Mike Evans sees some Manziel qualities in both Mariota, Winston

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ time on the clock began the moment their season ended.

So far, general manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith have attended the Rose Bowl to watch Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota outduel one another.  

As the tape is watched and the prospects get poked and prodded during the arduous draft process, teams must determine the spots on their roster they’d like to address.

The quarterback position is an obvious need in Tampa Bay, following a season of experiencing marginal play via a Josh McCown-Mike Glennon mish-mash.

With draft analysts pegging either Mariota or Winston in the No. 1 overall slot, last year’s first-round pick wide receiver Mike Evans certainly would reap the rewards of adding a high-caliber quarterback to the roster.

"My job is to catch the ball and make plays," Evans told FOXSports.com in a telephone interview. "I trust that our front office will do the right thing."

Evans, who had a glowing rookie season hauling in 68 receptions for 1,051 yards and 12 touchdowns, was named to the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie team. Evans, appearing at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl game with Panini NFL trading cards, also noted some similarities between the incoming rookie quarterbacks and his former Texas A&M teammate Johnny Manziel.


As for Winston, Evans pointed to the attention he generates off the field.

"They do different things, but they’re both in the spotlight a lot," Evans explained. "Jameis had legal troubles, where Manziel parties too much, people say. It’s still the same though with the off-the-field distractions. They both do a great job of owning the spotlight. Everyone wants to know what they’re doing at all times. They’re very popular. They’re very famous."

As for Mariota, his dual-threat capability is reminiscent of the Johnny Football magic Evans witnessed first-hand.

"I know Oregon beat Florida State pretty bad, but I like Jameis’ game a lot," Evans said. "I like Mariota’s game, too. Mariota reminds me a lot of Manziel. A bigger version of course. He won the Heisman. He’s a great player. His resume speaks for itself. I think Manziel creates a little more than Mariota. Manziel does some impossible things, but they’re very similar.

"And for Jameis he’ll stand in that pocket and deliver that ball. They’re both great players."