Receiver Mike Evans is leaving Texas A&M, and the redshirt sophomore projects as a first-round pick (Scouts Inc. grade: 90) after catching 151 passes for 2,499 yards and 17 touchdowns over the past two seasons.
At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Evans is an aggressive competitor who excels in 50-50 situations. The former standout high school basketball player boxes out defenders underneath and makes plays with defenders draped over his back. His frame, strength, body control and wide catching radius make him a nightmare matchup in jump ball situations.
That competitiveness shows up in other areas as well. He's fearless working the middle, he's a powerful open-field runner who can break tackles after the catch, and he's an effective blocker who can engulf defensive backs.
Evans takes more time to reach his top-end speed than elite playmakers. He isn't going to run by many NFL corners on go routes or away from NFL pursuit after the catch. That doesn't mean he's speed deficient. He has enough to get downfield when he gets a clean release and he can pick up a chunk of yards when he gets a seam after the catch.
The biggest concern is his ability to separate. He doesn't show great burst transitioning out of beaks and he's still developing as a route-runner. However, there's reason to be optimistic he'll continue to develop as a route-runner. He played only one year of varsity football in high school and he has made strides over the past two seasons. Evans' ability to make contested catches weakens concerns about his ability to separate.
His physical style of play and frame will likely draw comparisons to Chicago's Alshon Jeffery and Kansas City's Dwayne Bowe. Carolina, Baltimore, Buffalo, Jacksonville and the New York Jets are a handful of teams that could be in the market for that kind of a big playmaker on the outside.
Evans' battery mate, quarterback Johnny Manziel (Scouts Inc. grade: 90), will reportedly declare for the draft, and Evans' announcement appears to give credence to that report. Manziel risks hurting his high draft stock if he returns to Texas A&M after losing his top playmaker.