Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Best young trio in the NFC South?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers might not be the class of the NFC South, but they might have the best young trio. We discuss on the latest NFL Mocks podcast.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not the class of the NFC South. As a matter of fact, in a division that includes three legitimate Super Bowl contenders, they are the clear odd ones out at this point.

That doesn’t mean they don’t have big upside. It also doesn’t mean they don’t have a group of young players who could step up and turn the ship around.

I have a lot of confidence in Bruce Arians as a head coach. I also have a lot of confidence in the way he calls an offense. I think the Buccaneers are going to be one of the NFL’s most improved teams this year under his and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ guidance.

We talked about the Buccaneers and the rest of the NFC South on the latest NFL Mocks Podcast. We’d love if you would check the podcast out wherever you listen, whether you’re on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Spreaker.

You can even just leave this window open and listen right here:

Although Brooks and I selected the New Orleans Saints trio (Alvin Kamara, Ryan Ramczyk, and Marshon Lattimore) along with the Atlanta Falcons trio (Calvin Ridley, Deion Jones, Keanu Neal) as our two top young trios in the division, I couldn’t help but think I missed an opportunity to highlight the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Bucs’ top young trio doesn’t all have significant NFL snaps like the Saints’ trio or the Falcons’ trio. Heck, one of the guys I would pick for the Bucs hasn’t even played a down in the league yet.

But this is a trio worth writing home about. This is a group of players Bucs fans should be proud of, excited about, and confident in.

Mike Evans, WR

Mike Evans has been in the league since 2014. In terms of NFL years, that feels like a lifetime ago. Evans played in the NFL for four full seasons before Patrick Mahomes even became a full-time starter.

Get this — Evans is still just 25 at the time of this writing. He doesn’t turn 26 until later in the month of August, and even at 26, he would qualify for the lists we put together (26 and under).

Evans has started his NFL career with five straight 1,000-yard seasons. He’s easily the youngest player to ever record five straight 1,000-yard seasons to start off his career. As a matter of fact, he accomplished that feat just three months after his 25th birthday.

Here are some fun facts about Mike Evans. He is:

  • The youngest player in NFL history to reach 6,000 receiving yards
  • The youngest player in NFL history with five 1,000-yard receiving seasons
  • The Buccaneers’ all-time — all-time — leader with 40 receiving touchdowns

…among many other things. Evans is truly one of the most underrated superstars in the NFL today.

OJ Howard, TE

OJ Howard is locked and loaded, ready for a breakout third season in the NFL after scoring 11 touchdowns in his first two years with the Buccaneers.

One of the most NFL-ready tight ends I can remember scouting coming out of college, Howard is a nightmare to matchup with athletically, and he’s a physical, technically sound blocker in the running game.

He’s as complete a tight end as you will find. If he can stay on the field, he’s going to be a star for the Bucs in Bruce Arians’ offense.

Devin White, LB

The Buccaneers are obviously expecting huge things out of their first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

It’s fair to say they expect of White what the Chicago Bears expected of Roquan Smith last year.

White’s speed, range, cover abilities, and instincts make him an easy candidate for defensive rookie of the year in 2019. He’s the type of linebacker you can build a defense around, and those are rare coming out of college these days.

He’s the type of player who makes it feel like you’ve got 12 guys on that side of the ball.

White is going to make everything better for Tampa Bay’s defense, and could be a catalyst for them being a — dare I say — top 15 defense this year.