Texas A&M safety Justin Evans – Photo by: TexasAgs.com
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.
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].”
A safety that can’t tackle…and somehow it’s still an upgrade for us at safety…
That’s if he doesn’t miss them!
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.
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.
Only time will tell.
He reminds me a lot of John lynch. I like the pick. I think obi would have better pick but we will see.
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.
“Slated to go in the 4th” according to who? Some media type or an out of date Draft book off the rack?
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!”
I hate this pick. Dwight Smith had a similar frame but he was way better in coverge and tackler.
Evans was a H.S. baseball player who is still learning to play football. He has the aggressive traits to develop. Typical comments about a player whose name isn’t recognized. Some of you should look at the size of the typical player at each position and stop suggesting a player is “too small”. Compared to who? The few players who are the exception?
Anyone who didn’t think safety was a “need” should look at the roster. Let’s not get too hyped up on Keith Tandy who, for some reason, was never able to unseat Bradley McDougald or Chris Conte before they went down.
Do we know why we let B. McDougald go? Memory tells me he had over 90 tackles last year to go with several splash plays … had to be better than this guy.
The Bucs never explain why they let a player go … no NFL team does that.
One can imagine that MacDougald was a pick from the old regime, picked up back in 2013. With a totally changed-out front office as well as totally changed out (twice) coaching staff, one might surmise that MacDougald just doesn’t fit the current regime’s idea of an ideal Buccaneers safety, after giving him a final go at it last season.
While on the other hand, we must presume that Evans seems to fit pretty much what the current regime wants on our defense today.
My my, some in the peanut gallery are not pleased at all that the Bucs drafted a guy in back half of the second round, when they all expected top five talent to be available at pick no. 50.
Weird expectations, folks.
Missing a few tackles out of a desire to rattle defenders’ teeth is a correctable issue, which starts with the player recognizing he needs to improve.
By the way, there were some defensive backs taken in the first round that weren’t paragons of perfection in their technique either, and Jon Gruden ripped them up pretty bad in his draft night commentary .. specifically the grossly overhyped Malike Hooker of OSU taken at pick no, 15.
The Bucs are going to kick themselves where it hurts by not taking Jordan Willis instead of Evans with the second round pick. Willis was the best player available there and how this team needs another player who can’t tackle very well is frustrating. Hargreaves was not a very good pick at #1 last year as he missed so many tackles and had trouble covering most good receivers.
Here we go again. All you armchair GM’s giving us player analysis. How much have you seen Evans play ? How much tape have you watched ? You all make me laugh. If you check all the major draft “experts”, from the Sporting news to NFL.com, they have him anywhere from #3 to #10 in the safety rankings.
A coaches job is to make players better. If this kid Evans’ major problem is tackling, that can be fixed with better technique.
As much of a crap shoot that the draft is, one thing is for certain.
1. Jason Licht and his scouting team know a helluva more about football and analyzing players than you or I do !!!!
In Licht I trust. Go Bucs !!!
I was surprised with Evans pick.
With Willis, Awuzie and Melfonwn available?
Yeah, this pick surprised me also. I’m not against drafting a safety, but I think there were better choices. That’s all we needed is another under 6′ DB who doesn’t tackle all that good. I thought Melifonwu would have been a much better option. I don’t get this pick. We have a lot tall WR’s in this division, and soon they will just be lofting the ball over our heads. I was really hoping they would get some height at safety to make up for the lack of it at the corners. But I will do like I said and trust Licht on this one.
Most of the good value safties went in the 4th round. Licht panicked by reaching for Evans in the 2nd.
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