Much like Randy Moss, Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans was a high school basketball star who entered the national radar as a college football phenom.

Moss went on to set the NFL rookie record with 17 touchdowns in 1998 while Evans broke Tampa Bay’s single-season franchise record with 12 touchdowns in his debut season. 


Noting those similarities, Moss took Evans under his wing for a week of workouts earlier in the offseason.

“It was just me and him,” Evans said, via the Bucs’ official website. “I was up for there in North Carolina for about a week at the end of March. There’s a lot of knowledge there, man.”

Evans might not share Moss’ game-breaking speed, but both receivers specialize in coming down with contested catches, taking full advantage of long arms, big hands, a huge vertical leap and uncanny body control.

“I think he’s the best to ever do it,” Evans added. “Working with him, I think it will take my game to the next level.”

Picking the brain of an all-time great wide receiver can only help, even if Evans might be overstating the impact of a week’s worth of workouts.

There are more tangible reasons to expect improvement in Evans this year.

Evans ran a limited route tree as the rookie “Z” receiver under ex-quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo, who was shoehorned into an offensive coordinator role for which he was not prepared.

Former Falcons coordinator Dirk Koetter, now in Tampa, is moving Evans around the formation this offseason, essentially adopting the second-year wideout as his new version of Julio Jones.


“Arroyo did a good job for us last year but it is hard to replace experience,” Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins recently explained. “Dirk has been around a long time. He has coached a lot of games in this league and knows how to read the defenses. He is bringing a lot of experience.”

Knows how to read defenses? That’s not a minor detail.

Evans, like Moss, is more than just a one-trick pony with impressive ability to high-point deep balls and end-zone fades. He has excellent footwork in tight spaces and a rare combination of nimbleness and physicality after the catch.

Between the move to the “X” alpha dog position, improved play-calling from Koetter and No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston‘s willingness to take chances down the field, Evans might soon find himself on NFL Media analyst Nate Burleson’s list of the NFL’s top five wide receivers.

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