If there were any doubts about Mike Evans’ prospects as an elite NFL receiver, his performance during Day 2 of the NFL Scouting Combine on Sunday surely put them to rest.
At 6’5” and 231 pounds, Evans had both the strength and size to outmuscle press coverage and fight for extra yards after the catch. Still, as Sports Illustrated’s Darin Ackerman notes, there was skepticism about the Galveston, Texas, native’s explosiveness and route running.
However, looking at Evans’ combine results, it’s hard not to like anything about him:
|Height||Weight||Arm Length||Hand Size||40-YD Dash||Bench Press||Vertical Jump||Broad Jump||3-Cone||20-YD Shuttle||60-YD Shuttle|
|6'5"||231 lbs.||35 1/8"||9 5/8"||4.53||12||37"||-||7.08||4.26||11.58|
As expected, the kudos came from every angle.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller touched on where Evans might land in the draft:
Man, Mike Evans has really killed it here. Gotta think he goes top 13 at this stage.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 23, 2014
NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah noted one of Evan's clear assets:
Mike Evans- 6'4 3/4, 231, 35 1/8 inch arms, 37 inch vertical jump. That is an insane catch radius!!— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) February 23, 2014
NFL.com's College Football 24/7 was left in awe of Evan's speed for his size:
If the praise on social media wasn’t enough, Evans was also named one of Sunday’s biggest winners, via NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks.
But to folks who followed Evans throughout his two-year career in College Station, the stellar performance came as no surprise.
Although the majority of the credit for Texas A&M’s explosive offense these last two years—No. 3 in total offense in 2012 and No. 4 in 2013—goes to quarterback and fellow draft prospect Johnny Manziel, a lot of that success wouldn’t have been possible without his favorite target. In fact, more often than not, when Manziel was in a tight spot, Evans was there to bail him out.
After hauling in 82 catches for 1,105 yards and five touchdowns in 2012, Evans did more with less touches the following year, grabbing 69 balls for 1,395 yards and 12 scores.
But Evans saved his best performances for the Aggies’ biggest games. That included clutch showings against Alabama (7 REC, 279 YDS, 1 TD) and Auburn (11 REC, 287 YDS, 4 TD) in 2013.
That kind of play has Evans drawing comparisons to some of the NFL’s top receivers.
“I get a lot of Vincent Jackson comparisons. That’s a great comparison,” Evans told reporters over the weekend, per USA Today’s Jim Corbett. “But I think Brandon Marshall. He’s vicious after the catch, big receiver who can go up and get it, catch it real well.”
It’s easy to see the similarities.
Marshall, who boasts a similar frame—6’4”, 230 pounds—has used his size and strength to take advantage of opposing secondaries. Over the last two seasons with the Chicago Bears, he has accumulated 218 receptions, 2,803 yards and 23 touchdowns to go along with two Pro Bowl appearances.
Where should Evans be selected?
In a league dominated by tall, physical receivers such as Marshall, Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green, every team is on the lookout for the next big star.
Prior to the Combine, the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 15 and Baltimore Ravens at No. 17 looked to be good bets to land Evans. But after his performance, look for a team such as the Detroit Lions (No. 10) to give him a closer look.
Although most scouts view Clemson’s Sammy Watkins as the No. 1 receiver in the class, don’t tell that to Evans.
“There’s a lot of great receivers in this draft, don’t get me wrong,” he said, via Corbett’s report. “But I feel I’m the best one.”
Who doesn’t love that kind of confidence?
Unless otherwise noted, all stats are courtesy of ESPN.