Emerging Justin Evans

December 9th, 2017


It isn’t just Joe who is seeing a potential stud of a player developing before our eyes.

Once upon a time not that long ago, Joe was very apprehensive about rookie safety Justin Evans. Given how the Bucs desperately needed a running back and/or a(nother) defensive end, Joe was depressed when Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht selected Evans in the second round.

But beginning with his pick of Tom Brady in October, Evans has slowly turned into a force. He currently leads the team in picks with three.

Evans also has caught the eye of X’s and O’s guy Andy Benoit of SI.com. Benoit took to Twitter this week to laud him.

The way this draft class is setting up, O.J. Howard, Evans, Kendell Beckwith and Chris Godwin, it looks to be another grand slam draft from Licht as 2015 was.

Now Joe understands why a good number of Bucs fans are hacked off about the record. Almost universally, they are bitter and believe Tampa Bay is a much more talented team than the record shows. And as a result of the losing, some seem to want to run off Licht.

Well, guess who assembled the talent? Sure as hell wasn’t Bruce Allen. It was Licht. Aside from Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Demar Dotson, virtually all the decent to good starters (and reserves) on the Bucs were acquired by Licht.

So if the Bucs are much more talented than their record — even Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said in “Hard Knocks” that “by far” the Bucs have the most talent on the team since he arrived in Tampa Bay — then why the hell do folks want s(p)itcan the guy who collected the talent? That’s backwards thinking AF.

36 Responses to “Emerging Justin Evans”

  1. AlteredEgo Says:

    2018 hopefully we can get starting caliber DE, S, CB….in no particular order
    of course unless Drew Lock comes out

  2. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    We all got too excited about our franchise QB and the addition of some speed to our WR corps. And indeed if you look at “targets”…TE’s…WR’s…RB’s out of the backfield…we are loaded with talent. THAT’S IT!!!!

    Where else is this team loaded with talent. I can see my mistake before the season started…I totally overestimated our OL…Marpet is the only thing that worked out…Sweezy has been disappointing…Pamphile the same…and our OT’s are inconsistent.

    Our RB’s are mediocre not wildly talented.

    And then there’s the most important piece..QB. How do we grade #3 this year.
    We can whine about the OL play in front of him but if we’re honest #3 has suffered through a subpar year…not what we hoped for before the season started. His injury certainly had an effect!

    Sooo…the real debate about #3 is not this year….this year was awful for everybody and it’s time to move on…but what about next year. Will #3 finally mature and play like an NFL QB and not a rah rah college kid?

  3. DB55 Says:

    Who’s better Evans or Beckwith?

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    ‘Backwards thinking’? Kinda harsh Joe. Any GM who misses on a 1st or 2nd round pick should be run out of town IMO. Especially when they’re picking near the top of the 32 NFL teams. Jason Licht … as GM … owns the 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017 drafts. From those 4 drafts Bucs should’ve gotten AT LEAST 8 starters. Plus one would hope that we’d get several more starters and/or key rotational players from the TWENTY selections in Rounds 3-7 in those years. I’d also expect our GM to ‘hit’ on AT LEAST 2 key (quality) FAs in each of those years (total of 8). Won’t take the time to go down Licht’s record of accomplishments, but 4-8 … with the possibility of 4-12 … in his 4th year as GM kinda speaks for itself.

  5. AlteredEgo Says:

    I think Licht gets giddy on draft day…not a stone cold killer

  6. tmaxcon Says:

    Defense Rules

    between gruden and dominick regimes bucs had almost a decade of wasted first and second round picks. of course, most of those same picks that were unable to be developed by a pathetic bucs organization went on to success elsewhere. the bucs keep mentally weak choirboys without any drive or desire to win. losers like mccoy are much easier to manage than winners.

  7. SB Says:

    If you guys haven’t heard about this kid yet then check this out. Kid plays inside, outside, DT, DE, OL, FB, and he can catch too!

  8. AlteredEgo Says:

    SB…that kid is highly ranked top 10 now we’ll see after the underclassmen declare

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    “Well, guess who assembled the talent? Sure as hell wasn’t Bruce Allen. It was Licht. Aside from Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Demar Dotson”

    Well Joe, I find it interesting that you left Doug Martin off this list and failed to mention Mark Dominick….but mentioned Bruce Allen..
    Is there some agenda here? It wasn’t simply an oversight….you are too smart for that.

  10. Season Is Over Says:

    OL is horrible. DL is horrible. CBs are horrible. RBs are horrible. A sprinkling of NFL competence is not what makes a team. The Bucs are the slump breakers. The team you break records against. The career revivers. The lost decade has been a national embarrassment and will haunt this team for another decade. We are the laughingstock of the NFL. Licht has shelled out team money to some of the worst free agent decisions in this century.

    Tampa fans are smarter than everyone gives them credit for. Just as they were when Tim Brown called them out. The empty stadiums personify this. Remember when this site and other Bucs’ media outlets called the fans “reactionary” after the Vikings debacle this year? No good team goes anywhere and plays like that. Who was ahead of the curve? This comes from being a hardened fan of a predominantly losing franchise. They see through the bs being pushed from all angles.

    Franchises are running circles around this team as the Bucs continue to strive in forming any sense of a proficient rebuild since firing Gruden. I don’t think turning on the television and knowing you have a chance to win is too much to ask being a fan. Bring back Gruden. He made chicken salad out of chicken s***. Imagine what he could do if they actually spent money during his tenure. Never forget who spent the least amount on players from 2004-2011. I will take Gruden’s faults over the nonsense I have seen the last decade any day of the week.

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    And…..Joe. not having the space won’t work with print…..so, what’s up here…

  12. Lakeland Says:

    The Bucs young talent are no where near the Saints,panthers, Falcons. That’s just the reality of the situation.

  13. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    But yea let’s run off the GM that’s brought in the most talent since we won the Superbowl amirite?

  14. Guzzie Says:

    This team sucks can’t imagine having to do this all over again next year with the same clueless leaders including Jameis he’s got something mentally wrong with him, started with the crab legs picture draft night, he’s got more physical talent than most former Buc QBs, he’s just doesn’t seem focused, treats this more like a game than a job, way to many instances that he’s shown he doesn’t have a killer instinct

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    tmaxcon, I agree about the Gruden & Dominick regimes blowing drafts left & right, but that’s ancient history to today’s team (only GMC, David & Dotson are still left over from those days … and all 3 are still starting, and making a lot of $$$). The unfortunate thing about all 3 of them is that none of them are the type of LEADERS that this young Bucs’ team so desperately need. They’re all very good players IMO, but ‘elder statesmen’ on NFL teams should be providing LEADERSHIP, and from what I see, they’re not.

    That void is presently being filled by two 23-year-olds … Jameis & Kwon … BOTH of whom are too inexperienced to provide true leadership to a team like the Bucs. Example: Brad Johnson may not have had all of Jameis’ skills, but he had better COMMAND of the Bucs offense. And Hardy Nickerson may not have been as fast as Kwon, but I know which one I’d rather NOT meet in the middle of the field if I were a RB trying to gain 2 yards for a 1st down. Both Jameis and Kwon will evolve into very good leaders eventually, but it’ll take several years for them both to get there.

  16. Lakeland Says:

    I don’t see the talent that the Incompetent Jason Licht has brought to the Bucs. Call me blind, call me dumb, but I just don’t see it. Licht has done a piss-poor job as GM.

  17. AlteredEgo Says:

    DR….” Gruden & Dominick regimes blowing drafts left”…to be fair 2- 1’s and 2-2’s for Gru….was a big bill that was paid for years to follow

  18. BFFL Says:

    Licht has no clue what a makes a winning team. Also Glazers desperately need to hire a president.

  19. Sirclicksalot Says:

    Licht has done a stellar job. He started with a bare cupboard. We aren’t particularly deep at any position save TE and maybe LB, but who in the NFL is? Just a few more key positions (DE and G) away from consistency in my eyes. Assuming we get some better defensive coaching, I’m positive about the future given this roster.

  20. SOEbuc Says:

    MINAH FITZPATRICK!!! A grand slam at the safety position for Julio and Brandon Coleman and all the other very talented receivers in the NFC South.

  21. Lakeland Says:

    When the Bucs fired Lovie Smith after the 2015 season.

    They had $50 million in cap space

    More than the Falcons,Saints, Panthers

    They had a Top-10 draft pick

    Higher than the Falcons, Carolina, Saints

    These 3 teams has a winning record

    The Bucs are 4-8

    They were 6-10 when they fired Lovie

    But Licht has done a Stellar job

    He has done a Stellar job at losing

    21-39 record

  22. Defense Rules Says:

    AlteredEgo, you’re exactly right … that was a HUGE bill to pay for his services (not to mention the $$$ the Glazers coughed up). And after our 2002 SB win that hampered our development as a team I’d contend.

    Sirclicksalot, when it comes to GMs, folks need to look at their full body of work so to speak (draft picks & FAs). Licht has gotten 10 starters & 3 key rotational players out of his 2014-2017 draft picks (26 total picks). That’s a 50% hit rate, and overall that’s not bad. But when you look at the quality of those 13 picks noted, several of them would probably be backups on most winning teams. Most detrimental of all however is that Licht has only drafted TWO (2) DLinemen in those 4 drafts (Noah Spence & Stevie T). BOTH are on IR right now. He’s drafted FOUR (4) OLinemen (Marpet, D. Smith, Pamphile & Benenoch), 3 of whom are starting (you can draw your own conclusions as to their effectiveness I’m sure). Now let me ask you: Given FOUR drafts, is that how you’d build a championship team?

  23. The daily corner Says:

    Joe, how do you feel about this Grand Slam?
    O J Howard
    Justin Evans
    Alvin Kamara
    Kendall Beckwith

  24. Pickgrin Says:

    Defense Rules – regarding your 1st post – No GM in the league drafts successfully to those expectations.

    “Any GM who misses on a 1st or 2nd round pick should be run out of town”

    Um – Surely you are aware that throughout the NFL – 1st round draft picks as a whole “bust” at a 46% rate on average and 2nd round picks “bust” 50-55% of the time. Right? Apparently not….

    At this point – Licht has a 25% bust rate on his 4 1st round picks and 33% bust rate on his 6 2nd round picks. (unless you want to count Spence as a bust due to injury which has yet to be determined).

    Compared to Bucs recent (previous 10 year) draft History – Jason Licht is a drafting God. Hell he drafted almost as many good players in just this last draft as Dom did in 5 years.

    Our current GM may not be top 5 or anything yet – but he’s absolutely doing a better job than the average GM when it comes to drafting.

  25. Buc4eva Says:

    Why in the royal hell are Evans and Grimes not being given the chance to play press man bump and run coverage at the line?

    Someone kick Smith out of the booth and put someone in there with some common sense please

  26. What in the buc Says:

    Buc4eva your exactly right 3rd and 4 let’s play 10 yards off…..

  27. BoJim Says:

    I too was concerned picking a safety so high this year but Evans is turning out to be a pleasant surprise. Beckwith, Howard and Godwin. Licht continues to do very well IMO.

  28. unbelievable Says:

    Thanks pickgrin I just came in to say something similar.

    50% success rate on all picks is great, considering the 1st round only averages 50% success, and that number decreases sharply with each round.

    Right now the 2016 draft seems pretty bad, but 2015 and 2017 seem pretty good (certainly a lot of potential- time will tell). 2014 fairly average. This is far better drafting than we have seen since the late 90s.

    However DR you are correct about neglecting the lines, especially on defense. They’ve done more to shore up the o-line but it still isn’t enough as evidenced by 2 of our QBs being knocked out with injured (Jameis injured again btw) as well as the putrid run blocking.

  29. What in the buc Says:

    Look at the article on bleacher report “McCoy getting after it”

  30. CalBucsFan Says:

    What amazes me is that so many posters are blaming the GM for the record. Hell, he doesn’t draw up the playbook, he doesn’t set the tone at practices throughout the week, he’s not calling the plays nor is he determining player rotations. Those are not part of the job definition of an NFL GM but of the coaching staffs and ONLY the coaching staffs.

    I’ve followed the Bucs since year-1 and without a doubt am convinced he is the best GM the Bucs have ever had (with McKay a close second). Every phase of this team has needed overhauling since he was brought in. There is NO WAY a team as deplete of talent as the Bucs were when he started can be turned around that quickly for him to get fired. Could he have spent more in free agency each year to bring in more known players for a quick fix? Sure he could of, but that’s not a longterm solution, hell teams that do that usually end in salary cap hell because of it! That has never been his philosophy and we’ve known it since day one. His goal is to build a premier, perennial championship challenger and to do that he has to do it by building through the draft. Has he missed on some picks? Of course he has, but name on GM who hasn’t. Once a solid foundation is built through the draft, then and only then does it make sense to go out and get a free agent headliner that solidifies the team as a contender.

    Licht has consistently hit triples and grand slams each of the few years he’s been here and of those players are the foundation for something that will be very exciting for years to come. Yes, there are still areas that need attention and are void of long-term talent, but there’s just so many long-term picks in any draft and there are 32 teams scouting and drafting, not one. Attention given this off-season to RB and both lines will go a long way to moving this team in to contention, and I have all the confidence needed in Licht to get it done.

    However, the area of attention most needed this off-season for Licht to seal-the-deal as the right long-term answer at GM that I’m most curious about will be how the coaching positions play out. Those positions are part of his job responsibilities too and the Bucs need as much improvement in coaching as they do the roster. Ultimately, it’s those decisions (or lack of) that may decide not only whether he will successfully build that perennial contender, but whether or not he walks the plank.

    No doubt this off-season will be one of the most important one’s this franchise has faced in years. Talk about striking out, change GM and HC again and we fans might as well just go into hibernation until around 2020.

    I believe JL is the right man to set the right course for the Bucs for years to come. I want to believe HC Koetter is the right man too. Not sure about Monken and Smith’s is not the answer at DC. Coaching changes are need, what will you do Jason?

  31. feelthepewterpower Says:

    I said during the offseason that Evans could be one of the best young safeties in the game….everyone was just so down because there was other needs and there were questions about his tackling. But tackling is correctable…you cant teach his instincht and athleticism. Buccs havent had that in a safety in a long-time.

  32. Jim Says:

    I want a Justin Evans jersey!

  33. Lakeland Says:

    No you don’t blame the GM

    You blame the ball boy

    The ball boy hires the Head Coach

    He draft the players

    He sign the Free Agents

    He has control over the roster


  34. The daily coroner Says:

    Great comment!

  35. lambchop Says:

    As good as Jason Licht has done with this particular draft. No GM gets a pass when you draft a failed K in the 2nd for which you traded up to get. Let me say this again, nothing else he has done will survive that bone headed move. Now add on the total bust that Burnhim Hargreaves has turned into thus far. Another huge blunder when you got a beast in Jalen Ramsey sitting there. Burnhim still looks like a highschool kid playing a man’s game. You cannot screw up a 1st round pick that’s not a QB. I’ll give a pass to the QB desperation. Hell we may have that on our hands too. Time will tell. But, you cannot miss on a 1st round pick outside of a QB when there are so many holes on this team and so many talented players.

    And I love the Beckwith pick, don’t get me wrong, he’s a beast especially when pressed for Mike duties with the injuries we had earlier. But, was a SAM LB a REAL need when you don’t have a pass rush? Who misunderstood the lack of a pass rush? Who misunderstood the age of some of these players? Who put everything on Noah Spence to get all the sacks for this team? Who examined Noah Spence’s medical records on that bum shoulder? Who thought a lazy DT would help stuff the run? Who thought bringing in Nick Folk who was let go cuz his accuracy sucked was going to salvage the kicking game? We lost REAL games because of these decisions. When a team is borderline competitive, these are the decisions that either give you the breaks or breaks you.

    The key thing to ask is not what we got, but what did we miss on? How else do you improve year on year without THAT kind of analysis? You don’t get better by patting yourself on the back. Any fan would have drafted Juice or Dalvin in our spot. I don’t expect perfection, but NOBODY moves up into the 2nd round for a K. Who did we miss on that could have helped us instead of Roberto Aguayo? The impact of that mistake is rippling.

  36. lambchop Says:

    And will people stop the Jameis Winston is the best QB this team has ever had crap? It’s not saying much when the majority of the team’s existence has been as a perennial loser. No one has been better than Brad Johnson till date. He’s the only one who punched the ticket till the end and brought us a Lombardi. Stats are for losers. I don’t want a Marino, I want a Montana or Brady.