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Buccaneers draft receiver Mike Evans to create a dynamic duo with Vincent Jackson

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith spent most of the offseason getting rid of the players he did not want.

Now we see the team Smith is trying to build.

Smith used Tampa Bay’s first pick (seventh overall) to select Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans. Instead of drafting Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel or Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Smith added one of the best receivers available in this year’s draft.

When Smith coached the Chicago Bears, he tried to attack opposing defenses with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey, two tall targets. Smith was fired following the 2012 campaign, but saw Jeffrey haul in 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns, while Marshall had 1,295 yards and 12 touchdowns, during the 2013 season. He is looking for Tampa Bay to have the same passing success this season.

Evans (6-foot-5, 231 pounds) will join Vincent Jackson (6-5, 230) in Tampa Bay. Jackson had 1,224 yards and seven touchdown last season, but did not receive enough help from Mike Williams, a trouble receiver who was traded to Buffalo in April.

The addition of Smith should help quarterback Josh McCown, who played with Marshall and Jeffrey last season. McCown was 3-2 as a starter last season. He had 1,829 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and one interception (109 passer rating) as Jay Cutler recovered from an injury.

There is a chance Tampa Bay could draft a quarterback, but the addition of Evans should enable McCown to excel in 2014.



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Neil S. Schwartz

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