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Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans is entering his 10th season in the NFL. In each of his first nine seasons, he’s had at least 1,000 yards receiving. He’s the only receiver in NFL history to accomplish that feat.
Even more impressive, he eclipsed 1,000 yards as a rookie in 2014. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterbacks that season were Josh McCown and Mike Glennon.
In each of the next five seasons, Evans mostly caught passes from Jameis Winston. While there were definitely worse quarterbacks in the NFL at the time, Winston is certainly not an upper-echelon signal-caller.
Yes, the past three seasons Evans had Tom Brady. But Evans really doesn’t get the due he deserves.
And as OutKick’s Mark Harris wrote earlier on Wednesday, he’s tired of it.
“My opinion matters more than anybody else because I watch all of these guys, and there are a lot of fu–ing great players,” Evans told ESPN. “But I’ll take myself over anybody. If people were in my situation, there’s only 5-10 guys in history who have done what I’ve done. It’s been a battle, but I enjoy it.” (Bold added for emphasis)
Mike Evans makes case as a Top 10 NFL wide receiver of all-time
Currently, Evans is 45th all-time in receiving yards (10,425 yards). That doesn’t seem all that impressive, does it? But Evans doesn’t turn 30 years old until later this month. He likely has several seasons left in his career.
He has 81 career touchdown catches and surpassed 12 TD catches in four of his nine seasons.
Plus, as Evans points out: he receives a lot of attention from opposing DBs.
“I’m probably the most doubled receiver since 2015, 2016 — I have to be,” Evans said. “Me or maybe [Davante] Adams.”
For reference, Evans has more yards and touchdowns in his first nine seasons than Larry Fitzgerald had in his first nine seasons (10,413 yards, 78 TDs). Most people would argue that Fitzgerald is a Top 10 NFL wide receiver in history.
Of course, Fitzgerald played until he was 37. If Evans can do that too, there’s no reason he can’t outpace Fitz.
And in a world where it’s hard to stay healthy as a wide receiver, Evans is remarkably durable. He’s never played fewer than 13 games in a season.
They say that the best ability is availability, right? Hard to argue that Evans is almost always out there. He averages 15 games played per season.
The problem for Evans is that at no point in his career have people considered him the best player at his position. He’s only made the Pro Bowl four times and only once made the All-Pro team as a second teamer in 2016.
This is a big season for Mike Evans. Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback is going to be either Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask.
If he manages to put up yet another 1,000-yard season and extend his NFL record to 10-straight seasons with Mayfield or Trask throwing him passes, I might just be ready to make him a Top 10 NFL wide receiver in history.
But not quite yet.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on X – formerly known as Twitter: @RealDanZak