Mike Evans is one of just three receivers in NFL history to open his career with four straight 1,000-yard seasons, but he understands one area where he can make a big improvement in 2018: yards after the catch.
"I think last year was my worst year in YAC," Evans said Tuesday after the Bucs' first OTA practice. "I've got another hurdle to jump over and I think I'll be much better this year. I've got to do better in that category, and I think if I do, I'll be the most complete receiver."
The stat is an area where Evans has struggled in the last two years, with NFL defenses making him a priority in their coverage plans. In 2016, Evans had 1,321 receiving yards but just 169 after the catch — his average of 1.8 yards after catch was second-worst among NFL players with more than 25 catches, trailing only Michael Floyd (1.6).
This past year, it was worse, with Evans totaling 115 yards after his 71 catches for a 1.62-yard average. Only now-retired tight end Jason Witten (1.60) was worse among players with more than 25 catches.
Evans, who signed a five-year, $82 million extension this spring, saw his touchdown receptions drop from 12 in a Pro Bowl 2016 season to just five last year. He said overall, he considers last year "maybe his second-worst" of his four NFL seasons, with plenty of room for improvement.
"I don't know what it was. I guess my awareness wasn't where it should have been," Evans said. "I've just got to work on it more in practice and get more reps at it."