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Pre-draft questions surrounding the Bucs focused on the prospect of the team selecting Manziel, if the 2013 Heisman winner had been available at No. 7.

Smith has said repeatedly since the day he was hired that his goal was to make the Bucs, who haven’t won a playoff game since capturing their only Super Bowl title 12 years ago, relevant again.

Drafting Manziel would have done that instantly, spurring ticket sales in a lagging fan base and giving the franchise a player that would boost the club’s profile nationally.

Evans was the second receiver drafted Thursday night, three spots behind Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, who went to Buffalo at No. 4.

While he’s similar to Jackson in size and isn’t considered a speed receiver, Evans and the Bucs are confident he and Jackson will complement one another.

And they think he’s plenty fast enough to score long touchdowns.

“My film speaks for itself,” Evans said. “I’ve never been caught from behind.”


AP NFL website: and