The Buccaneers could be looking at their highest ranked player in NFL top 100 history.
The NFL gets a lot of justified criticism, but you have to give them credit for one thing: they are masterminds at creating an entertaining off-season. The league has carefully crafted a schedule that puts one big event into every month of the off-season, like the combine in March, the draft in April, and the league meetings in May. The annual NFL top 100 player ranking has become one such event, and this year, the Buccaneers are right in the heart of it.
For those unfamiliar, the NFL disperses poll takers to all 32 teams around the league and gather a consensus for who the top 100 players in the league are. It’s an inexact science and has fallen under criticism plenty of times, but regardless I find it to be a fun way to get your football fix in the off-season. Thus far the Bucs have had two players called; Jameis Winston at 57, and Gerald McCoy at 52. Brent Grimes, Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David all deserve to make the list, but it feels unlikely considering the players that have gone already. The Bucs do however have one player that is a lock to make the list, and that’s receiver Mike Evans.
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Evans is in fact more than just a lock to make the list. He could end up being the highest ranked Buccaneer since the list was created in 2011. To this point the highest ranked Buccaneer is Gerald McCoy who finished at 28 in both 2014 and 2015. McCoy was his usual dominant self in those years, but it stands to reason that Mike Evans in 2016 was even better and deserves a higher ranking.
As a reminder, Mike Evans finished his most recent campaign with career highs across the board. He caught a career best 96 passes for a career best 1,321 yards, and snagged 12 touchdowns, tied for the amount he scored as a rookie. Throughout this terrific season, Evans beat several cornerbacks that will be ranked highly on the top 100 list, namely Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson.
Working in Mike Evans favor is the fact that he’s a high-profile wide receiver. The top 30 players are usually littered with receivers, and I’d argue that only three are locks to go ahead of Evans this year. Julio Jones will more than likely be the highest ranked, with Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham in tow. All three will be inside the top 15, which leaves Evans somewhere between 16 and 25.
What are your takes on the NFL top 100 thus far, Buccaneer fans? Are Brent Grimes and Kwon Alexander being robbed, and where do you think Mike Evans will eventually land? Sound off in the comments below.