-NFL.com's Bucky Brooks named his top five receivers heading into the 2020 season and would you look who made the list? That would be one Michael Lynn Evans. The 6'5 'X' receiver is coming off his second-consecutive Pro Bowl campaign and third overall in the first six seasons of his career. He also easily surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in 2019 for the sixth-consecutive year, tying him with Randy Moss for the most such seasons to begin a career in NFL history. Should he repeat the feat again in 2020, he will stand alone in the NFL record books.
His 1,157 yards last year came in just 13 games, with Evans having to cut his season short due to a hamstring injury. He still managed eight touchdowns though – the second-highest total of his career. Evans was also splitting time and targets with Chris Godwin, who came into his own in his third year in the league. But Evans didn't need that many targets – or catches – to still be productive. That was due, in part, to his 17.3 yards-per-reception average, the second-straight season he totaled more than 17 yards per catch.
Now, Evans will have Tom Brady throwing to him. Brady is a guy known for his accuracy and tight-window throws. With his arm and Evans' ability to out-muscle and reach above defenders, the connection between the two should be strong and Evans should easily finish within the top five receivers come the end of the season.
-Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski comes in on CBS Sports’ top 10 tight ends list at number five… after taking a year off of football. Crazy, right? In fact, author Cody Benjamin put it perfectly within the article, saying:
"How good do you have to be to spend a year entirely out of football, not play a full NFL season since 2011 and _still _clock in as a top-five player at your position? As good as Gronk. At this point in the former Patriots star's career, it'd be downright foolish to expect Gronkowski to be active for all 16 games in his reunion with Tom Brady in Tampa. But what if the year off has him rested up?"
Benjamin is right. Gronkowski hasn't played a full 16 games in a season since he did so consecutively to start his career in 2010 and 2011. But, by Gronk's own admission, he had been playing football for 15 years straight before retiring after the 2018 season. He was living in almost a perpetual state of injury. There were times he couldn't walk after games for days. Yet, he still amassed one of the most impressive careers for a tight end ever. And now he's back. And rested, might I add. That can't go understated. One doesn't unlearn all the things that made him one of the greatest at his position in league history in a year. No, Gronkowski still has the tools. But now, his body might actually be ready to handle the load.
Not to mention, the entire load won't be on Gronkowski's shoulders. He's going to benefit from a symbiotic relationship with two of the league's best receivers (one in the aforementioned top five) in the passing game at least. That's going to take pressure off Gronkowski. And Gronkowski's presence will take pressure off Evans and Godwin. That's not even counting tight ends O.J. Howard, Cam Brae and what the Bucs end up being able to do in the ground game. Could you imagine being a defense and having to defend all those weapons?
We're about to find out this season and I think you'll see no one benefit more than the duo of Brady and Gronkowski.
-Speaking of Gronk, he took some photos. We now officially know what number 87 looks like in a Bucs uniform after the team released the contents of its photoshoot with Gronkowski last week. I'm just trying to figure out what combination I like best.
View photos of tight end Rob Gronkowski in the new Buccaneers uniforms.
-Head Coach Bruce Arians is telling you to wear a mask – so you should wear a mask.
-Some of your favorite Bucs players celebrated Father's Day yesterday. We even got a sneak peek at pictures of wide receiver Mike Evans in the new Bucs uniforms as he snapped a pic with his daughter at the photoshoot.