Mike Evans says Odell Beckham Jr. deserves more credit for toughness

TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been praised for his hands, but Mike Evans says there's another aspect of Beckham's skill set that has been overlooked.

"He's a tough player," Evans, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' leading receiver, said Thursday. "I think he's one of the best in the game. Being a smaller receiver, he's very quick. He has some of the best hands. And he's tough -- people don't give him credit for his toughness."

The matchup between the Bucs and Giants on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium will feature Evans and Beckham, intriguing second-year talents who have impacted their teams in a hurry. Evans has 92 catches for 1,437 yards and 13 touchdowns in 21 career games since being drafted seventh overall in 2014. Beckham has 141 catches for 1,959 yards and 19 touchdowns in 20 games since being selected 12th that year.

"He has been a great player since his LSU days," said Evans, a Texas A&M product. "We've grown up together for about the last two, three years now."

Beckham will present a difficult test for the Bucs' struggling pass defense, which allowed Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones to rack up 162 yards and one touchdown on 12 catches in Week 8.

Beckham had 130 yards and three touchdowns on eight catches in a loss to the New Orleans Saints last Sunday.

"He runs great routes," Evans said. "He's very quick. He plays with a lot of swag. He's a fun guy to watch. ... I measure myself against everybody. But he's one of the best, so I guess I measure myself against him."

In some ways, though, Evans and Beckham are much different. Evans is a larger target at 6-foot-5, 231 pounds. Beckham stands at 5-11, 198.

"He does things I can't do," Evans said. "He's smaller than me, and I do things he can't."

Bucs defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said Beckham's versatility will keep Tampa Bay busy.

"He does so many things well," Frazier said. "Obviously, his catching radius is wide and varied. He makes some great catches. But he's a good route runner. He has very good speed, good quickness, and he can run after the catch. So he has a lot of the attributes you look for in a great receiver, a gifted receiver."