Mike Evans is big. Mike Evans is strong. Mike Evans wins jump balls. Mike Evans scores a lot of touchdowns.
Despite his exceptional performance in the areas just mentioned, these traits (in isolation) do not define who Mike Evans is as a player. why? Because he does so much more.
Whether he realizes it or not, Mike Evans is single-handedly redefining the expectations that exist for big wide receivers, everywhere. In addition to possessing all of the necessary qualities – at least the traditional ones – that a big receiver in the NFL should have, Evans, is also an extremely versatile and well-rounded wide receiver. Certainly, more than he seems to get credit for.
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Matt Harmon is very thorough. He acquires information, compiles data, and analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of NFL receivers for a living. In doing so, he has come to the conclusion that Mike Evans is being unfairly stereotyped based on his size. In fact, it apparently became so bothersome to Harmon, that he felt the need to share this observation with the world – beyond just his paid subscribers.
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You can access Harmon’s full profile of Mike Evans here.
Below are some of my favorite quotes from the article:
“If you still think Mike Evans is just some big jump-ball receiver it’s time to let go of that bad take. He finished the 2021 season with career-best numbers in success rate vs. man and a stunning 79.1% success rate vs. There was legitimate discussion about how a big receiver who “doesn’t get open” like Evans would fit with Tom Brady.“
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“Size doesn’t matter when it comes to getting separation. It’s all about quickness and technique, two portions of the game Evans has mastered… His ability to deceive cornerbacks and fluidly sink his hips to snap back to the quarterback is just so Impressive. He simply doesn’t get enough credit as a top-level route runner.”
After outlining some of the short-area routes and separation skills that Mike Evans uses to find success on the field, Harmon makes it clear that although Evans’ abilities extend far beyond winning jump balls, it’s still an attribute he utilizes in dominant fashion.
“All this talk about his separation chops is great but we can’t forget Evans still has a trump card trait. His 85.7% contested catch rate is one of the top results among all players sampled for RP last year. He’s a dominant 50/ 50 ball receiver.”
Mike Evans is beloved in Tampa Bay. As he should be.
On the surface, his NFL record eight consecutive 1,000 yard receiving seasons has earned him some national recognition. But that doesn’t change the fact that he has developed a reputation – due to his size and propensity for winning jump balls in the end zone – for being a really good ‘big receiver’.
But as Matt Harmon so poignantly illustrates in his reception perception profile, Mike Evans is so much more than that.
So cheers to Matt Harmon, for providing his national audience with a glimpse of what Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans already know – Mike Evans isn’t just a good ‘big’ receiver. He’s a great receiver, who just so happens to be big.
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