Through two days of the Buccaneers’ rookie mini-camp, Head Coach Dirk Koetter likes what he’s seen from his second-round draft pick, Justin Evans. Koetter acknowledged that the rookies aren’t in pads, but some of the intangibles Evans is showing gives the Bucs’ coach a reason to be optimistic.
“He brings range,” Koetter said after Saturday’s practice. “He moves like a corner. We’re just in shorts and helmets but he shows up quick at the line of scrimmage on his run fits. He’s going to have to be a little more vocal – we need our safeties to communicate more – but his athleticism and his range definitely, in a passing-like camp, are going to show up.”
The Texas A&M safety is poised to compete for a starting spot at safety, assuming that J.J. Wilcox, who was signed as a free agent, is a part of the starting lineup. Evans will be competing with Chris Conte and Keith Tandy, among others, for a spot in the starting lineup. Both Conte and Tandy have experience as starters and both have had their fair share of success in Tampa Bay.
While Evans will surely play a role on the Bucs’ defense in 2017, he could also potentially have an impact on special teams. It’s far too early to speculate on who will be the Bucs’ kick returner this season, but Evans has handled the responsibility in the past and was returning punts during Saturday’s practice.
“On their college tape, Justin Evans didn’t have a lot of tries but he had a really nice average,” Koetter added.
The Buccaneers’ rookie mini-camp will conclude this weekend. The rookies will be joined by the Bucs’ veterans for OTAs later this month as Tampa Bay’s offseason program progresses.