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Who's the Most Underrated Buccaneers Player?

The answer might surprise you...

It's hard to find an underrated player on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster these days. Even linebacker Lavonte David has recently gotten more credit for his contributions on a national stage. 

Lavonte David

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Still, there are some underrated names on the roster. 

Tight end Cam Brate comes to mind, although Bucs fans have certainly appreciated his contributions and loyalty to the franchise over the years, some outside of Tampa don't view him as highly. 

For Pro Football Focus, however, they have a different name chosen as the most underrated member of Tampa Bay's roster: Mike Evans.

"Somehow, despite a record-setting pace of consecutive 1,000-yard seasons to open his NFL career, Evans remains underrated when it comes to the best receivers in the game," wrote PFF. 

Not exactly a deep dive of information and analysis there, and yes that's the whole statement made upon naming Evans as the Buccaneers' most underrated roster member. 

So I looked into Evans' underrated status myself. 

Mike Evans, Buccaneers4

The seventh-best receiver in the NFL prior to 2021 according to the player assembled NFL Top 100 list, Evans broke Randy Moss' record for the most consecutive 1,000-yard seasons to start a career in 2020.

Not only did Evans break Moss' record, but he did something the Hall of Fame receiver couldn't do before him, winning a Super Bowl with Tom Brady as his quarterback. 

For their troubles, Moss received three spots on First-Team All-Pro rosters and five trips to the Pro Bowl in the six years he started his career with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. 

In the now eight years Evans has done it, he has no appearances as a First-Team All-Pro, and just four trips to the Pro Bowl. 

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From a historical sense, you can draw the line to Evans being underrated. 

In a modern-day look, the receiver is certainly benefitting from a more pass-first culture in the NFL than Moss started off in, but even in 2021 Evans came in behind Julio Jones on the Top 100 list. 

Despite the fact Jones was coming off a 771-yard receiving season with just three touchdown catches and playing in just nine games in 2020, voters put him ahead of the Bucs' star receiver. 

Almost 20 spots ahead of him, in fact. 

Julio Jones, Titans

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No disrespect to Jones, but his best days are behind him and were even when he went to the Titans last offseason. 

My belief is a little bit Brady effect shrunk the perceived impacts of Evans, and the move to Tennessee revitalized hope in Jones' career trajectory like lotion does to a faded tattoo; briefly and certainly not permanently. 

So Mike Evans could certainly fall into the underrated column of NFL players, sure. 

But the most underrated player on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster? I don't think I'd put that crown on Evans as long as players like Brate, defensive lineman William Gholston, and even a few others are still playing football for the franchise.

For more on this and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers check out James Yarcho and David Harrison on the Locked On Bucs Podcast!

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