Mike Evans is that good

November 19th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

Watching the Alabama vs Texas A&M game this year, it’d be easy to write off Mike Evans’ performance as a one off.

But when he keeps doing it — eventually, you just need to accept he is that good.

We’ll hear a lot about Evans’ proposed lack of deep speed, his limited athletic qualities.

It’s getting to the point where I just don’t care. If you draft a 6-5, 225lbs receiver you shouldn’t expect him to be lightning quick. As long as he isn’t a complete slouch, you can live with it.

What he keeps consistently putting on tape is everything you want from a guy his size. He is the perfect receiver for Johnny Manziel. And in many ways he could be the perfect receiver for Russell Wilson.

Manziel runs around like his hair’s on fire. He gets out of the pocket, he buys time. He improvises. And while Wilson is more about controlled chaos, they do share the ability to extend plays when everything seems lost.

Evans is adept at coming back to the quarterback. Some receivers just get it. When the initial call breaks down, it’s scramble drill time. And consistently Evans works his way back to Manziel to make a key grab. He finds a way to get open and provide an outlet.

His jump-ball ability is as good as it gets. Time and time again Manziel just tosses it up there giving him the chance to make a play. And he does. It’s men against boys out there. He goes up, high points the football and makes the big catches.

Evans plays every game like he’s pissed off. His interviews are notoriously curt and to the point. He has a spark to his game, a competitive edge. You want to see that.

And while he isn’t Calvin Johnson and won’t be running a 4.35 — there’s enough tape of him running away from defensive backs to at least feel comfortable with that part of his game.

Danny Kelly at Field Gulls wrote an interesting piece recently about Seattle’s emphasis in training camp on ‘dominating the red line’. Read the article for the details.

Doesn’t it look like Evans fits perfectly with that concept?

In the Auburn game (see above) he had eleven catches for 287 yards and four touchdowns.

Touchdown #1 — yards after the catch on an inside slant
Touchdown #2 — quick hit to the sideline, runs away from everyone for a 65-yard score
Touchdown #3 — more YAC and a nice leap into the end zone to finish the play
Touchdown #4 — another big downfield play in tight single coverage

It’s hard to find fault within his game when you look at the 2013 tape.

Seattle has some big decisions to make in the off-season. Golden Tate is a free agent, Doug Baldwin is a RFA. They’ve already spent big money on Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice’s contract will make for a lengthy debate.

If they keep Tate and Baldwin but lose Rice, it’s still going to be tough to get everyone their touches for the financial outlay.

For that reason, a first round receiver might struggle to have an early impact.

Yet there’s just something so appealing about Wilson having a guy like Evans to throw to. Someone to really put the icing on the cake for that positional group. The explosive playmaking quality of Harvin and Tate. The consistency and edge of Baldwin. And then the height, catch radius and red zone benefit of Evans.

The word ‘unstoppable’ suddenly springs to mind.

Imagine seeing Wilson scrambling around but having Evans as that safety net — coming back to the quarterback. Imagine having him in the red zone, having him running that sideline.

And imagine a defensive coordinator trying to work out who to double cover between Evans’ reach and ability to high point the ball, and Harvin’s pure game-changing physical quality.

Drafting him in round one would be a luxury and it’s unlikely Evans will last deep into the first round (unless he really clocks a slow time at the combine).

But if you’re looking for the next big physical freak of nature who comes into the league and just churns out production — Evans could easily be that guy.

52 Responses to “Mike Evans is that good”

  1. Miles says:

    Would love to see Mike Evans fall to us, but like you say it’s unlikely. His combination of size, strength, hands, and football IQ seems rare. Special WRs typically don’t last very long in drafts…

    But you never know. Robert Woods lasted into the second round last year, and he has played quite well in his first year and will only go up from here with EJ Manuel his QB. I know there’s concern about the Seahawks spending another first round pick on a WR (along with that third and that seventh, oh and the fourth for Harper), but if Evans is there, you can’t not take him. Can you?

    CAN YOU???

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t think I could pass on him. But there’s one or two I feel like that about this year.

    • Attyla the Hawk says:

      This will be an interesting draft to be sure.

      One one hand, Seattle has a proven track record for moving back in the draft, getting their 9-10 picks and building from day 3 forward.

      There is however the precedent that Seattle will move up in drafts to get special talents. While Harvin wasn’t a draft pick, you could equate him to one. We packaged 3 picks in order to secure him. If we feel that Evans is a similar cat, I don’t see us necessarily balking at packaging picks again in order to do the same.

      Not only has the precedent been set for the right kind of talent, but one could similarly make the case that 2013′s record of success, while good in terms of players making the team, has seen a very modest impact on the team thus far. The reality is, we’ve had two drafts where we selected in the bottom third having been a playoff team. And those two drafts have had minimal impact for us as a whole — particularly at the top of the drafts.

      Seattle wants to add difference makers. But it’s also at a point where we need to infuse depth and successor talent to players that are already good for us. Reloading doesn’t mean getting better. It means not getting worse. And you need to make good on as many picks as possible.

      Not having a 3rd round pick this year is tough to make that happen. I would not be surprised in whatever we do (move up or move back or stand pat). I do think we’re going to try to come out with more than 6 picks in the draft.

      I personally think we have sufficient numbers of difference makers on this team. Getting talent to replace some of the second contract players is kind of where this team is at from a roster maturity phase.

      • Miles says:

        I really like this post. I think the Seahawks will be in excellent position to trade back this year. The immediate needs we will have next year can be secured with later picks, particularly early when we’ll be looking for an o-lineman we like. I think Gabe Jackson looks like a pretty good guard prospects and I could see the Hawks trading back maybe 10 picks, picking up that third rounder and taking him or another intriguing guard prospect. This is mere speculation but a scenario like this would set us up well.

  2. Mark says:

    This is what I’ve thought about Evans all along. He is used to working with an improvising quarterback and that is RW’s strength. If he was available, I think he’d be a good addition and conversely I think he’ll struggle in a more conventional offense. I’ve seen anywhere between top 10 to round 2/3 in mock drafts. Of course, the combine will completely change opinion and predicted draft position.

    • Mark says:

      PS, I think Rice was starting to get the scramble drill and developing a rapport with RW. That was why we saw a few big plays from him this year. I don’t think his situation will cause any discussion, I think he’s gone as a cap casualty.

      • Rob Staton says:

        I think ultimately he will be gone, but they might attempt to re-negotiate his deal.

        • Bryan C says:

          If Seattle let’s Rice go, the contract he will get from someone else should be pretty minimal. His production has been low because we simply don’t pass the ball as often as other teams. He is also somewhat injury prone. So, I can really see both the team and Rice working on a deal to keep him.

  3. Michael (CLT) says:

    I am so intrigued with this guy. He could be there late round 1 (32). I must admit I would be intrigued with Manziel in round 2.

    I would be a terrible GM.

  4. SunPathPaul says:

    Evans looks like a good addition to broaden this offensive attack. I also see that whatever team takes Manziel should also go after Evans to keep that chemistry together… Imagine the Jags taking Manziel #1 due to his RW like attributes, and then adding Evans at #33! With Cecil Shorts, Mercedes Lewis, Ace Sanders, etc—they could start scoring some points BIG time! (Add a drafted RB)

    I do see we need one tall WR to Flush out the group of Percy, Tate, Baldwin, and — ………..

    If Rocket the Lockette can step up, who knows!? But another WR/TE would make us crazy DangeRuss! We all ready have the Beast/Turbin/Michael, so no need to add to that group…

    Let’s first envision and accomplish a SuperBowl Victory! Then we can go draft moJo…

  5. kevin mullen says:

    I envisioned what I saw at the last Pro-Bowl with RW to Vincent Jackson. Red Zone, ball on the 5, just a straight jump ball to the back corner of endzone. Whether it’s Mike Evans, Brandon Coleman, or a bigger TE, I would love to add a guy that can really set the post and just grab rebounds, so to speak. We all talk about a guy that can stretch the field vertically, well I want a guy that can grab a pass vertically, as in 7.5ft up above the field. Add this guy to the wish list.

  6. Colin says:

    Evans has some very intriguing qualities. He’s a better runner than he looks, and he’s sneaky quick- he gets going in a hurry. A very intriguing guy, but in some ways he’s this years version of Tavon Austin to me- a guy who looks great to everyone else, but I don’t see it entirely.

    I think he thrives off the great offensive line of A&M- when things break down he’s always coming back for the ball, has amazing high point ability- but how is he in just a conventional sense?

    The Seahawks do many things unconventionally, but it’s easy to forget that they too have requirements regarding height/weight/speed (among other things) at each position. Can Evans create separation in his routes? Is he purely a product of mediocre college defenses and a well oiled offensive machine? All questions that bear answering in the coming months.

    He’s certainly one to keep an eye on, but I’m hesitant to call him a round 1 WR right off the bat, even with performances like this one an Alabama. Let’s give it some time.

    • Carl says:

      He does look very good as a receiver, but it looks like he doesn’t put as much effort into blocking. An example of this is shown in the video at 4:37. Yes, he does block well as a WR, but he stops doing ANYTHING before his QB crosses the goal line. The video shows a couple other half-assed blocks as well. Don’t get me wrong, I like this kid and would love to see him in Seattle, I just want to see him put as much effort into blocking as he puts into receiving.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        This man is a ferocious and tenacious blocker from what I’ve seen.

        He knows how important blocking is.

        I don’t think we saw the same thing. He blocked his man out of the play. When there was nothing the other player could’ve done to prevent the touchdown his part was over. I really really think there is substantial evidence to the contrary of your position.

  7. Phil says:

    I’d love to see Evans in a Seahawk uniform. Speed-wise, I think his combine 40 time will be slower than Mike Williams’ 4.56 who was 6’5″ and 231# then. (But, with Williams’ subsequent weight issues, I suspect that his speed was slower than 4.7 by the time he made it to the Seahawks.)

    Evans’ game reminds me quite a bit of Jordan Reed’s. Reed’s “unofficial” 40 time was 4.72 (at 6’3″ and 236#). I’d be surprised if Evans isn’t faster than Reed.

    For those of you who are wondering, Sidney Rice ran a 4.51, but at 6’4″ and 200 #, his body type is markedly different from Evans/Reed.

    Probably all a moot point — I don’t think Evans will be on the board at #32.

  8. Brad says:

    What about kelvin williams? He’s a big physical wr who plays with a nasty streak and he will probably have a higher SPARQ rating and be available when the seahawks draft.

    • Attyla the Hawk says:

      Do you mean Kelvin Benjamin? He’s a redshirt Soph and I expect he’ll return to FSU. That’s the chatter I’ve heard. FSU is loaded with underclassmen talent. A lot of them could return for a national title run.

      • Brad says:

        That’s the guy. I was talking about. Or perhaps I was combining him with Kassen Williams. I like robs write ups, but I don’t like that he is writing about guys who are out of reach. Its like watching top chef while I’m ordering pizza.

        • Attyla the Hawk says:

          There is nothing wrong with identifying the alpha players. Particularly the why. You can comparatively evaluate other players to that standard.

          Also, the draft season hasn’t heated up yet. Getting a good feel for what looks good now is valuable. What I’ve found, is that by around this time, most of the guys in the 18-32 range tend to fall back about 10 spots come draft time. Any mock you see right now, you may as well artifically assume that the bottom 10 players will be second round picks. Inevitably, there are late risers/combine warriors/Senior Bowl sensations and surprise underclassmen that usurp those last spots.

          I would be looking at players in the 18-25 range right now. Probably half of them will be available at 32.

  9. Brian says:

    I think we need to move on from Rice (for monetary issues) and pick up another big receiver who can make plays in traffic, but it seems unlikely to be a first round guy. Unless you are going to be a pass heavy team like Atlanta it would be crazy to invest so heavily at wideout. (That said, it would be hard to pass up a devastating receiver who would be a perfect fit for Wilson and the other guys in the receiving corps.)

    A TE makes a lot more sense to me, since that lets us move on from Zach Miller and Sidney Rice and pay the younger guys we want to keep. I just hope Austin Seferian-Jenkins doesn’t end up following in the footsteps of Jerammy Stevens.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t understand why anyone would want to move on from Zach Miller. A truly effective and consistent player. Vital too.

      • Brian says:

        Money, obviously. I don’t WANT them to move on from Zach Miller, but neither do I want to lose Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Golden Tate, etc. We aren’t going to be able to keep everybody.

        • Brian says:

          Browner seems like the most replaceable guy.

          But would you say that Golden Tate will be easier to replace than Miller if we have to choose?

          • Rob Staton says:

            I think it’s pretty even to be fair. Miller is very consistent, he’s provided a very valuable option to Russell Wilson. But most of all his blocking ability is ideal for this team. Fairly often you get TE’s that either block well or catch well. Miller really can do both. And with the formations we use and the running schemes, I think Miller is a vital piece of the puzzle. His cap hit actually decreases by $4m in 2014 so I think he’s safe. There are some obvious savings elsewhere IMO.

            • Miles says:

              Yeah. Miller is going to be one of the last guys coming up in cap casualties. His contract is going down over the next couple of years. He also could be the most well-rounded offensive player on this team (he can catch, block, run routes well). For what you’re getting his contract is not even a problem for us, in my view. It’s contracts like Sidney Rice and Red Bryant that are problems.

              We shouldn’t even be talking about cutting Zach Miller. That would be foolish.

              • Phil says:

                I’ll take this a step further and say that we shouldn’t even be talking about drafting a TE. I agree that Miller is an integral part of the team, plus we haven’t seen enough of Willson IMHO. He gets his one scripted play, usually makes a good catch and gains some yards after the catch, then he “disappears” from the offense for the rest of the game.

                • AlaskaHawk says:

                  It wouldn’t hurt to get a really big tight end who can block and catch the occasional pass. Someone who is a true lineman that will open up holes for Lynch and not get pushed around by the DE.

            • Brian says:

              Other than Rice, who do you mean? Red Bryant? Mebane?

              The concern for me is that Bryant is probably both too painful to cut or trade (he doesn’t fit any other teams except Jacksonville), whereas Rice and Miller should both be relatively easy to trade for picks we can try and develop into replacements for them.

              • Miles says:

                No one’s buying Rice’s contract. Miller isn’t going anywhere. It would be very hard to replace what Zach Miller does for this offense.

                • DavidInBellingham says:

                  I think Rice gets renegotiated or cut. As Rice is not likely to get a lot of offers after the injury and low number of catches, I wouldn’t be surprised if he is willing to come back for a lower amount of money. I believe he has invested in Chicken Wing restaurants in the Seattle area.

                  • Bryan C says:

                    IMHO Rice will be back at a lowered contract. Too much for both sides to not make this happen, for the exact reasons you listed. The one obstacle will actually be Rice’s recovery. He never really has been an explosive WR, his knee injury may have taken away the last of that.

              • Bryan C says:

                I think that we see Browner move on unless he accepts a low ball offer from Seattle. The Jaguars are likely to offer big $ for Browner.

  10. Hawkspur says:

    I really hope that Seattle can find a good, tall receiver; we’re pretty well stocked (at this stage) with shorter ones. Even if they draft someone to essentially redshirt.

    It looks like there will be a few quality WRs in this draft. Although, realistically, there could be a few teams looking for one as a matter of urgency (49ers, Panthers, Jets, Rams, Patriots come to mind, undoubtedly amongst others) who will hopefully be drafting before the Hawks. I fear someone like Evans might cost a bit to acquire.

    • Turp says:

      I agree with this as well. There’s probably zero chance we can get Evans with the teams in front of us (well…everyone). Who wouldn’t want a Vjack clone? Too much draft capital to move up for.

      • Phil says:

        Turp, re: “too much draft capital to move up for.” This statement moves me back to earlier this year — before the draft — when JS/PC were saying that with the depth of the then-current Seahawks roster, anyone drafted by the Seahawks would be lucky to make the team. Isn’t this going to be true again this year? I guess there will be some roster spots that open because of cap casualties, but I’m beginning to think that it would be better to bundle some of our picks and trade them for a shot at Evans or some other big WR.

        • Hawkspur says:

          Obviously, it’s early days but I’ve seen a few mocks with Evans in the top 10, in which case you’re probably looking at giving up the 32nd pick of the following draft as well.

          • Rob Staton says:

            Lot’s of different views on Evans. Kiper/McShay have him graded in the late 20′s.

            • Hawkspur says:

              Based on the last couple of first round picks the Seahawks have made, we probably need them to grade him in the 60s if we want Schneider to draft him in the first.

              • Miles says:

                Mel Kiper is alright. McShay is wrong about almost everything.

                • Colin says:

                  McShay has a history of changing his picks simultaneously with various mock drafts.

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    Both of them change their minds on a whim. One week a guy will be in the top ten, then he will sink like a stone. Very little consistency and a lot of contradictions. But I must confess I do enjoy their coverage, because it’s pure entertainment. I think we take things too seriously as NFL draft fans sometimes,.

                  • Colin says:

                    I agree. I like hearing what they have to say about prospects. It’s entertaining stuff and not as stone cold as some like to think it is. It’s refreshing.

                  • Miles says:

                    Rob the draft is very serious…….. :P

  11. dave crockett says:

    I just don’t see how Seattle takes a WR earlyish unless the guy is a Christine Michael-type of jump-off-the-screen talent. Apart from Rice, the current core group is in or entering its prime.

    On the other hand, I could see a late-ish round pick, even multiple, to challenge Kearse.

    I’m still in a bit of denial about Chris Harper. He just needed a redshirt season. I thought we could stash him on the p-squad. Oh well.

    • Bryan C says:

      Just curious, but why are you still on the Harper bandwagon when multiple teams have moved on from him this year? These guys obviously know a lot more than we do and if he is released by both us and the 49ers there is likely a reason. He has seen next to no playing time in GB also.

  12. Hay stacker509 says:

    Rob, side note you need to start keeping your opinions of who the hawks need to draft to your self, j/k. I’m watching the LSU vs Texas A&M and the whole first half the announcers have been saying off and on how awesome beckham is and they just need to get him the ball more and all I keep envisioning is all other 31 teams drafting him. It sucks because your right,the way he plays would be perfect for Seattle. Of course it all depends if we get Tate to stay

  13. Brad says:

    Drafting a WR in the early rounds always comes with tremendous risk. You have Calvin Johnson, AJ Green and Juilo Jones. And then you have every other WR drafted in round one that never panned out. It seems the best you can hope for is a three year project like our own Golden Tate. With that in mind I would almost rather trade a first round pick for Josh Gordon in Cleveland. He is one flunked drug test away from a year long ban, but he is a legit superstar.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think the risk factor with wide receivers is a little over blown, largely thanks to Matt Millen. Here’s an example of some recent first round picks not named Johnson, Green and Jones…

      Demaryius Thomas, Torrey Smith, Dez Bryant, Kendall Wright, Michael Floyd.

      All of those guys are currently in the top-20 ranked receivers this season. It is quite possible to draft a first round receiver later on who becomes a pretty good player fairly quickly.

      I think the issue is people look at a guy like Kendall Wright and scoff, but he’s actually having a pretty good year. Whatever his equivalent is on the offensive line will be perceived as a fantastic pick. Average linemen get praised. Pretty good receivers get ignored.

      Essentially there are busts at every position. But I see no reason to treat wide receivers any differently.