Scouting Report: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
The total package
Like his college quarterback, Johnny Manziel, Mike Evans is a bit of a polarizing prospect. At least, he was polarizing, until he ran at the combine. When a player with Evan's measurables and productivity drops a 4.53 forty, people take notice. Evans' upside now looks closer to the total package than ever before. This is a player who brings a lot to the table and would fit the offense of just about any team. Evans is a complete player with a taste for contact and a motor rarely seen at the receiver position. He’s more than just a willing blocker, and with the proper coaching, he could become dominant.
In today’s game, when you look at the best teams, you see more and more quality perimeter blocking. It’s why Riley Cooper was retained in Philadelphia. It’s why we think Golden Tate will return in Seattle and it’s why the Patriots would be wise to resign Julian Edelman. Look at last year’s final four teams. The Seahawks, 49ers, Patriots and Broncos get some of the best outside blocking in football and it is not by accident. Evans is a receiver who would fit right in on one of those offenses. Teams looking to draft him in the second half of round one will be disappointed. Evans is a riser who was already pretty high. Personally, I can’t see him getting past the Giants at twelve overall. Evans has already met with the Lions, who own the 10th overall selection. Just imagine the Lions' goal line package with Evans, Megatron and Joseph Fauria. Have fun trying to match up with that.
Let’s take a look at some of the things Evans brings to the table.
- Prototypical size - Evans checked in at 6’5” weighing 231 pounds. He also has a huge wingspan with his 35” arms. That’s a monster catch radius.
- Speed - Yes, speed! As I mentioned, the big man checked in at 4.53 in the 40 and that is very good for his size.
- Hands - He has no issues with his hands and can make all the catches you want him to make. He’ll body the ball at times, but not as a means to avoid using his hands.
- Ball Skills - He tracks the ball well and gets in a good position to makes plays. He’ll go up over defenders with ease and he can shield defenders without leaving the ground. He’s has a 37” inch vertical to go with the height and reach. There are no defenders in the NFL who can play above Mike Evans. He’s state-of-the-art.
- Versatility - He can play all phases as I mentioned, and he can line up inside or outside a lot like Jimmy Graham does in New Orleans. He’s going to be a mismatch nightmare.
- Intensity - Call it motor or competitiveness or whatever you want, but Mike Evans comes at you for sixty minutes and forces you to deal with him. This is exactly what teams are looking for.
- Big play ability - It’s the sum of all of the above. He can get deep and he can go to the top shelf and play above the defense. He’s tough near the goal line with his size and strength and he's a good third down receiver too.
- Blocking - As I mentioned earlier, Evans is a good blocker with the ability and disposition to become a great perimter blocker.
Here’s a few looks at Evan playing for Texas A&M....
Evans answered a lot questions at his combine press conference and he was more forthcoming than some other players. He’s been working with Hall of Fame receiver James Lofton this offseason and learning more about routes, specifically keeping his arms moving and staying low in and out of his cuts. It’s standard stuff, but it’s the right stuff. The other thing Evans will need to learn is to not push off. He has a tendency to extend his hands while pushing off defenders, and that will draw more flags at the next level, unless you have the kind of respect with the refs that Anquan Boldin does. Evans claims to enjoy playing against press coverage. "When I've faced it, I've had my career days, so I like man coverage. If you watch my film, I think you'll see that I like it, and I embraced it."
Evans has proven to be a good improvisational receiver and he works back to the quarterback well when things break down, which is very important at the next level. He also feels that being a basketball player has helped him as a football player. “It's helped a lot. I think a lot of other basketball players should play football. We have the qualities. If there's a jump ball in the air, treat it like a rebound. It helps me get off the press, use my quickness like when I used to dribble. Everything just incorporates into football.”
So how do we value Mike Evans for fantasy purposes? He’s going to be worth a lot. His redraft value and long term value will certainly depend on where he lands, but he is going to be worth quite a bit in almost any scenario. If he ends up in a place like Detroit, the sky is the limit. Mike Evans, like his college quarterback, is definitely a player to get excited about.
In real life, Evans is right there with Sammy Watkins in the argument for who the best receiver is in the 2014 class. I think it comes down to aesthetics and what the team in question is looking for. Both players have dominant traits. You can make a strong argument for either one being the first receiver selected.
Other 2014 Scouting Reports:
- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A & M
- Dustin Vaughan, QB, West Texas A & M
- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
- Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU
- Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
- Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
- L'Damian Washington, WR, Missouri
- Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
- Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming
- Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
- Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
- Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
- Dri Archer, RB, Kent State
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