Continuing on with the Acme Packing Company Mock Draft, we break down the seventh overall pick held by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Like many teams holding picks in the top 10, the Buccaneers earned their draft piece with underwhelming play and a pedestrian offense. Tampa finished worst among NFC teams in points scored and total yards accrued. More than anything, a lack of a quality aerial attack (third worst in the conference by passer rating) damned the Buccaneers to another year outside the playoffs. Such cost head coach Greg Schiano and GM Mark Dominik their jobs, and ushered in the return of one-time Tampa assistant and former-Bears headman Lovie Smith.
The shakeups continued for the Buccaneers, however. Star cornerback Darrelle Revis, acquired a year earlier for a first-round pick, was deemed an overpaid, unnecessary luxury by the new administration. After attempts to trade the $80 million defensive back stalled, Tampa released Revis. The team brought in former-Titan corner Alterraun Verner on a significantly cheaper deal to mitigate the loss.
Addressing the offensive side of the ball, Tampa signed quarterback Josh McCown to a two-year, $10 million deal. According to the team, McCown will enter training camp as the presumptive starter over incumbent Mike Glennon. Another NFC North veteran, Evan Dietrich-Smith was brought in to stabilize the center position. Offensive tackle Anthony Collins joined up as well, likely as Tampa's new blindside protector.
While more voids remain on offense, the Buccaneers do possess a few playmakers. After missing most of 2013 to a shoulder injury, running back Doug Martin returns to lead a ground attack that finished 11th overall in yards per carry a year earlier. Wideout Vincent Jackson represents a significant threat for the offense. However, the lack of a second reliable weapon in the passing game has reduced Jackson's effectiveness at times. Accordingly, one of Tampa's top focuses in this year's draft is locating a pass catcher to help shoulder the burden on offense.
With the seventh pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select...
Name: Mike Evans
Position: Wide Receiver
School: Texas A&M
Year: Sophomore (RS)
The Buccaneers could take their quarterback of the future here and allow him to develop for a season or two while Josh McCown handles the starting job. However, with no clear franchise passer and a plethora of intriguing options in the second and third rounds, Tampa will likely look elsewhere on offense. Given their need for another playmaker to help Vincent Jackson, the Buccaneers turn their attention to Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans.
While not a burner, Evans' size and athleticism make him one of the most difficult pass catchers to defend in this draft class. Despite only spending three years in college, Evans comes in with an NFL-ready physique as well as some of the strongest hands in all of college football. As was often the case as Texas A&M, Evans can bail his quarterback out of a jam by winning jump ball situations and bowling over defenders when a few extra yards are needed. If he progresses as expected, Evans could become the league's most devastating wideout behind Calvin Johnson.
What Evans struggles with currently is route discipline. Sloppy routes were a big part of his college tape, though that's in part due to the high frequency of broken plays brought on by A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. For the first few years, Evans' effectiveness will come mostly on nine routes and quick hitches.
Round One Summary
|1||Houston Texans||Blake Bortles||QB||Central Florida|
|2||St. Louis Rams||Jadeveon Clowney||DE||South Carolina|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||Khalil Mack||OLB||Buffalo|
|4||Cleveland Browns||Johnny Manziel||QB||Texas A&M|
|5||Oakland Raiders||Sammy Watkins||WR||Clemson|
|6||Atlanta Falcons||Greg Robinson||OT||Auburn|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Mike Evans||WR||Texas A&M|