Texas A&M’s Mike Evans is most explosive WR in NFL draft


(AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins will likely be the first receiver taken in the 2104 NFL draft, and for good reason. The speedy wideout shows good patience with the ball and can create yardage on his own downfield (10.3 yards after the catch in 2013). Plus, Watkins tracks the ball extremely well and has gifted hands.

“That’s as fine a receiver as I’ve seen in a long time,” former Bears general manager and Bucs director of player personnel Jerry Angelo said.

But if teams want an “explosive” receiver, perhaps they should look at Mike Evans from Texas A&M.

Evans, Johnny Manziel’s go-to target at Texas A&M, has everything you could want in a receiver: speed, size, strength and athleticism. He knows how to use his body to get separation from a defender and, as a former basketball player, won’t lose too many jump balls.

According to Stats X-Info analysis of select 2014 NFL draft prospects, no pass-catcher had more receptions gaining 25 or more yards (“explosive plays”) in 2013, and only Odell Beckham Jr. from LSU and Kelvin Benjamin from Florida State saw a higher percentage of their receptions result in a first-down conversion or touchdown (“clutch receptions”).

Player Rec Yds TD Explosive Plays Clutch Receptions Expl% Clutch%
Mike Evans, Texas A&M 68 1369 12 24 51 35.3% 75.0%
Brandin Cooks, Oregon State 128 1730 16 21 76 16.4% 59.4%
Odell Beckham Jr., LSU 57 1117 8 18 48 31.6% 84.2%
Davante Adams. Fresno State 131 1719 24 18 73 13.7% 55.7%
Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt 112 1477 7 18 56 16.1% 50.0%
Sammy Watkins, Clemson 101 1464 12 17 56 16.8% 55.4%
Allen Robinson, Penn State 97 1432 6 15 65 15.5% 67.0%
Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State 54 1011 15 13 45 24.1% 83.3%
Cody Latimer, Indiana 72 1096 9 11 50 15.3% 69.4%
Marqise Lee, USC 57 791 4 7 33 12.3% 57.9%

“At his size, testing out as an explosive athlete, [Evans] fits perfectly in today’s NFL,” ESPN’s Mel Kiper said.

More on the 2014 NFL Draft:

Michael Sam may not be drafted and it has nothing to do with him being gay

Wide receivers a scary proposition in NFL draft

Cleveland Browns shouldn’t wait on a QB in NFL draft

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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