The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced on Thursday the signing of wide receiver Mike Evans, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2014, and running back Charles Sims, the Bucs’ third-rounder. Second-round selection Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the only unsigned member of the 2014 draft class still yet to sign his rookie contracts. Early reports are it is a four-year, $14.63 million fully guaranteed contract for Evans.
While there has been no official depth chart established, Evans is expected to be in the starting lineup when the Buccaneers open up the season in September, opposite veteran WR Vincent Jackson. Both are 6-foot-5, and should cause match-up problems for opposing secondaries. Tampa Bay added another big target in Seferian-Jenkins in the second round, and the 6-foot-5 Washington tight end will give the Buccaneers the tallest receiving corps in the NFL.
Evans (6-5, 231) was selected in the first round (seventh overall) from Texas A&M, where he started all 26 games in his collegiate career, finishing with 151 receptions for 2,499 yards and 17 touchdowns. Evans owns the two highest single-game receiving marks in school history: 287 yards against Auburn and 279 yards vs. Alabama. He also ranks in the top five in school history in receiving yards, receptions and touchdown receptions in school history, despite only having played two seasons. As a redshirt sophomore in 2013, Evans set a school record with 1,394 receiving yards. He also tied the school mark with 12 receiving touchdowns, the 10th-most in the nation. A finalist for the Biletnikoff Award (nation’s top receiver), Evans was a unanimous first-team All-SEC selection and earned first-team All-American honors from the Associated Press.
The 6-foot, 213 pounds, Sims is fighting for playing time behind starting running back Doug Martin. A terrific receiver, Sims caught 203 passes for 2,108 yards and 11 touchdowns while playing at both Houston (2009-12) and West Virginia (2013). He rushed for 3,465 yards and 40 touchdowns on 592 carries in his career and was named the co-Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. Sims started all 12 games and set career highs in rushing attempts (208) and rushing yards (1,095) and 11 rushing touchdowns, which was the third-most in the Big 12. In other receiver news Jackson was named the No. 44 player on the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2014 in the NFL. Jackson, Tampa Bay’s leading receiver the previous two seasons, was No. 52 last year and so far is the only Buccaneer player on the list although defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David are expected to be Top 20 players when the rest of the list is revealed. The vote comes strictly from current NFL players.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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