Mock Draft Monday: Philadelphia Eagles Select WR Mike Evans Over CB Darqueze Dennard

 Every Monday between the Championship Monday until the May 8th NFL Draft, Section 215′s Tim Kelly will run a simulated mock draft using Fansided’s mock draft tool. The goal of the mock drafts is to try to give fans an understanding of which NFL prospects have the best opportunity to be wearing midnight green next fall. 

The idea of the Eagles taking a wide reciever with their first-round pick in this year’s NFL draft, when they already have DeSean Jackson under contract, and the chance to re-sign at least one of their two free-agent wide recievers (Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin), almost seems like a waste to me. It would be one thing if the Eagles didn’t have holes in their secondary, or linebacker corps, but Billy Davis’ defense could stand to be upgraded.

I think Chip Kelly has an understanding that while he would love to handpick another skill position player with a high-level pick, that he needs to be successful on both sides of the ball. If he doesn’t, then general manger Howie Roseman does. Unless a miracle happens, and Texas A&M Wide Receiver Mike Evans falls all the way to the Eagles at the 22nd pick, which would be nothing short of a miracle. Yet, that’s exactly what happened in my first simulation.

ALL PICKS
1) QB TEDDY BRIDGEWATER
HOUSTON TEXANS
2) OT JAKE MATTHEWS
ST. LOUIS RAMS
3) DE JADEVEON CLOWNEY
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
4) WR SAMMY WATKINS
CLEVELAND BROWNS
5) OLB KHALIL MACK
OAKLAND RAIDERS
6) DE STEPHON TUITT
ATLANTA FALCONS
7) TE ERIC EBRON
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
8) QB JOHNNY MANZIEL
MINNESOTA VIKINGS
9) G CYRIL RICHARDSON
BUFFALO BILLS
10) WR MARQISE LEE
DETROIT LIONS
11) OLB ANTHONY BARR
TENNESSEE TITANS
12) ILB C.J. MOSLEY
NEW YORK GIANTS
13) OLB KYLE VAN NOY
ST. LOUIS RAMS
14) DT RA’SHEDE HAGEMAN
CHICAGO BEARS
15) OT GREG ROBINSON
PITTSBURGH STEELERS
16) DT TIMMY JERNIGAN
DALLAS COWBOYS
17) WR JORDAN MATTHEWS
BALTIMORE RAVENS
18) WR ALLEN ROBINSON
NEW YORK JETS
19) OT CYRUS KOUANDJIO
MIAMI DOLPHINS
20) QB BLAKE BORTLES
ARIZONA CARDINALS
21) OT ANTONIO RICHARDSON
GREEN BAY PACKERS
22) WR MIKE EVANS
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
23) WR DAVANTE ADAMS
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
24) ILB SHAYNE SKOV
CINCINNATI BENGALS
25) DE KONY EALY
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
26) QB DEREK CARR
CLEVELAND BROWNS
27) CB DARQUEZE DENNARD
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
28) WR ODELL BECKHAM JR.
CAROLINA PANTHERS
29) DT EGO FERGUSON
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
30) WR KELVIN BENJAMIN
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
31) CB JASON VERRETT
DENVER BRONCOS
32) OT TAYLOR LEWAN
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Evans, projected by many to be a top-10 pick in May’s draft, was Johnny Manziel’s favorite target at Texas A&M over the past two seasons. Like Manziel, Evans was red-shirted as a freshman. Unlike “Johnny Football”, Evans wasn’t a lifelong football player. Rather, Evans didn’t play varsity football until his senior season, when he exploded onto the blue-chip landscape with 750 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.  That was enough for him to be recruited by an elite football program in Texas, which made the smart move of red-shirting him for his freshman academic year, and allowing him to become more familiar with the game of football. That move worked out just a little.Evans would be overshadowed by the insanely fun lightning-rod that is Johnny Manziel, but truth be told, Manziel never would have been “Johnny Football” without Evans. Over the course of the next two seasons, Evans would catch 151 passes for nearly 2,500 yards, and 17 touchdowns.  He was named Freshman All-SEC in 2012, First-Team All-SEC in 2013, and was a consensus All-American this past season as well.

Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans were arguably the best Quarterback-Wide Receiver duo in the NCAA over the past two seasons.

After only two seasons of college football, Evans is entering the draft. Many are somewhat scared by the fact that he has played competitive football for just four years (one of which he was only a practice player), but his elite production speaks for itself and should be enough to to realize that Evans is worth the slight risk that his inexperience comes with. If his production doesn’t do enough to overshadow his limited experience in your mind, maybe the fact that he compares well to Plaxico Burress in his prime, will. Not only does Evans have solid hands and above-average speed, but he also brings a physicality to the table, as he is 6’5, 225. He would be like Riley Cooper, only an inch or two bigger, and a better athlete.

All of that taken into account, the chances that Evans does fall out of the top ten aren’t high. In the nine other simulations I did, Evans didn’t make it past pick 11. Assuming that happens, trading up 11 or 12 picks, when you still have DeSean and the option to keep a poor-man’s Evans in Cooper, might not make sense. By some miracle if he falls to pick 14 or 15 though, Howie Roseman better be on the phone trying to pull the trigger to move up and select Evans.

Again though, even the simulator only had Evans falling this far once. An interesting candidate who fell to number 22 four times out of 10, was Michigan State Cornerback Darqueze Dennard. Dennard is projected to go around 15, but if him and Evans were both on the board, it would be interesting to see what the Eagles would do. Dennard fills a long-term need better than Evans does, but Evans has a higher ceiling than Dennard.

I’m not saying that Dennard couldn’t be a very above-average corner,and end up better than either Cary Williams or Bradley Fletcher, but Evans has superstar receiver potential. Selecting Dennard may make the Eagles a more complete team in the short-term, but four or five years down the road, I think the Eagles would regret not taking Evans because he could serve as the perfect compliment to DeSean Jackson. Drafting either will likely require trading up, not sitting at the number 22 pick.

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Tags: Darqueze Dennard Mike Evans Philadelphia Eagles

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