The Bucs And Akayleb Evans

April 13th, 2022

One of general manager Jason Licht’s more interesting and candid chats came before the 2019 NFL Draft.

Joe notes “candid” because GMs usually are oozing BS and dealing in half-truths when talking publicly to media.

This chat on SiriusXM NFL Radio three years ago felt legit. Licht explained that big athletic corners are more important than ever because receivers don’t run true routes any longer.

“So the corner that had all the great change of direction and all that stuff, you know, that’s still a valuable asset. But if you’re long and you can run a little and you’re instinctive and you can tackle, you know, you’re going to be able to cover these guys now,” Licht said. “So that’s just the way the game has kind of morphed.”

Joe heard that and felt like Licht sort of was saying that he’ll never draft a Vernon Hargreaves-type cornerback again.

So what did Licht do seven weeks later? He drafted 6-1, 206-pound cornerback Jamel Dean late in Round 3 of the draft, after grabbing fellow long corner Sean Murphy-Bunting in Round 2. Murphy-Bunting had the resumé, albeit at Central Michigan, and the athleticism. Dean could fly and jump better than most, but he had a long injury history and was no superstar.

Of course, both became Bucs starters and won Super Bowl rings.

Now here comes the 2022 NFL Draft and the Bucs could use a cornerback for depth and special teams. So Joe’s looking at long college corners with diverse skills and a love of tackling. And perhaps the longest corner in the draft, Akayleb Evans out of Missouri, could be there for the Bucs late in Round 3.

Evans, at 6-2, 200 pounds with long arms, was a star at Tulsa before his one and only season at Missouri last year. Like Dean, injuries were an issue for Evans early in his five-year college career, but he handled the transition well to the SEC last season.

Evans also is a standout off the field. The dude launched his own charitable foundation in high school and it’s still in operation.

Joe expects the Bucs to draft a legitimate cornerback prospect at some point this month. Evans seems very much in the Licht mold.

15 Responses to “The Bucs And Akayleb Evans”

  1. MadMax Says:

    I like him.

    What do you think of Alontae Taylor? Might be there bottom of 2nd.

  2. TDTB2022 Says:

    Great info!!!!
    Good job Joe!


  3. Goatfarmer Says:

    Hope he can tackle.

  4. Robert Says:

    We need trenches #1 and probably 2. DT then OL or Edge rusher…….these DB’s that keep coming up better be available in 4th or so, because I’ll be pissed if they go DB or S early.

    We have some depth there already and are paper thin on the other 3 positions.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Check out Tariq Woolen out of UTSA. 6’3″ 205. Ran a 4.26 at the combine.

  6. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Evans, Woolen, and Zyon McCollum all fit this mold. Woolen was a WR to start his college career, dropped so many passes they switched him to defense. All of us want to see less dropped potential INT’s, it was a crazy amount last year. McCollum had 13 INTS in 5 years (lower level competition), and is said to be an excellent gunner on special teams. So yes, draft a big, fast CB somewhere in the draft, Mr. Licht.

  7. Aaron Says:

    Better hope he isn’t like the other Evans a crybaby lol and in a year or two want a trade lol

  8. BUCman Says:

    The Bucs only have 4 draft picks that will make the 53 man roster. The two picks in the seventh round wil be practice squad players at best. The 5 roster spots they have remaining open assuming Gronk & Suh are eventually re-signed are DT3, OLB3, TE3, RB3, ILB3. So these spots should be prioritized. They carried 9 defensive backs on the 53 man roster last year and they already have 9 this year (Davis, Dean, Murphy-Bunting, Cockrell, Delaney, Winfield, Neal, Edwards, Ryan).

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    If the Bucs draft a CB in the first 3 rounds…..either Cockrell or Delaney will be cut or they may keep 10 dbs….

  10. Joe in Michigan Says:

    BUCman: I’ve made grocery lists in past years of what I thought the Bucs NEEDED to do, it never worked out that way. I highly doubt that Delaney and Cockrell are locks to make the Bucs roster after how they played last year, and several of those guys will be free agents next year.

  11. Joe in Michigan Says:

    TBBF: I was typing my comment as you added your comment. Agreed.

  12. Kalind Says:

    Tariq Woolen. Zion McCollum. You’re welcome.

  13. WhatTheBuc Says:

    Kalind, if you like Tariq Woolen you have to be basing your opinion on his measurables and upside because his film is awful. He is fast as lightning but gets burned by FBS receivers consistently. He even gets pulled from the game a few times for poor play. What he has you can’t teach but he needs a lot of work. Zyon McCollum on the other hand played well with similar measurables. Evans has the skill for the NFL and I want to like him but he is non-existent on plays that don’t go his way. He literally avoids the play. You can see him walking around instead of chasing. He also gets beaten a lot by college receivers. Evans is a flyer pick to me.

  14. HC Grover Says:

    How come ya dance so good?

  15. ThatAintRight Says:

    It’s true though long arms and athletically gifted , run and jump and you could be making $15-20 mill a year potentially. Just the way it goes. Lot of NBA players could be CBs. Many PGs and SGs would be killer CBs. I’d like to see some guys play NFL tbh. Retire from the NBA switch it up. Imagine some of these jacked SFs or Small ball PFs playing TE or OLB in the pros. Would be crazy to see. Long arms to get hands on the ball is a must have though. 4.5 speed is okay but 4.4 better for a CB. Not as difficult to find value if looking for it.