Bucs quarterback, Jameis Winston, stirred up the pot quite a bit last week before the first day of mandatory mini camp by saying his Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ wide receiver, Mike Evans, was every bit as good as fellow divisional wide receiver, Julio Jones. Winston went on to say that he thinks Evans is the best receiver in the entire NFL, too.
As you can imagine, Falcons fans didn’t take too kindly to that notion and the replies to the tweet above are worth a good five minutes of entertainment.
Certainly Winston is a bit biased to vouch for his guy in such a manner, but it’s not like Evans is in a category much lower than Jones. In fact, Evans and Jones were the only two wide receivers in the entire NFL to receive an “elite” grade from Pro Football Focus in 2016.
In the overall rankings, Evans came in as PFF’s No. 33 player in the league while Jones came in at No. 4. Evan finished the season with 96 catches for 1,321 yards and 12 touchdowns. His receptions were the sixth most in the league, his yards were the fourth most and his touchdowns were tied for second. For Jones, he finished with 83 catches for 1,409 yards and just six touchdowns. Jones finished the season with more yards than Evans on less catches, and that’s probably why his ranking was so much higher – getting yards after the catch is important, something Evans has vowed to get better at going into 2017.
So, perhaps there is a gap because of how freakishly athletic Jones is and has been with the ball in his hand, but if there is, the gap is probably smaller than most Falcons fans were willing to entertain from Winston’s quote.
Wherever you rank him, Top 10, Top 5, ahead of Jones, behind Jones, Evans is one of the best playmakers in the league. And, oh, by the way, he’s four and a half years younger than Jones, and is well above Jones’ career statistical path at this point from both of their careers.