Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans finished fifth in the Pro Bowl voting among NFC wide receivers, which means he was not one of the four named to the conference team on Tuesday night. He may still end up in his second NFL all-star game, if any one of those four pull out due to injury or advancement in the playoffs, but it is still a bit hard to ignore when the player who ranks second in both the NFC and the NFL in receiving yards is not on the original Pro Bowl squad.
It is not, however, a snub, at least not in Evans’ own estimation.
“I’m not disappointed,” he said matter-of-factly on Wednesday. “I kind of knew the eight midway through the season and it’s hard to change that. You’ve got to do something spectacular to get in that conversation. But all the guys that made it were deserving. There were probably a couple snubs out there but it’s just an all-star game.”
The ‘eight’ Evans refers to are all the Pro Bowl receivers announced on Tuesday night, both AFC and NFC. The only ones that mattered to Evans’ chances were the four in the NFC: Atlanta’s Julio Jones, Atlanta’s Michael Thomas, Minnesota’s Adam Thielen and Green Bay’s Davante Adams. And, as Evans correctly notes, all four are having outstanding, Pro Bowl-worthy seasons.
Jones is the one player with more receiving yards than Evans and is well ahead of the pack at 1,511. Thomas leads the NFL with 109 receptions and has scored eight times. Thielen is second in the NFC in receptions and fifth in yards and has scored nine touchdowns. Adams has 12 touchdown catches, one off the league lead, to go with 1,315 yards. Evans has fewer touchdowns (five) than the other four but also has the best yards-per-catch average (17.9) by a wide margin. It’s hard to exclude any of these five from the top four, but the Buccaneers’ 5-9 record probably doesn’t help.
“That plays a factor,” Evans conceded. “If you look at the guys that made it, most of those guys’ teams are good or there in a big market. But they’re really great players as well. That probably plays an effect, but not too much.”