I bet most of you opened the article expecting to see Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans name.
Well not according to Bryan Knowles of ESPN’s Football Outsiders. Knowles was tasked with naming the most underrated player from each team in the NFC South division.
It just so happens he bypassed the likely choices of Mike Evans or Lavonte David.
Instead, Knowles went with someone who has yet to even don a uniform choosing Russell Gage for the Bucs.
It’s an interesting selection considering we haven’t even seen Gage during offseason activities or training camp, let alone a game.
Though, Knowles presents a good case, highlighting where Gage excels, and pointing out his upside in the Bucs offense.
“Gage is more than just your run-of-the-mill slot receiver,” Knowles wrote. “He is a phenomenal route runner with the ability to consistently work himself open at the short and intermediate areas of the field. He has seen his DYAR and DVOA increase every year he’s been in the league, and his 195 DYAR over the past two seasons has him in the top 50 wideouts. Now, he gets to move from one of the worst offenses in the league to the finely tuned unit in Tampa Bay. Look out.”
When Gage was signed, he was lauded as the Bucs new number three wide receiver.
Though he was also an insurance policy if Chris Godwin, who’s recovering from a torn ACL, isn’t ready to go by Week 1. As highlighted above, Gage is an excellent route runner with versatility to line up out wide and in the slot.
The former Falcon will need to gain Tom Brady’s trust quickly, especially if Godwin will miss time.