We have always only been minimally interested in the NFL Network “Top 100” Countdown, as every year it continues to be more of a promotional tool for the network/league and an opportunity to fill air time in the summer.
Allegedly the the Top 20 players were voted on by the players and then the NFL Network used their own personnel and analysts to come up with the other 80. The network then “reveals” 10 names at a time on their countdown on Monday nights.
So, yes, we were paying attention to where the likes of Jameis Winston, Jarvis Landry, NDamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, and Jay Ajayi were being ranked. However, we at F.F.I. are realistic that almost no one cares who finished second, much less third, much less 29th or 80th on this list.
Then again, when we start getting into the best 30 in the league, and then top 20, etc. now more fans begin to care, because now you are essentially talking about the “elite players.” This is especially, when you get to the player’s portion of the vote (the Top 20) and who they believe the very best in the league are.
Which brings up to the current, and by our watching the countdown unfold, there’s only really one player remaining of the three Florida NFL teams we cover who is still left to rank, the Buccaneers Mike Evans.
Evans, who just completed his third season in Tampa Bay, and had a tremendous year. Here’s the evidence of that: in 2016 he had 96 catches (6th in NFL), 1,321 yards (4th), and 12 receiving TDs (7th) which tell you he’s one of the elite wideouts in the NFL.
When you consider that Evans was basically the Bucs only proven downfield option after about the fourth game of the season (injuries, etc), it makes those numbers above even more impressive. While constantly being double and at times, triple teamed by zone defenses, he still put up huge game after game.
And directly related to his performances over his three seasons and his value, we have already written that Evans is slated to get paid. Significantly paid. And soon.
So, that brings us back to “the list.” Evans, was not among the 40 down to 31 reveal on NFL Network Monday night. And if we had to wager anything significant, he likely will last into the final 20, because that list is the from the players votes. But, we’ll see.
We do know this: with the additions to the speedy DeSean Jackson in free agency, and rookie speedster Chris Godwin in the draft and big target tight end O.J. Howard, the outlook for the Buccaneers pass game (and Jameis Winston) is superb. And, it’s scary what kind of numbers Evans might be able to put up coming in 2017 and beyond.