In ESPN’s Todd McShay’s latest NFL mock draft, he has the Detroit Lions selecting Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans with the No. 10 pick. The team is in need of a playmaker to line up opposite All-Pro Calvin Johnson to pose a bigger threat to opposing defenses in the league.
“Evans still has some developing to do as a route runner, and yes, he has some immaturity issues and a tendency to get overly emotional,” McShay wrote on ESPN.com. “But he is an absolute pit bull on the field, and there is no receiver in this draft who is more dangerous when the ball is in the air. Both the tape and the advanced metrics make the case that he is the most proven down-the-field pass-catcher in the 2014 class.”
“The Lions need a difference-maker opposite Calvin Johnson, and Johnson’s leadership and experience could be just what Evans needs to avoid early-career pitfalls.”
It will be surprising to see Evans selected before Clemson star Sammy Watkins, who will be drafted by the Buffalo Bills with the No. 9 pick, according to McShay. Evans, the redshirt sophomore, declared for the 2014 NFL Draft on Jan. 10 after playing just two seasons with the Aggies.
Despite his short lived career at College Station, Evans made the most out of it by receiving 151 catches for 2,499 and 17 touchdowns. 2013 was his most productive year, catching 69 passes for 1,394 yards and 12 touchdowns. Evans was also a consensus All-American in 2013, as well as First-team All-SEC with teammates Johnny Manziel and Jake Matthews.
If the Lions take the risk in drafting Evans despite the immaturity issues, head coach Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff need to take their time in developing him, because Evans would be a huge disappointment if he can’t provide production with his amount of talent. Detroit has had a long list of wide receivers that haven’t panned out in the NFL after being drafted by the team.
Charles Rogers, Mike Williams and Titus Young are a few of the highly regarded wide receivers that couldn’t perform at the same level in the NFL as in college, for a variety of reasons. Detroit already has a number of weapons on offense, and if Evans lives up to expectations he will only boost the offensive talent.