After previously looking at Sammy Watkins and Marqise Lee, our scouting reports for potential New York Jets draft picks reach the third and final first round lock at receiver, Mike Evans. Evans is the player most commonly given to the Jets in mock drafts at this early stage of the offseason, and there is no doubt that the Jets would strongly consider him if he were to be available at No. 18.
Watkins has a prototypical blend of size and speed, while Lee is a smaller, more precise player. Evans offers a different style, as he is a big, physical, red zone type of receiver. Evans stands 6’5″ and weighs 225 lbs, and it is safe to assume that he will add muscle to his frame in the NFL. Evans has 4.6 speed, a solid figure for a player of his size. His 40 time at the combine will be something that teams are very interested in, because added speed could make him a top 10 prospect.
Evans only played two seasons at Texas A&M, but he was very productive as Johnny Manziel’s favorite target. Evans caught 82 balls for 1,105 yards and 5 TDs as a redshirt freshman, and then came up with 69 receptions for 1,394 yards and 12 TDs this year. Evans averaged a ridiculous 20.2 YPC this season, and his size and leaping ability make him a solid deep ball threat. Evans also uses those skills and his basketball background to win jump balls in the red zone, and his presence in that aspect of the game would be a huge boost to an undersized Jets receiving corps that wasn’t particularly effective this year.
Evans has very good hands, and with his size, length and leaping ability he can catch anything in his general vicinity. The concern, however, is whether or not Evans can create separation against NFL cornerbacks. His route running definitely needs work, and his lack of quickness doesn’t help things. His physical nature allows him to routinely make contested catches that would be difficult for other receivers, but there is definitely concern that it won’t work as well at the next level.
If things go right, Evans could become an outstanding possession receiver and red zone threat at the next level, and many see him as a potential Pro Bowler. If Evans struggles to improve his route running and ability to create separation, however, he won’t be able to reach his potential. Evans has a higher ceiling than Lee, but he also has a much lower floor. That risk could push the Jets in Lee’s direction if they are both an option.
Make no mistake, if Watkins and Lee are off the board at No. 18, I think the Jets will take Evans with zero hesitation. He would immediately become the best receiver on the Jets, and drafting him would absolutely be the right thing to do. That being said, it is important to understand the risks that come with Evans. He is definitely high on the Jets’ list, but he should remain behind Watkins and Lee for now.