NFL NEWS: Mike Evans
Mike Evans has a rare distinction for a Bucs player, a first-round wide receiver selection by the team. Can he succeed where others have failed?
Evans shares this honor with two other players, Reidel Anthony (16th overall) in 1997 and Michael Clayton (15th overall) in 2004, as the only three first-round wide receivers in franchise history. Anthony and Clayton were considered busts in their stints with the team.
Anthony had 144 receptions in 73 games played for 1,846 yards and 16 touchdowns during his five-year stint with the team and NFL career.
Clayton fizzled after a stellar rookie season with 80 receptions for 1,193 yards and seven TDs. He was released from the team in 2010 before joining the United Football League’s Omaha Nighthawks and wrapping his professional career back in the NFL with the New York Giants. Clayton was released by the team in 2011. Clayton finished his eight-year NFL career with 223 receptions (221 with the Bucs) for 2,955 yards (2,936 with the Bucs) and 10 TDs (all with the Bucs).
Evans now finds himself in a situation where he can succeed where no other Buc first rounder receiver had before him, a solid foundation. Vincent Jackson is firmly in place as the primary receiver and Evans can benefit from his presence much like Alvin Harper did with Michael Irvin during the successful 1991-1994 Dallas Cowboys seasons.
It’s not only Jackson’s presence that helps Evans, but when the Bucs drafted tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins the following round in the 2014 draft, it added another towering presence to the team with his 6-foot-6 frame. Jackson and Evans both stand at 6-foot-5.
The receiving corps also have two solid runners in Doug Martin and Bobby Rainey who can take over games especially given offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford’s use to make his backs receiving threats.