As Buccaneers QB Josh McCown said, WR Mike Evans has to learn the playbook before he’ll be truly effective. And he’s been bothered by a hamstring injury, which has limited his time in OTAs. But watch him go up and effortlessly pluck the ball with a one-handed grab in OTAs and the comparisons to Alshon Jeffery become even more apparent.
“Oh yeah, he’s missed a lot [of offseason work], there’s no other way to sugarcoat it,” HC Lovie Smith recently said. “We wanted Mike taking every rep — as a rookie you need to take every rep. Around the league, it happens, especially with a lot of new guys that those last couple of weeks they’re doing a lot of traveling, don’t work out exactly how they should, but we saw enough and we know who Mike is. He’s going to help us win a lot of games, [and] he’s gotten better. We need him, we can’t let him re-injure that hamstring, so we’ll be cautious with him.”
The article does a nice job of breaking down how the Bears use Jeffery, and how the Bucs might use Evans. As a rookie, Jeffery struggled to a 24-367-3 season in 10 games, missing time due to a broken hand and an injured knee. Jeffery is now a top 10 wideout after an excellent second season, but the struggles in his first year are a reminder that rookie wideouts rarely live up to expectations.