One name we know will surely be called called early in the 2014 NFL Draft is wide receiver Mike Evans. The former Texas A&M star has been in talks with a few teams in the last 48 hours, one of them being the New England Patriots. As a wide receiver deficient team, the Patriots should give long thought and planning into the possibility of trading up in the first round to draft Evans.
Most NFL analysts have Evans going by the middle of the first round at the latest. There is great reason behind that approach to Evans’ projected pick. He is 6-foot-5, 231-pounds which is only five pounds lighter than the one they call “Megatron,” Mr. Calvin Johnson. He also just ran a 4.53 40-yard dash at the combine. That’s incredible speed for a guy of his size.
His performance at the combine doesn’t even tell the whole story of his greatness throughout college. Last season as a red-shirt sophomore, Evans had 1,394 receiving yards on 20.2 yards per catch — both numbers good for 7th in the country. In fact, he was No. 1 in yards per catch among wideouts with at least 1,000 receiving yards. His best game came in a 45-41 loss to Auburn, the national runner-up, in which he had 11 catches for 287 yards and four touchdowns.
Along with Evans, the best wide receivers in this year’s draft are Brandin Cooks of Oregon State, Odell Beckham Jr. of LSU and Marqise Lee of USC. All four can assuredly get selected before the Patriots are on the clock with the No. 29 overall pick of the first round. Everyone besides Evans also has the capability of dropping to the Patriots, but that’s unlikely.
If the Patriots are serious about taking a top-tier wide receiver to bolster their receiving corps, trading up would make the most sense. They did talk to Evans recently, so they have already shown interest in him and must know he will be long gone by their turn to pick.
Julian Edelman is also slated to be an unrestricted free agent next week, and if he is unsigned, that will leave the Patriots primarily with Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Danny Amendola. Miracle picks can happen in the draft (see: Tom Brady) but the Patriots would like to get another Super Bowl victory in Brady’s twilight years. Trading up to get Evans would take them one step closer to achieving that goal.