Right or Wrong, 40-Time Will Impact Texas A&M WR Mike Evans' NFL Draft Stock

By Rick Stavig
Mike Evans
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans has seen his ridiculous success coincide with the ridiculous success of his quarterback, Johnny Manziel. One could paint the picture that Manziel’s success has been because of his star receiver, or that Evans is a byproduct of his QB. Or you could even give credit to second-year head coach Kevin Sumlin.

All of that doesn’t matter. Evans and Manziel will be gone after this year, with overwhelming odds of them declaring for the 2014 NFL Draft. Both are widely viewed as first-round talents, but where they’ll go in the first round is the big question.

Manziel is looking more and more like a top-10 QB, but where exactly in that top-ten he’ll go will be decided by how the draft order shakes out. He doesn’t have the size or arm strength you look for in a franchise QB, but he’s clearly got the “it” factor you look for on the field.

Evans is a little harder to gauge. His production? Remarkable: as a freshman last year, he hauled in 82 receptions for 1,105 yards and five TDs, and this year he’s erupted for 48 receptions for 1,101 yards and 11 TDs. And just think, he’s still got four more games left. His size? At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, he’s absolutely gigantic for a receiver, nearly the same size as Calvin Johnson. His speed? There’s where his draft stock will be decided.

Evans has good, not great speed. He’s been rumored to have run a sub-4.5 40-yard dash, but there’s also rumors he’s run in the 4.7’s.  In the football world, two-tenths of a second can mean the difference of millions of dollars.

What’s the difference between those times, in terms of the NFL Draft? If he runs a 4.49 or better, he’ll go top-10, maybe even top-five. If he runs in the 4.5-range, he’ll probably go in the middle of the first round. 4.6 or worse, he could very easily fall out of the first round entirely, justly or not.

Look, don’t blame me, but 40-times carry a lot of weight to an awful lot of NFL personnel men. There’s a lot of guys, like me, who think the speed of play on the field, and not necessarily the speed in a straight, 40-yard line ahead while wearing compression shorts, is the more important factor. But not everyone who makes Draft Day decisions agrees with that. Many guys live and die by tenths of a second on a stopwatch.

Bottom line is that what Evans runs will have a huge impact on where he goes in the NFL Draft. Whether thats right or wrong is another discussion, but regarding it’s impact on Evans, it’s real.

Regardless of what time he runs, or where he goes in the NFL Draft, I think this kid is the real deal. If you don’t believe me, just watch him go against the most NFL-like collegiate team Alabama, who’s defensive schemes and personnel are as close to professional as it gets. What does he do against the vaunted Crimson Tide defense? Seven receptions for 279 yards and a TD.

Forget the 40-time, this guy is legit.

Rick Stavig is an NFL Draft Columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickstavig or add him to your network on google.


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