Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle and six-time Pro Bowl selection Gerald McCoy is backing quarterback Baker Mayfield to do more than just start for the club this season.
“I believe in Baker Mayfield,” McCoy said during an appearance on NFL Network, McCoy insisted he was “serious” about such confidence and added Mayfield has a reliable in-game safety blanket on the roster in four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans.
“He’s been a model of consistency, 1,000 yards in every season he’s been in the NFL,” McCoy said of Evans.
McCoy also pointed out how Evans produced impressive numbers without having Tom Brady as his QB1 from 2014 through the 2019 season.
“But they got Rachaad White at running back,” McCoy continued. “He made a big jump last year as a rookie. They still have (wide receiver) Chris Godwin. But Mike Evans is going to play an integral role in this offense. Man, they are going to have to lean heavily on Mike.”
Per ESPN stats, Evans led all Tampa Bay players this past season with 1,124 receiving yards and six touchdown catches. Godwin, meanwhile, finished with team highs of 104 receptions and 142 targets.
It is, of course, worth mentioning that Mayfield hasn’t yet won the starting job over 2021 second-round draft choice Kyle Trask.
While speaking with reporters on Tuesday, the first pick of the 2018 NFL Draft noted he doesn’t care that people are doubting the 2023 edition of the Buccaneers. Mayfield also said he’s grateful to be part of “a no-B.S. squad that’s all about winning.”
McCoy expressed confidence that Mayfield can help the Bucs get back to where they want to be this coming January. “I still believe that we will take that division,” McCoy said. “Y’all may not believe. But I believe it.”
One wonders if McCoy will change that prediction if Trask is atop the depth chart when the Buccaneers open the season at the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 10.