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Going Big: Bucs Pick WR Evans

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Going Big Bucs Pick WR EvansDrafting a receiver higher than ever before, the Buccaneers tabbed Texas A&M’s Mike Evans at #7 in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, creating a potentially dominant pairing with Vincent Jackson.

On Thursday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected wide receiver Mike Evans with the seventh overall pick of the 2014 draft, marking the highest selection the franchise has ever used on that position. The seeds for that bold move were planted last fall, during Lovie Smith’s one-year hiatus from the NFL’s sidelines.

An avid student of the game – on both the pro and collegiate levels – during his year between head coaching stints in Chicago and Tampa, Smith witnessed two things that would later come to bear on his evaluation of the 2014 draft class. Out of one eye, Smith saw his former Bears team putting up big number in the passing game with a pair of big and speedy receivers, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Out of the other, he saw Evans catching everything in sight for the Texas A&M Aggies.

With 2013 Bears quarterback now in place to start for his Buccaneers team (and reportedly chirping in the coach’s ear to draft Evans), Smith put those two observations together and, with General Manager Jason Licht’s agreement, came up with the perfect first-round draft scenario. On Thursday, that scenario played out just as the Buccaneers had hoped.

“Mike was a guy that we had targeted the whole time,” said Licht, who admitted to feeling some nerves at each of the first six picks before Evans made it through to the seventh spot. “We were receiving phone calls all night, but in our mind we knew that we wanted to take Mike Evans.”

The Buccaneers will pair Evans with three-time Pro Bowler Vincent Jackson to give the team two 6-5 pass-catchers who are adept at winning in contested situations. Smith said he always prefers the matchup of big receivers against smaller cornerbacks if given the option.

On Thursday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected wide receiver Mike Evans with the seventh overall pick of the 2014 draft, marking the highest selection the franchise has ever used on that position. The seeds for that bold move were planted last fall, during Lovie Smith’s one-year hiatus from the NFL’s sidelines.

An avid student of the game – on both the pro and collegiate levels – during his year between head coaching stints in Chicago and Tampa, Smith witnessed two things that would later come to bear on his evaluation of the 2014 draft class. Out of one eye, Smith saw his former Bears team putting up big number in the passing game with a pair of big and speedy receivers, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Out of the other, he saw Evans catching everything in sight for the Texas A&M Aggies.

With 2013 Bears quarterback now in place to start for his Buccaneers team (and reportedly chirping in the coach’s ear to draft Evans), Smith put those two observations together and, with General Manager Jason Licht’s agreement, came up with the perfect first-round draft scenario. On Thursday, that scenario played out just as the Buccaneers had hoped.

“Mike was a guy that we had targeted the whole time,” said Licht, who admitted to feeling some nerves at each of the first six picks before Evans made it through to the seventh spot. “We were receiving phone calls all night, but in our mind we knew that we wanted to take Mike Evans.”

The Buccaneers will pair Evans with three-time Pro Bowler Vincent Jackson to give the team two 6-5 pass-catchers who are adept at winning in contested situations. Smith said he always prefers the matchup of big receivers against smaller cornerbacks if given the option.

Source: Going Big: Bucs Pick WR Evans by Scott Smith

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