Could Mike Evans Challenge Jerry Rice in the NFL Record Books?

Since entering the league, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans has been one of the most productive players at his position. That has seen his dominance underplayed, often brushing him aside from being considered one of the top wideouts in the game. Evans’ high level of production has helped him tie Hall of Famer Randy Moss with notching his six straight seasons to begin his career with at least 1,000 receiving yards. All of that brought into question whether he could take that a step further and potentially surpass Jerry Rice for the all-time mark.

Mike Evans’ historic start

In his first six seasons in the league with the Buccaneers, Evans has been among the most productive wide receivers in the league.

Despite the constant struggles that Tampa Bay has dealt with over the course of his career, the Texas A&M product has produced at a historic pace. He has set several historic marks such as being the youngest to reach 6,000 and 7,000 receiving yards.

Along with tying Moss for the most consecutive 1,000 receiving yards, he has also become the youngest player in NFL history to at least five and six seasons reaching that impressive mark. Evans has also set several Buccaneers’ all-time records with 24 games with at least 100 receiving yards, most career receiving touchdowns (47), most receiving yards in a season (1,524), and career receptions (457).

His level of production through his first five-plus seasons fairly brings into question whether he could challenge Rice’s seemingly stratospheric mark.

Jerry Rice’s all-time record

Through more than the last two decades, the gold standard that wide receivers hold themselves to achieve greatness lie with Jerry Rice.

The Hall of Famer set countless NFL records throughout his career, which many will likely never be broken. However, his mark of 11 straight seasons appears to be one of the more reasonably attained by the likes of Evans.

The league’s shift over to being pass-heavy has opened the gate for several talented wide receivers to make their push towards that mark. Among those has been Evans as he currently has the longest active 1,000 receiving yard streak with Julio Jones likely to follow suit this year by reaching that six-year mark.

There is still quite a way to go for this mark to record to be challenged truly, but Evans could soon be on the doorstep of that all-time feat. He has proven to have the talent and ability that has gone unhindered by the lackluster play under center over the years from Jameis Winston, and it may come down to one simple factor.

Mike Evans’ chances depend on his health

The 26-year-old has established himself as one of the game’s best wide receivers that is only about to hit the physical prime of his career.

There doesn’t appear to be anything that could slow down his high level of production, which has put a greater emphasis on his health. Throughout his career, he has dealt with nagging leg and hip injuries that have impacted his play and availability. He has proven to be quite durable, but he has missed three games over his first five-plus seasons.

Evans has the mental toughness to perform through injuries, but that is something that could linger the more years he racks onto his career. He has already proven that his production can withstand subpar quarterback play, which narrows it down to him remaining relatively healthy.

If he continues at this torrid pace, it will be quite difficult not to give him the proper national shine that his production deserves as being recognized as one of the best wide receivers in the game.