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.
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