After a stellar pro day, Texas A&M's Mike Evans has a shot at being the first wide receiver off the board in May's NFL draft.
Clemson's Sammy Watkins has widely been assumed to be the most coveted receiver in this class, but that may wind up being a dangerous assumption.
CBS Sports' Dane Brugler let the cat out of the bag by tweeting that there are teams that value Evans over Watkins:
I think Watkins is top WR drafted but don't be surprised if it's Mike Evans. Several teams prefer the former Aggie WR. Had a great day— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) March 27, 2014
That "great day" was heavily attended. Around the League tweeted the numbers:
Johnny Manziel, Mike Evans draw 30 NFL teams to Pro Day http://t.co/amukp1i6ec— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) March 27, 2014
Sure, a few of those teams may not have been there had a certain quarterback named Johnny Manziel not been participating, but any team interested in wide receivers in this draft had every reason to check up on Evans.
Who will have a better NFL career?
As a sophomore with the Aggies last season, Evans pulled in 69 passes for 1,394 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was part of a prolific offense with Manziel at the helm, but Evans' tools along with his production were enough to have him considered a surefire first-round selection.
He solidified that status at the NFL combine. Evans posted a time of 4.53 in the 40 and had a vertical leap of 37". Considering his height, and that he weighs 231 pounds, those numbers are impressive.
Evans left himself little to prove at his pro day, but he still managed to dazzle anyway.
By all accounts, Manziel had a wonderful showing on Thursday. According to NFL.com, the Heisman winner completed 61 of his 64 pass attempts, and he ended his day with this gorgeous bomb, via the NFL's twitter account, to Evans:
Johnny Manziel to Mike Evans. 60+ yards... And a "BOOM!" WATCH: http://t.co/txKppdQGIy— NFL (@nfl) March 27, 2014
Despite Manziel's strong showing, Evans was spectacular enough to leave Fox Sports' P. Schrager wondering if the wide receiver upstaged his quarterback:
Already got one text from a scout on site... "Umm, Mike Evans. Wow." ... Did the TAMU wideout upstage Johnny today?— P. Schrager (@PSchrags) March 27, 2014
Evans showed such a natural pass-catching ability that he drew this lofty praise from NFL.com's Gil Brandt:
Mike Evans has the best hands I've seen since Calvin Johnson.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) March 27, 2014
Watkins may very well still end up being the first receiver taken in the draft, but Evans won't be on the board for long. Teams can never have enough talent at wide receiver in today's NFL, and Evans is a unique talent.
He has the size and hands to be an elite possession receiver. He also has the explosiveness, leaping ability and ball skills to be a huge threat down the field.
When the draft finally arrives, at the very latest, Evans will be off the board by the Rams' second selection at No. 13.
All combine results courtesy of NFL.com's results tracker.