Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Mike Smith confirmed what PewterReport.com has been observing and writing about this offseason: second-year free safety Justin Evans has Pro Bowl-caliber ability.
Evans, a second-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, got his first of 11 starts last year against New England on Thursday Night Football and recorded his first career interception against future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. Evans, who will be squaring off against another future Hall of Famer in New Orleans’ Drew Brees this week, wound up tying for the team lead with three interceptions, but gave up just as many touchdowns on busted coverages during his rookie season.
Smith said that is an area where Evans has really improved this offseason.
Evans was fifth on the team in tackles last year with 66 tackles and six pass breakups in addition to his three picks despite playing in only 14 games as he missed the last two contests with a leg injury he suffered on Monday Night Football against Atlanta in December. Smith noted that Evans has cornerback traits, but plays the safety position and is one of the most athletic safeties he’s ever coached.