The SideLion NFL Draft Prospect Profile series gives an in-depth scouting analysis of college football players who could be on the Lions’ radar this spring.
Along with cornerback, wide receiver has been a popular pick for Lions in early mock drafts and justifiably so, as the Lions desperately need help at the position. With most analysts predicting Clemson Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins being gone before the Lions make their choice at the ten spot, several, including ESPN’s Todd McShay, have projected Texas A&M’s Mike Evans to be wearing the Honolulu Blue and Silver.
After viewing four games (Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Missouri), I gave Evans a 7.5 grade (mid to late first round). Here’s an excerpt from his scouting report:
Mike Evans – Wide Receiver – Texas A&M
Height: 6046 Weight: 231 40 Time: 4.59e
NFL Comparison: Marques Colston
Prototypical height and weight. Physical; beats press coverage with strength. Strong; capable of dragging defenders to pick up tough YAC. Exceptional hand/eye coordination and body control – can adjust to make acrobatic catches. Reliable hands. Gives good effort as a blocker. Dangerous red zone threat. Highly competitive and tough. Team captain.
Lacks explosiveness – has a slow release. Is not a burner – needs to build up speed. Doesn’t run crisp routes – lacks burst in and out of breaks and needs to gear down. RAC ability is limited by lack of quickness – is not elusive with the ball in his hands. Immature.
Evans, who was a stand-out basketball player in high school, had only one year of football experience before accepting a scholarship to play at Texas A&M. After red-shirting his freshman year, Evans enjoyed two 1000-plus yard receiving seasons before finishing his college career as a Biletnikoff Award finalist and First Team All-American. Evans’ game is built on utilizing his prototypical size to create mismatches versus defenders. While he lacks the explosiveness to create separation as a route runner or be a threat after catch, his basketball player-type skills will allow him to be effective at the next level. Where he excels is in his ability to box out defenders and utilize rare focus, concentration and body control to catch everything thrown his way. His size and reliable hands will provide a huge catch radius for a QB at the next level. Certainly, whichever club drafts him will have to understand what he can and cannot do and game plan accordingly. Raw, mid to late first round possession type, number two receiver with upside.
Evans is a bit of an enigma in terms of trying to figure out what role he would play in the Lions’ offense. His lack of speed does not lend to stretching the field vertically like a traditional X receiver (lined up on the LOS, weak side), and his lack of quickness in and out of breaks could limit the types of routes he would be able to execute underneath as the Y (slot) receiver, (the type of receiver new OC Joe Lombardi seems to be seeking). Still, there’s no denying that Evans has the size, strength and hands to get the job done at the next level. Certainly he is someone to focus on this weekend as his stock could rise or fall several spots depending on how well he does at the combine.