How Mike Evans Has Quickly Become One of the NFL's Most Dominant Young WRs

Dec 06, 2016 | by Sean Tomlinson, bleacherreport.com

Mike Evans is still a pup in his NFL career.

Yes, he's among the tallest breeds and the Great Dane of his position. But as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver nears the end of his third season, he's all of 23 years old.

Evans isn't remotely close to entering his prime years let alone peaking. Those days are far on the horizon.

Which is why as he pairs with quarterback Jameis Winston to drag the Bucs offense out of a crater and Tampa Bay as a whole into playoff contention, it can be startling to remind yourself that Evans is going to keep growing as a receiver.

It's a realization that could make even the most physical defensive backs stockpile frozen peas to soothe their Sunday wounds. He's developed in 2016 by striking more fear in the minds and hearts of those assigned to contain the 6'5", 231-pounder.

Evans has helped the Bucs to four straight wins by using more than his size, catch radius and red-zone steadiness, though he has plenty of all three. The main source of his rapid improvement isn't a skill that's resulted in a rising number. Instead, this particular digit has fallen as Evans floats to the top tiers of his position.

We know Evans is a massive bundle of leaping bulk, and blending that with his 4.53-second speed in the 40-yard dash makes him an athletic marvel. But the many preseason claims that Evans was a prime breakout candidate—you know, the ones written by everyone with access to a keyboard, including your pet duck—came with an important caveat.

He had to remove the butter from his hands.

Some of Evans' drops can be tolerated as a consequence of his high-volume workload. But that tolerance reached its peak in 2015, when he was among the leaders in a receiving stat that shows you're not, well, doing enough receiving.

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