GBH 2014 NFL Draft Preview: Mike Evans

Thomas B. Shea

The NFL Draft is only days away (finally) and we have our final previews of three Aggies sure to go in the first 10 draft picks. Today, we highlight former Texas A&M WR Mike Evans.

THE CAREER

Mike Evans totaled 151 receptions for 2,499 yards (a 16.5 yards per reception average!) and 17 TDs while at Texas A&M. That yardage total is good enough for 4th place all-time at A&M, and Evans compiled those yards in only 26 career games (all starts).  Evans would have shattered receiving records for the Aggies had he played more than just two seasons in the maroon and white, after redshirting in 2011 and declaring for the NFL Draft as a redshirt sophomore. Johnny Manziel's legacy has overshadowed just how great Mike Evans has been in an A&M uniform over the same time period. Evans is arguably the best wide receiver to ever play for Texas A&M, right up there with Terrence Murphy. He walked into the Bright Complex as a basketball player who could play a little football three years ago; he walks out as a Top 10 NFL Draft pick and future NFL Pro Bowler who can also play a little basketball.

THE SCOUTING REPORT

It doesn't take an NFL Draft twitter wanna-be scout to tell you what makes Evans so special: his wingspan, 37" vertical, and ability to catch the football at its highest point. If this were Madden, Evans' spectacular catch rating would be 99.

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Then, there is the run after the catch. Mike isn't afraid to pick up the YAC.

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And don't forget the strongest, and most overlooked, aspect of his game: dominant run blocking on the edge. He DESTROYS poor corners who don't have a chance.

Weaknesses? Heh. Some will try to say Mike lacks top-end speed and fails to create separation from defenders. Try and tell that to Alabama.

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Here is one negative that may get him in trouble -- his temper on the field. Mike wears his emotions on his sleeve. At times, those outbursts cause personal fouls for 15 yards, something that happened several times in 2013 for Texas A&M. Mike has to cool it down on the field. He won't get the calls he is looking for in the NFL, especially as a rookie.

CAREER OUTLOOK

Mike is going to be one hell of a player in the NFL. The average fan doesn't know Mike has only been doing this football thing for four years. He has so much more to learn on how to play WR, and that will only make him better. He is already a Top 10 NFL Draft pick in one of the deepest WR drafts in recent memory.

The NFL is trending toward tall, lengthy receivers who really play as power forwards on the field. Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and even Jimmy Graham highlight a few of these type of players who are the best in the league. Mike can be next in line.

To me, the only thing you have to worry about with Mike is coming into a complex offensive system where wide receivers have to make their own reads and then adjust their routes to the proper coverage. This scenario plays right into Mike's weakness of limited football experience. The knocks on Evans are that he only played on the right side of the offense while at A&M and used a limited route tree. These multiple route-combination passing attacks that more NFL teams are moving to could slow down Evans early on. However, I think even his floor is very high. Mike should be collecting close to and over 1,000 receiving yards annually and making Pro Bowl appearances.

DRAFT RANK

I have Mike Evans as the #2 receiver in this draft, behind Clemson's Sammy Watkins. Some NFL teams will have him ranked #1 depending on the type of wide receiver they prefer.

WHERE HE ENDS UP

Oakland Raiders - If former Raider's owner Al Davis were still with us, I think he would LOVE Mike Evans. But GM Reggie McKenzie is now running the show and isn't the brightest personnel guy out there. There is no telling what the Raiders will do. Last year they took CB D.J. Hayden at 12th overall.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - If there is one team Mike has been linked most to, it is Tampa Bay. I'm not 100% sold that Tampa is serious about Mike after just hiring a defensive coach in Lovie Smith. I think it is much more likely they take a defender like Aaron Donald from Pitt.

Buffalo Bills - The other team that seems to be the popular pick for Mike in online mock drafts is the Buffalo Bills. After taking QB E.J. Manuel in the first round last year, I think it would make a lot of sense for Buffalo to get him a true weapon in Evans to help his progression as a quarterback.

Detroit Lions - The Lions have been linked to WR Sammy Watkins, and there were even rumors a couple months back of them moving up to take another receiver to pair with Calvin Johnson. A Johnson-Evans combo on the outside would just be unfair. I think it is more likely they look at a defensive back with their pick, but would love for Evans to fall to them.

Mystery Team - Okay this one is kinda lame, but there are a number of teams sitting after the first 10 draft picks that would love to move up and grab Mike. Those include the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, and San Francisco 49ers. One of those teams could make a big move and trade up with, say, Minnesota at #8 overall to grab Mike in front of Buffalo and Detroit.

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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

THE LINKS

SB Nation -- Mike Evans Scouting Report

SB Nation -- Can Mike Evans Balance Passion and Volatility?

Grantland -- Mike Evans is a Quarterback's Best Friend, Cornerback's Nightmare

Be sure to follow Mike Evans on Twitter

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