Mike Evans Scouting Report
Mike Evans, 6-4/231
By Charlie Campbell
Big-time play-maker downfield
Always open because of his size
Play-maker, threat to score from anywhere on the field
Fantastic body control
Amazing along the sideline
Superb at making contested catches over defensive backs
Physical with corners
Attacks the football
Adept at finding soft spots in zone
Presents a size mismatch
Can run over defensive backs
Enough quickness to get separation
Gets yards after the catch
Experienced, dominated good competition
Nice fit in a West Coast offense
Quicker than fast
Doesn't always get separation
Drops some passes
Could stand to improve his hands
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is a potential top-10 pick, and Evans is one of the reasons why. The big wide out is a tremendous play-maker who made a ton of big plays for Manziel over the past two years. Evans was a dominant force in the SEC and has a skill set that projects to him being a No. 1 receiver in the NFL.
While Manziel grabbed all the headlines during his Heisman season in 2012, Evans had a breakout redshirt freshman season for the Aggies as well. Evans took over as Texas A&M's No. 1 receiver in 2012 even through the team had Ryan Swope as an established feature receiver. Evans led the team with 82 receptions for 1,105 yards and five touchdowns.
Evans was even better in 2013. He destroyed Alabama (7-279) and made a lot of difficult catches for big gains along the sideline. Evans turned in another massive performance against Auburn (11-287). He tailed off late in the year and was held to only eight yards on four catches by Missouri cornerback E.J. Gaines in his penultimate game, but Evans and Manziel had some injuries late in the season. In 2013, Evans totaled 69 receptions for 1,394 yards with 12 touchdowns.
Evans projects as a true No. 1 receiver for the NFL. His size makes him a great weapon in the red zone and on third downs. He can operate in all levels of the field and isn't limited to being just a possession receiver who can't get vertical. Evans just goes about being a deep threat in a different way compared to speed receivers like Mike Wallace, DeSean Jackson or Tavon Austin.
Evans daunting size makes him a big-time play-maker in the deep part of the field. He can get separation from defensive backs with quickness, but even when a defensive back runs with Evans, he is always open because of his size.
Evans has phenomenal leaping ability and body control to make some highlight-reel catches, too. He is amazing at making acrobatic receptions along the sidelines over defensive backs. It is a routine sight to see Evans make a catch over a defensive back and stiff-arm the defender away to pick up more yards for a long reception. Evans produced a ton of long receptions on plays like that this past season.
In zone coverage, Evans is a real weapon as he is adept at finding soft spots and presents a big target. Evans shows no fear in the middle of the field and will extend his body for passes. There were so many crazy plays from Manziel where he would scramble around defenders before throwing a pass up for grabs. Evans would go up and come down with the ball in a crowd of defenders and bail out his quarterback.
Before the Combine, there were a lot of questions if Evans had enough speed for the NFL. While this writer didn't agree with those concerns considering how Evans played on Saturdays, he erased the fears with a 40 time of 4.53 seconds and a strong 10-yard split of 1.57 seconds. For Evans, it was mission accomplished and should lock him into the top-20 picks. It looks like he will be a No. 1 NFL receiver who could work in a West Coast or pro-digit offense.
Player Comparison: Vincent Jackson.
Sometimes it is hard to come up with a good player comparison, but that isn't the case with Evans. He looks like a carbon copy of Jackson. Both are huge receivers who can make big plays downfield even when they are covered by defensive backs. Jackson and Evans also have some occasional drops, but overall are great at bailing out their quarterbacks on passes thrown up for grabs. As a pro, Evans could turn into an identical player to Jackson.
Buffalo, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New York Jets, Cleveland, San Diego, Kansas City, Carolina, San Francisco
There are a lot of teams that would be happy to land Evans in the first round. The highest he could hope to go would be to the Bills or the Lions at the end of the top 10. Buffalo could use a big receiver, and Evans could make a big difference for E.J. Manuel.
The Lions are a popular projection for Evans. Detroit badly needs a No. 2 receiver to go with Calvin Johnson. Having Evans would give the team another big receiver who can make plays in all levels of the field. Evans landing with the Lions would be a perfect fit.
In the AFC North, Evans has three potential landing spots. The Steelers need help at receiver and are said to be targeting a receiver with size. Evans would give Big Ben the large wide out he's been lobbying for. Baltimore also needs a complement to Torrey Smith, and Evans would be a great fit for the Ravens. It seems unlikely he slides past Baltimore. However, if Evans slides into the 20s, Cleveland could be a landing spot as a receiver to work on the other side from Josh Gordon.
The Jets badly need a No. 1 receiver for Geno Smith, while Santonio Holmes could be a cap casualty. Evans would be an immediate upgrade for New York's receiving corps.
In the AFC West, the Chiefs and Chargers could both consider Evans if he falls into the 20s, especially Kansas City.
The Panthers and 49ers would probably be thrilled to land Evans, but it seems very unlikely he falls to the end of the first round. However, San Francisco has a lot of extra picks so the team could target Evans via a trade up.
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