TAMPA – Hall of Fame wide receiver James Lofton was on SiriusXM NFL radio last week talking fantasy football and at one point singing the praises of Buccaneers wideout Mike Evans.
Lofton noted that one of things that makes Evans “great’’ is his ability to make catches even when he’s covered, but it’s not just Lofton who has noticed that Evans possesses this elite trait.
Speaking of Evans for the NFL Network’s countdown of the Top 100 players in the NFL earlier this year, Bills cornerback Charles James noted the same thing about Evans, who came in at No. 29 in the rankings.
James pointed out that a lot of Evans success comes from his ability to use his basketball background to beat defender and win the jump ball battles he often finds himself in.
“There’s a lot of guys (who) know that route’s coming and (Evans) just beats ‘em and takes the ball from them – like (they’re) a little kid,’’ James said during the segment.
“There’s a lot of tall receivers in the NFL. Not all of them are doing this. And he’s fast. You don’t expect a guy that big to be that fast. Mike Evans is legit.’’
No one can deny that. Evans is easily one of the brightest young stars in the game, one who gained some additional notoriety beyond what Lofton had to say about him last week.
In addition to earning a spot in the top 30 of the NFL Network’s list of the Top 100 players in the league, Evans also earned a spot in FanRag Sports list of the NFL’s 25 best players under the age of 25.
Evans came in at No. 6 overall in that poll, and the story is well worth the read, in part because you will learn something at the very beginning of the story about Evans that you might not have known.
Not only that, but you’ll get a peek at what it is Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken believes Evans needs to start doing a better job of in order to max out on his potential. And it’s not catching the ball.
Evans has become a little more adept at that. He still dropped seven balls last year but he did a better job of looking the ball into his hands and securing it. The next step, Monken said, is for Evans to start doing more with it once he’s got it in his hands.
“The next thing with Mike is to get him better with the ball in his hands,’’ Monken said of a receiver who averaged just 1.8 yards after the catch last year, according to SportingCharts.com.
“Last year our goal was, ‘Let’s get you better at catching the ball. Let’s eliminate some of the drops.’ And we did that. Now, (it’s) ‘How do we get to where we can utilize your competitive spirit, your ability to run after the catch.’’’
If Monken can tap deeper into that potential, there’s no telling how good Evans will be. It’s apparent, though, that he has some rare traits, the kind only the “great’’ ones have.