In another portion of our 'Draft Prospects' series, we take a look at another first round prospect in wide receiver Mike Evans from Texas A&M. At 6-foot-5 and 231 pounds, Evans is the large wide receiver the Ravens have been coveting since the departure of Anquan Boldin after the 2012 season.
What is surprising about Evans is his speed. Usually thought of as a slower possession receiver, Evans unmasked good speed at the NFL combine by running a 4.53 40 yard dash time leading people to think that he could be a more well rounded receiving option that can run a full route tree and be a #1 receiver for a team.
Evans makes his money by fighting for the ball in traffic. Some of that is due to his inability to run crisp routes and some of that is due to a lack of agility. He tends to keep his hips really tight which will give away which direction he is going that will be picked on at the professional level unless corrected. Evans has great hands and uses proper technique to keep the ball away from his body. He uses his height and weight advantage well to manhandle cornerbacks both at the point of the catch and afterwards, but with some refining, he could become a better route runner that would be a serious weapon in the mold of Vincent Jackson or Andre Johnson.
Given the Ravens' desire to rush the ball more and be more physical, there is a need to a receiver that will not only catch the ball but can also engage with corners and safeties and drive them out of the play. After watching tape on Evans, he attacks the defense and looks for people to block while having a real mean streak.
Evans has a temper on him and will absolutely be a liability with penalties if riled up by a savvy corner. He uses it well during his play to match his physical attributes and be a mauler but will need to be more relaxed as a professional. He is reported to have some diva qualities about him but those can be slightly attributed to playing with Johnny 'football' Manziel. Having a veteran receiver in Steve Smith would do well for Evans in learning how to stay calm after the whistle while still using his swagger for positives.
Evans is a player that would immediately come in and be a #2 on most teams. With some proper coaching and a more physical offense, he could be a game changing weapon that uses his freakish physical attributes to dominate. However, he could also continue to develop an attitude with some serious negatives that ends up being a distraction. With a strong coaching staff and veteran leadership in the locker room, he should be able to be controlled.