With training camp on the horizon, CBSSports has released their top-10 rankings at the quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end positions with Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans and O.J. Howard making their way on each of the duo’s respective lists.
Mike Evans has done little but shine since being drafted by Tampa Bay in 2014. He’s eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in each of his first five seasons while totaling 6,103 receiving yards and 40 touchdowns in that span. Among the league’s top wide receivers, CBSSports has Evans ranked seventh heading into the 2019 season.
“Evans has quietly been one of the NFL’s best wideouts for some time. It’s just that he plays in Tampa Bay where he’s had to catch passes from Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The good news is that Winston is in the final year of his rookie deal and has a lot to prove. The better news is that new Bucs coach Bruce Arians is a quarterbacks whisperer of sorts, and not only that, he loves the deep ball. Put another way: Don’t be surprised if Evans improves on his 86 receptions, 1,524 yards and eight touchdowns from a season ago.”
Howard, despite missing eight games over his first two seasons and failing to truly reach that breakout point yet, was placed just behind the top three consensus tight ends — Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz and George Kittle — in a tie with Hunter Henry for the list’s fourth-best tight end.
“It seems fitting that these two wound up exactly tied in our rankings, and in this No. 4/5 slot, no less. There is a clear top three here, and nobody could seem to agree after that, so the ranking ended up going to two players who are more potential than production at this point. Last year was supposed to be Henry’s breakout season after two seasons playing as a part-timer alongside Antonio Gates, but he tore his ACL in camp and sat out the whole regular season. He’s ready to take over as the top option now, though, and with Tyrell Williams also having moved on this offseason, he should have a sizable role. Howard has been projected as a game-changer ever since his debut, but that hasn’t turned into elite production yet. The new offense Tampa will run is a perfect match for his skill set, though, and Bruce Arians seems excited about heavily using a tight end for seemingly the first time in his coaching career.”