Big hitters like new Tampa Bay Bucs safety Justin Evans don’t shy away from contact, no matter the opponent.

Not having to deal with a 6-foot-6, 250-pound load like tight end O.J. Howard during games anymore isn’t such a bad thing, though.

Tampa Bay Bucs - Justin Evans
Texas A&M S Justin Evans – Photo by Brad Marquardt

“He’s definitely a very talented guy,” Evans said while speaking with the Tampa Bay media after the Buccaneers made him their second-round pick at No. 50 overall. As a Texas A&M student-athlete the past two season, Evans took on Howard’s Alabama Crimson Tide twice. “When we played them I was matched up with him a few times. So we’ll be on the same team this year but we’ll still be going against each other competing in practice. I definitely believe he’s a great athlete.”

Alabama won the past two meetings with Texas A&M, but Evans and Howard had decent showings in both games.

Evans made four solo tackles and intercepted freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts once last year and racked up 10 total tackles and one for a loss in 2015.

Howard caught eight passes for 69 yards and a touchdown last year and three for 35 yards in 2015.

Evans only played in two of the games because he spent his first two collegiate years at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. “Coming out of high school I had no offers so I went JUCO,” Evans said. “Obviously, it was a different route than a lot of kids take, but I believed in it and I just trusted in myself, trusted in God.”

Alabama TE OJ Howard – Photo by: Getty Images

While racking up 165 tackles, six behind the line of scrimmage, and five interceptions in College Station, Evans earned his reputation as a defensive back that can rattle ball carriers’ teeth. Playing that aggressively can lead to missed tackles, however, and that’s something the 21-year-old continues to focus on as he begins his NFL career in Tampa Bay.

“I had a lot of missed tackles so that’ll be my main focus, being a better pursuit tackler,” Evans said. “I know if I do that then my game can go even higher, so that will definitely be a [focal point].”

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About the Author: Eric Horchy

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4 years ago

A safety that can’t tackle…and somehow it’s still an upgrade for us at safety…

Reply to  EastEndBoy
4 years ago

That’s if he doesn’t miss them!

4 years ago

Way to follow up a solid round 1 with terrible picks in round 2 and 3. Evans is undersized, slow and can’t tackle cause he’s always trying to take people’s heads off. Awesome pick Bucs.

4 years ago

The man can tackle but he wants to improve. Many, many moons ago I remember seeing John Lynch on television discussing and demonstrating a tackling technique he learned as a pro that he felt improved his game as a safety. This was at a time somewhere in the middle of his career with the Buccaneers. This was when he was just gaining recognition as a great safety. (Some were comparing him with Ronnie Lott at the time.) At this point I have faith that Licht’s people can find the talent and Koetter’s people can coach them up to their potential.… Read more »

Reply to  XpfcWintergreen
4 years ago

He reminds me a lot of John lynch. I like the pick. I think obi would have better pick but we will see.

4 years ago

Never been a fan of Evans. Not even in the 4th where he was slated when I first took a look. I don’t like anything about his game. Can’t stand this pick.

Reply to  bEubanks11
4 years ago

“Slated to go in the 4th” according to who? Some media type or an out of date Draft book off the rack?

Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

scu – yep, the internet draft experts are just paid hacks, paid to express an opinion on websites and TV shows so that hungry NFL fans will tune in and click on so that advertisers can make a buck. Tells us exactly zilch about how a player will perform. For the most part they know no more than the average fan.

Besides – considering how things turned out with our last fourth round linebacker drafted out of LSU, I say “gimme MORE of that fourth round talent … every single time!”