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.

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]
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jongruden
jongruden
5 years ago

So Odell Beckham Jr who had 101 catches 1307 yards and 10 td’s and Antonio Brown 106 catches 1281 yds and 12 td’s and Jordy Nelson who had 97 catches 1257 yards and 14 td’s are not considered “elite”? Bogus and BS

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  jongruden
5 years ago

Oh they are all elite if you ask me, but NOBODY has had less talent around him than MIke and it’s not even close.

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  cgmaster27
5 years ago

Agree, on talent around him I will say Hopkins for Houston for past few yrs had no qb and no secondary wr and guys like Alfred Blue running the ball and still had 1,500 and plus 10 td’s so that is more impressive than Evans to me considering he did it with Brian Hoyer, TJ Yates and Savage at qb two yrs ago

scubog
scubog
Reply to  jongruden
5 years ago

What about your own Larry Fitzgerald?

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  scubog
5 years ago

Larry plays in the slot now and is down side of his career even though he caught 107 passes for 1,000 yds he is not top 5 wr anymore 1st hall of fame ballot player though

Horse
Horse
5 years ago

Surprised Jones was 4th since Falcons haven’t their All Pro TE from two years ago; Jones is gets more looks than Evans.

Freeman Strickland
Freeman Strickland
5 years ago

The Falcons were the 4th ranked rushing team with 20% more rushing yards than the 24th ranked Bucs.

Jones should get more yards after catch when the safeties are at the line of scrimmage trying to stop the run rather than down field sitting on Evans.

But, the Giants were the 29th ranked rushing team. So, safeties as free to sit on OJB as they were to sit on Evans.

Play by play analysis may show otherwise. But, that is the coverage that the stats would predict.

drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

So PFF is a joke and unreliable as a credible football source because of the way they graded out other receivers.
You will get no argument from me.
How and who grades these players still remains one of the great mysteries of the universe.
As far as Evans YAC, it’s hard to go any where when you are surrounded by three DBs after you make the catch.

David DeLeon
David DeLeon
5 years ago

By no means do I think they are the only two elite WR’s but both are elite. Don’t have a problem with what Jameis said because those are the best in the nfc South. But with a better cast I can see Evans numbers going down slightly or it could open things up in his favor with a better cast. But he will still be elite.