Not only are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers putting together a decent receiving corps, they've got one heck of a backcourt for some pickup basketball games.
The Bucs drafted the Texas A&M wideout No. 7 overall on Thursday night to fill the void left by Mike Williams after his trade to the Buffalo Bills. The team tweeted out a handy infographic about the former Aggies star:
Evans' arrival gives Tampa two wide receivers who measure in at 6'5", between him and Vincent Jackson. Wideouts that tall don't grow on trees. According to ESPN Stats & Info, only four recorded 10-plus receptions in 2013:
With Mike Evans, the Bucs will have 2 6’5 WRs (Vincent Jackson); only 4 6'5 WRs had 10+ rec last season #TBpick— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 9, 2014
"He was our guy," Bucs general manager Jason Licht said, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. "What stood out? It was what stood up on him. It's an old Houston (Rockets) reference, we've got the Twin Towers now. He's a big guy who can run. Very physical, very tough and has phenomenal hands. Not just good hands, phenomenal hands."
Putting Jackson and Evans together next season gives the Buccaneers a great 1-2 combo in the passing game. While the former A&M receiver is still a bit raw, he showed a lot of progress during workouts with Hall of Famer James Lofton, per ESPN's Chris Mortensen:
Mike Evans #TBPick worked with HOF WR James Lofton pre-combine. Lofton raved about Evans' work ethic, physical ability and coachabiity— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) May 9, 2014
Some wondered whether Evans had the speed to be a real home run threat, but his 4.53 40 at the combine put any of those doubts to rest. His combination of size and explosiveness will make him a handful for opposing defensive backs.
Early on, Evans may struggle a bit, though. He's not a great route-runner and will take matters into his own hands when it comes to improvising. He's also sometimes a bit too reliant on simply being bigger than the other guy. He won't be able to get away with the same kind of stuff in the NFL that he did in college.
That's not to say that Evans will have a terrible rookie season. The presence of Jackson will definitely help to take some of the pressure off, and the newly acquired Josh McCown brings veteran leadership to the quarterback position.
Both Eric Karabell and Matthew Berry of ESPN.com feel that Evans will help lift McCown in 2014:
Evans to Bucs. With Vincent Jackson. People will be skeptical about Josh McCown but wow. Interesting fantasy backup. #TBpick— Eric Karabell (@karabellespn) May 9, 2014
Evans is a stud. Makes McCOwn a viable QB2 for 2QB lgs. Have Evans as a top 40WR now. Helps Martin too. Like pick by TB.— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) May 9, 2014
You do wonder, though, how much McCown will succeed outside of Marc Trestman's tutelage in Chicago. The Bears head coach has a way with quarterbacks, and he played to all of McCown's strengths last season.
Now that the 34-year-old is in Tampa, he won't be afforded the same luxuries. While McCown shouldn't suffer a precipitous drop in production, don't expect him to repeat his 66.5 completion percentage and 13-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Doug Martin also promises to get plenty of touches in the Buccaneers offense. He was hurt for most of last season, but now he'll be back, healthy and ready to feature in both the running and passing games once again.
Then you have to consider how much attention Jackson will demand. He's still the unquestioned No. 1 wideout in Tampa, and as such, will be receiving the majority of the targets.
Evans will get plenty of looks, but breaking 1,000 yards will be difficult in his debut season. Given his ability inside the red zone, he should grab his fair share of touchdowns, though.
All in all, Evans won't put together a monster year, but Bucs fans will be more than encouraged by what they see.
Final Prediction: 55 receptions, 775 yards, 5 TD