5. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Age: 23 (8/21/1993)
2016 Season Statistics: 16 games played, 96 receptions, 1,321 yards, 12 touchdowns
Career Statistics: 46 games played, 238 receptions, 3,578 yards, 27 touchdowns
The fifth spot on this list came down to a five-man race between Mike Evans, Larry Fitzgerald, T.Y. Hilton, DeAndre Hopkins, and Jordy Nelson. All five players had a case to make for the final spot, but an ambitious evaluation is made here.
Although he’s just three seasons into his professional career, Evans has already earned a Top 5 ranking when discussing the best wide receivers in the NFL.
Evans has recorded at least 1,000 yards in each of his three NFL seasons, and recorded 10-plus touchdowns in two of the three. That isn’t the biggest of sample sizes, but Hopkins regressed in 2016, Fitzgerald slowed down a bit, and Nelson missed the entire 2015 season due to injury.
Hilton certainly has a case to make, but Evans has proven to be one of the most overwhelming covers in all of football.
Pro Football Focus ranked Evans as the No. 2 wide receiver in the NFL during the 2016 campaign. That was a product of his receiving numbers—No. 6 in receptions, No. 4 in yards, and No. 2 in touchdowns—and his strong run blocking.
It was hard to pick against Fitzgerald’s consistency, and the numbers produced by Hilton, Hopkins, and Nelson, but Evans earned a Top 5 ranking in 2016.