Updates from Tuesday, Aug 19
Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News has the latest on Evans:
Jets fourth-round rookie WR Shaq Evans tweeted that he's undergoing shoulder surgery today. (Rex said few weeks ago IR is possibility) #nyj— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) August 19, 2014
Rex Ryan later confirmed that Evans had surgery today (via Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press):
Rex confirms that rookie WR Shaq Evans has had season-ending shoulder surgery today. #Jets— Dennis Waszak Jr. (@DWAZ73) August 19, 2014
Shaq Evans, a rookie wide receiver with the New York Jets, reportedly suffered a severe shoulder injury during training camp.
The injury was reported by Eric Allen of the Jets' official website:
Rex Ryan says rookie WR Shaq Evans' shoulder injury looks "severe." Evans could be headed to the IR.— Eric Allen (@eallenjets) August 5, 2014
Evans was a fourth-round pick by New York in the 2014 NFL draft out of UCLA. He wasn't as highly coveted as the top receivers in the class, but Evans showed potential at the NFL Scouting Combine with a 4.51-second 40-yard dash and 34.5" vertical jump.
Following the draft, Gil Brandt of NFL.com offered his thoughts on the potentially dynamic receiver:
The Jets need receivers, and Evans is a talented one. He's also fast. He ran the first 10 yards of the 40-yard dash at the combine in 1.47 seconds -- that's truly flying. Evans, who racked up 107 catches in his last two years at UCLA, will catch the crossing routes. He's strong and has good size, with a body build that is reminiscent of Michael Irvin. Like many young receivers, Evans is just an average blocker.
Though Evans wasn't able to remain on the field due to his injury, he showed flashes of his ability on the field during practices. Dennis Waszak Jr. of The Associated Press notes one play where Evans shined earlier in camp:
Nice long TD bomb from Boyd to Shaq Evans, who best Brandon Dixon and catches it in stride into the end zone. #Jets— Dennis Waszak Jr. (@DWAZ73) July 26, 2014
If Evans is placed on the injured reserve, the Jets still have other targets who can be utilized. With Eric Decker now considered the No. 1 receiver and Jeremy Kerley on the opposite side, both quarterbacks have two targets to find down the field.
The quarterback competition in New York is still raging on, but one less wide receiver might be in the fold. Evans missing time could mean a lot for the offense but puts even more focus on the stout defense—a weight it had to carry much of last year.
After a season where Geno Smith and the passing game struggled in 2013, the need for depth at the position is crucial. The Jets finished with 2,932 passing yards last season, which ranked ahead of only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the league.
Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.