TAMPA – By the time the 2017 Pro Bowl actually kicks off at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium on Jan. 29, as many as six Buccaneers may be suiting for the NFL’s All-Star game.
Wide receiver Mike Evans and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy were voted into the game by fans and players and four teammates could eventually join them as alternates.
Linebacker Kwon Alexander, punter Bryan Anger, linebacker Lavonte David and cornerback Brent Grimes are the Buccaneers who have a chance to play in the game as fill-ins.
This marks the first time that Evans has been selected to the game and it comes as no surprise as the third-year pro has clearly established himself as one of the league’s top receivers.
The Bucs first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft (seventh overall), Evans has so far caught 84 passes for 1,159 yards and 10 touchdowns this season and currently ranks among the top five pass catchers in the league in all three categories.
“I am honored and grateful to be selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time – it’s a dream come true,” Evans said. “My teammates and I have worked very hard and it is truly humbling to be recognized by my peers and the fans for the results that came from that dedication. I would like to express my appreciation for my coaches, my teammates, everyone in the Buccaneers organization, and our fans, that share in this achievement.”
The third overall pick in the 2010 Draft, McCoy leads the Buccaneers in sacks this season, with 7.0, and is tied for second in sacks by defensive tackles. This will be his fifth trip to the Pro Bowl, but McCoy says he never tires of the honor.
“This is an honor that can never get old or be taken for granted,’’ McCoy said. “I have to commend and thank all of my teammates for all their hard work and dedication to this team and this game. Without them none of this would be possible.
“I would also like to thank the fans for all their support all season long especially when keeping Raymond James Stadium rocking. We’re nothing without you guys and are going to need your support as we continue on this playoff push. Once again, this is such an honor and it is only because of God that this has been possible. Go Bucs!”
A second-year pro out of LSU, Alexander ranks fourth in the NFL in tackles with 125 and leads the league in solo tackles with 97. He is one of only three players this season with more than 100 tackles, more than three sacks and more than interception. Zach Brown and Landon Collins are the others.
Anger is in his first season with the Bucs and ranks fifth in the NFL in punts inside the 20 with 29 and is tied for the fifth-best net punting average (42.0) in the league. Behind Anger, the Bucs have produced the fourth-best punt coverage unit in the NFL, one allowing just 5.6 yards per return,
David, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl last season, leads the Buccaneers in tackles for loss with 13, which is tied for the eighth-most in the NFL this season. David is also leading the team in forced fumbles, with four, which is tied for the sixth-most in the league this year.
Grimes joined the Bucs this past offseason after spending three seasons with the Dolphins and would play in his fifth Pro Bowl should he be needed. He currently leads the team in interceptions with three and passes defensed with 19, which is tied for the league lead.