Texas A&M Wide Receiver Mike Evans
As we continue our series of draft profiles leading up to Thursday’s start of the 2014 NFL draft, today we take a look at possible Detroit Lions target Mike Evans. Early on in the offseason, it was thought that if Sammy Watkins was gone, Mike Evans would be the Detroit Lions choice at ten. Now, it is thought that neither Watkins nor Evans will still be available when the Lions pick at ten. In the event that he is there, or that the team trades up and selects him, I have decided to do a profile on him leading up to the draft.
Some of Mike Evans’ negative qualities are that he posesses less than average speed. He timed well at the combine given that no one expected him to register in the 4.5 range in the forty yard draft based on his game tape. Due to his lack of speed and acceleration, he struggles to get separation from defenders, especially against quicker corners. Evans will need work with route running, as he did not run a full body of routes in college that he would be expected to run in the NFL. He can be emotional and lose control at times, which is an attribute other Detroit Lions players struggled with and contributed to their undisciplined label..Perhaps the most disappointing is that Mike Evans was not in top 5 at any drill in the combine for his position. For someone that is the second best receiver in this year’s draft, one that boasts depth at the position, and is regarded as a top ten pick, probably higher than that even, it would be reasonable to believe that Evans should have placed in the top five at something, even the vertical given his size and leaping ability.
Evans though, is held in high regard due to being a former high school basketball star. He was actually recruited to play NCAA basketball but instead played football. He was a two year starter at Texas A&M, red shirting in his first year. Mike Evans does posses great size and good strength. He is excellent at positioning for jump balls, an attribute that he brings from his basketball background. He is a good red zone target due to his size and excellent leaping ability. Evans has good hands and is difficult to tackle. He is also a good blocker due to his size and strength.
Mike Evans was productive in college, especially given his limited experience. In 2012 Evans registered 82 catches for 1,105 yards and 5 touchdowns. For a first year receiver, those numbers were excellent. Considering he registered those against talent in the SEC, widely regarded as the toughest conference in college football, he has shown the ability to play in the NFL. In 2013 he recorded 69 receptions for 1,394 yards and 12 touchdowns. Again he did this in the SEC against very talented defenses. Unfortunately for him, he did not get to show what he could do as a three year starter. Had he not red shirted his first year in college, it is likely he could have had even better production and been considered equal to or better than Sammy Watkins.
With Mike Evans, there is a lot to like. From his size, to his leaping ability, he appears to have everything you could want for a pair with Calvin Johnson. While he did not officially visit the Lions in Detroit, they did attend his pro-day and I can guarantee they have familiarized themselves with him and his abilities in the even that he is still on the board when the Lions are on the clock. While his speed is a concern for me, especially given his struggles to get separation, I feel like he could be a good addition to a receiving core that already features Johnson and now Golden Tate.