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2017 Player Recap: Justin Evans

Posted Jan 22, 2018

The rookie safety was one of four members from the Bucs’ 2017 draft class to contribute as a first-teamer, starting 11 of 14 games in 2017.

The Buccaneers 2017 Draft Class was a productive one this season. Overall, it produced four starters, including safety Justin Evans. Over the course of his first NFL season, Evans made 11 starts, playing in 14 games before he was placed on Injured Reserve following the Week 15 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, cutting his season short.

Evans recorded 66 total tackles on the season, good for third-most of the team. He managed three interceptions as well, tying for the team lead and the third-most among NFL rookies this year.

Bucs’ defensive backs had 10 interceptions and four fumble recoveries this season, accounting for 14 of the Bucs’ 26 takeaways. Those 26 takeaways are tied for seventh-most in the NFL this year and their 13 fumble recoveries tied for second-most in the league. Since the start of the 2016 season, the Buccaneers have 55 takeaways, tied for the fourth-most in the NFL during that timeframe. Thirty of those 55 takeaways are interceptions, which is the fifth-most of any team during that time as well. Their 22 fumble recoveries over that span are tied for seventh-most in the league.

Evans’ best game came in Week 5 on Thursday Night Football against the New England Patriots at home. The defensive back registered nine tackles, eight of which were solo, two passes defensed and picked off quarterback Tom Brady for the first interception of his NFL career. The pass intended for receiver Chris Hogan from Brady went uncharacteristically over the receiver’s head, where Evans was waiting at the Buccaneers’ 36-yard line during the Patriots first possession of the game.

Evans also participated in the My Cause, My Cleats initiative on behalf of Metropolitan Ministries of Tampa Bay this season. During a community event as part of the Buccaneers’ Rookie Club outreach program, Evans befriended Kimoree who attends a community center run by the Metropolitan Ministries. He then had her come to One Buccaneer Place and design the cleats that he wore for the Week 13 matchup with the Green Bay Packers.

Evans finished the season with 66 tackles, six passes defensed, three interceptions and 11 starts over 14 games played.