One had to assume that, upon the departure of DeSean Jackson, the Eagles would find themselves attached to any number of the impressive wide receiver prospects expected to be selected in the upcoming NFL Draft. According to Tony Pauline of Draftinsider.net, Philadelphia may have their sights set on arguably the premiere player at that position.
Mike Evans/WR/Texas A&M a top 10 pick but to whom?? Right now looks like possibly Rams, Ravens or Eagles via trade: http://t.co/z5CcVs1OlO
— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) April 11, 2014
Mike Evans, who was Johnny Manziel’s primary target last season at Texas A&M, has established himself as a top talent in the upcoming class and a frightening combination of size, speed, hands, and explosiveness. Chip Kelly and the Eagles have already had Evans in for a visit, and are apparently quite fond of the 6’5″ target. Though I cannot speak for the collective Philadelphia fanbase, a jump up to get the player that would most likely have the biggest impact on the team of any prospect in the draft on the offensive side of the ball would make the Jackson saga a distant memory.
Trading up high enough to select Evans might be tricky for the Eagles. With only six draft picks at their disposal, one would have to think future selections and even players would be on the table to match the efforts of other teams (Pauline mentioned Baltimore and St. Louis). Clemson’s Sammy Watkins has established himself at the top-graded player at the wide receiver position, but the colossal Evans might be a more attractive player to a team like the Eagles than even the dynamic Watkins.
Yesterday, we discussed what would go into the Eagles making a move to acquire Dion Jordan and some of the pitfalls that might come along with it. Though the price for Evans would most certainly be steeper than it would for Jordan, I would feel more comfortable overpaying slightly for an incoming rookie with the potential of Evans than doing so for a player with experience, even just one season, with another NFL team and locker room. Evans is only 20 years old and already comparable physically to some of the top pass-catchers in the league. He led the SEC in receiving touchdowns (12) last season and turned in a pair of 250+ yard performances against the likes of Auburn and Alabama.
When Evans declared for the draft, he was considered to be a mid-first round pick who could find himself on the fringe of the top-10. After his spectacular showing at the combine and the fact that he somehow managed to stand out during Manziel’s pro day, Evans has seen himself almost exclusively among the top players selected in a very strong draft class. Evans does not possess the sort of ‘quick-twitch’ ability that players like Watkins and Oregon State’s Brandon Cooks, another player linked to the Eagles, do. What he does bring to the table is a catch-radius that is among the top percentile of players already in the NFL, a combination of jumping ability and long arms that allow him to ‘high point’ passes when engaged with defenders, and a big play ability that saw him make some of the nation’s elite defenders look pedestrian against the Aggies.
If there is a player in this draft I would consider a ‘perfect’ fit, Evans would have to be one of the names I would have to consider. He played in an offense that requires wideouts to block downfield and extend their routes. He is a physical receiver who makes his mark by outmuscling defenders for balls or blowing by them with deceptive speed. While he may not have the elite acceleration that Watkins does to gain separation off the line, Chip Kelly‘s motion-heavy offense would provide Evans with the extra second necessary to get open early. Evans is young, athletic, and an imposing presence on the field. Essentially, this receiver is Kelly’s dream prospect on offense and to see the Eagles make a play to try to bring him into the fold would not surprise me.