We have already looked at Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, and now we will look at his teammate and Manziel’s number one receiver in college, Mike Evans.
Manziel and Evans are the two players being linked with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the most with the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Receiver is a position of severe need for the Bucs and if they draft Evans they will have a dynamic one-two punch at wideout along with Vincent Jackson, who is seen as the most comparable active wide receiver for Evans in terms of skillset.
Below are the highlights of Evans’ scouting report, provided by our good friends over at www.withthefirstpick.com, so please go check out their scouting reports of many of this year’s top prospects.
Vitals and Build
Evans is listed at 6’5” 225lbs and has good quickness and a great first step. His speed is solid but not overwhelming, but what makes him stand out the most is body control. He is an incredibly fluid player for anyone, let alone someone of his size. The sky appears to be the limit on where Evans can go physically.
Route Running and Technique
Evans has a good stance and a great first step that allows him to immediately put opponents off balance. He uses his hands to win at the line of scrimmage as teams will try to press him to avoid having him beat them with raw speed. Evans is aggressive and can jolt opponents as they just have trouble getting to his body and slowing down his momentum. Evans has some habits that seem to be unique to him in why they work. Because of his height and strength, Evans is never afraid to go outside when he goes up the field and seemingly give up real estate as he runs near the sideline. It works because he seems strong enough where he can come back and fight for space inside when he wants to do it.
When it comes to underneath routes, he really does show impressive strength when he plants his leg into the ground and explodes over the middle of the field as he turns and looks for the football. He is not afraid to attack right at the defender and put pressure on them, using his hands to help create space when he makes a cut and giving him breathing room to make space.
Evans does respond well to plays breaking down and has shown a good sense of when and where he should attack the defense that gives his quarterback a place to throw the ball.
Evans has natural hands and impressive body control that enables him to go up and contort his body to make difficult catches. His catch radius is large but may get even bigger with more experience and reps as a receiver going forward. Between his leaping ability and his size, as long as his quarterback throws the ball up, he is a threat to go get it. He rarely allows the ball to get into his body and really trusts his hands when he goes to catch the football. The other area that allows Evans to be so effective is how well he focuses on the football as it is in the air. It is remarkable how easily he is able to see find and track the football down the field. Whether bodies are flying around or he is working near the sideline, he uses his body control to put himself in great position while tracking the ball extremely well to go and make a play.
In terms of his ability to track the football and high point it, Evans is second to none. The one area that will show up as a problem for Evans is passes that are low. He is a completely different player when passes are at the shoulder or above, but when he has to go down and make catches whether it be bending down to make them or trying to slide, he is not nearly as comfortable as there have been a number of missed opportunities there as a result.
Run After Catch
Evans is able to make the adjustment from catching the ball to running with the ball in his hands really well. He is able to make a move immediately and make an opponent miss after he catches the ball. Between his acceleration and lateral agility, he is able to do more than a lot of bigger receivers because he is so fluid. His overall speed is above average but he is not winning many foot races when opponents have an angle. What allows him to win is that great first step after the catch. Evans seems to be able to get to his top speed in only a few steps. In addition to having quickness and speed, Evans has a ton of power and is not afraid to use it. He will lower his shoulder and power into an opponent and drive forward to pick up additional yardage as well as sending a message. Evans also has a devastating stiff arm and throws it at opponents like a punch, which has allowed him to break a number of tackles
Evans has the size and strength to be a terrific blocker as a receiver and he will bring effort and look to dominate opponents. He does a good job of locking on to the opponent and then driving them off of the ball and there are a few situations where if a whistle did not stop him, he would have been able to put a defensive back in the team’s bench.
His technique is solid and he does a good job of working to secure blocks and then switching to strength rather than trying to de-cleat opponents with the first shot.
For Evans’ complete scouting report, please click here.