'4" and weighs 229 pounds. Alshon Jeffery is 6'4", 230 pounds.

Both had great seasons in 2013, as the two combined for 189 catches, 2,716 yards and 19 touchdowns.

McCown threw passes to Marshall and Jeffery on several occasions which allowed them to use their size and athleticism to gain an advantage against smaller defensive backs.

Now that he is in Tampa Bay, McCown already has a tall wide receiver in Vincent Jackson, who stands at 6'5", 241 pounds. Jackson is also coming off a couple of productive seasons with the Bucs, as he has posted 150 receptions for 2,618 yards and 15 touchdowns in those two years.

Jackson has made a number of catches in his two years with the Bucs where he has outfought the defender for the ball.

Based on his success last season with the big Bears wide receivers, it's pretty apparent that McCown will attempt to do the same thing with the Bucs.

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 04:  Josh McCown #12 of the Chicago Bears passes against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on November 4, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Bears defeated the Packers 27-20.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

However, he had two big options at wide receiver in Chicago. In Tampa Bay right now, McCown only has one big option.

That could all change at the 2014 NFL draft, where the Bucs have the seventh pick in the first round. The odds are pretty strong that wide receiver Sammy Watkins will be off the board by the time the Bucs will make their selection.

Watkins is considered the best receiver in the draft by CBSSports.com. Depending on how the board looks when the Bucs do get their chance to pick, it would not be surprising if Tampa Bay were to select the next-best receiver in the draft: Mike Evans from Texas A&M.

Evans is also a big receiver. He goes 6'5", 231 pounds. Evans was quarterback Johnny Manziel's biggest weapon at Texas A&M, as he had 151 receptions for 2,499 yards and 17 touchdowns in the last two seasons.

Evans showed off his athleticism at the NFL Scouting Combine. His basketball background allows his to leap over defenders when making a catch, as he often did in his college career.

If McCown had both Jackson and Evans at wide receiver in 2014, he would actually have two players who are slightly taller than the two wide receivers he had in Chicago last season.

No matter what happens in Round 1 of the draft with the Bucs, I still expect the team to select a quarterback fairly early in the draft. Perhaps it could be Jimmy Garoppolo from Eastern Illinois in the second round.

But with the recent trade of Mike Williams to the Buffalo Bills, drafting a wide receiver has become a big priority in the draft for the Bucs.

I'm sure McCown wouldn't complain a bit if the Bucs selected a large target like Evans in the first round.