(Editor's Note: With the offseason in full swing, the focus is now shifting to the 2016 season, where the Cowboys have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. Not only do the Cowboys face five playoff teams but many of the top players in football. So the writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys. Today, we continue the list with Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans.)
Team:Tampa Bay Buccaneers
College: Texas A&M
2016 vs. Cowboys:
Evans was fantastic against the Dallas defense in his first meeting against the Cowboys last year. He'll get his chance to repeat that performance at the tail end of 2016, as the Bucs come to AT&T Stadium in Week 15 on Dec. 18. It will be Tampa Bay's second trip to AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys won the first meeting at the new stadium, 16-10.
What's the Deal:
If not for the heroics of Odell Beckham Jr., Evans might be getting lauded as the best talent to come out of the loaded receiver class from the 2014 NFL Draft. In two seasons, he has tallied 142 total catches for 2,257 yards and 15 touchdowns. Evans' size makes him a natural red zone threat, but he did see a drop off in his scoring proficiency in Year 2. After totaling 12 touchdown grabs as a rookie, that number dropped to just three last year. The former Aggie also displayed a problem with drops, as he dropped 11 passes – or roughly 8 percent of his catch total.
The Buccaneers just gave a lot of money to running back Doug Martin, but there's no question that this is Jameis Winston's team – and that they'll only go as far as he can. 33-year-old Vincent Jackson is still around, but it's clear that Evans will be one of the main focal points of this offense for the foreseeable future. Expect the Bucs to find ways to get Evans involved as often as possible, and expect Winston to have an eye out for his big-bodied receiver – he targeted Evans 10 or more times on six different occasions last year. Assuming he's healthy, Evans seems like a lock to rack up another gaudy statistical season – hopefully with fewer drops.
You wouldn't know it based on the score, but Evans put together one of the best days of his season against the Cowboys last year. He was one of just a few receivers to get the better of Morris Claiborne, as he made eight catches on 13 targets for 126 yards on the day – and Claiborne eventually left the game with a tweaked hamstring. Despite that flashy stat line, though, the Buccaneers managed just 10 points in a sluggish game that finished with a final of just 10-6.
Bryan Broaddus Scouting Report:
- Super competitive player that will surprise you with how inconsistent he is doing his job. With that being said – you still have to account for his big-play ability. He was not a receiver in college that had a huge route tree to work with, and he is developing in that area.
- His best routes are the ones when he goes inside for the ball. He can make great snatch catches over the middle, then the very next play drop one that is right between the numbers on his jersey. He must drive the coaches nuts with the way he plays, but once again he is the best they've got.
- Long and lean as a player. Emotional in the way he plays, good or bad. You can always tell what he is thinking by his reactions on the field.
- Long strider without much initial quickness or burst. Can gain separation while he is going up the field. If he gets bumped in route – he can be slowed down.
- This is a home run hitter when the ball is there for him. He can really track the ball down the field. Has no blind spots. Rare body control and leaping ability. Courage to catch the ball in a crowd. Big-time threat in the red zone due to this height.
- He will go get the ball, and he is physical with run after catch – not afraid to try and run over the tackler. He will extend to catch the ball, but his hands are not always consistent for someone that makes the types of plays he does.
- Evans' catching radius is large. It is crazy how hit and miss he can play, but you do have to account for him each snap. Has the size and physical style of play to create mismatches with corners and linebackers. Does a good job of adjusting his route if there are protection breakdowns and finds the open area.
The writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys.