Inside The Bills

Weighing Watkins vs. Evans

Posted by Chris Brown on May 1, 2014 – 2:34 pm

Most NFL talent evaluators have Clemson’s Sammy Watkins as the top receiver on their draft board, but not far behind is Texas A&M’s Mike Evans. We asked NFL Network’s Mike Mayock to compare and contrast their respective games and how they were used may or may not help their transition to the NFL game.

“When I look at those wideouts it’s vanilla and chocolate. They make different flavors for different reasons,” said Mayock. “The Watkins kid is explosive. He’s a great route runner, great hands, tremendous run after catch. More than anything he’s a competitor. In addition to all the natural gifts he has there’s an edge about him when he plays and I love that.

“Mike Evans is more a product of what today’s NFL environment is. With the advent of the back shoulder throw has opened up the game for the big wideouts, the 6’5” wideouts. Why? Because they can basically play outside the numbers. They don’t have to run as many routes and they don’t have to get in and out of breaks like the smaller wideouts, so they’re running a bunch of outside the number routes that become converted back shoulder throws. It’s just a jump ball. Anytime you get a one-on-one with a defensive back with his back turned and you get a big superior athlete and the odds favor the wide receiver. So Mike Evans I think is what today’s NFL is all about. He’s an outside the numbers and red zone guy.

“That being said I happen to think Watkins is a better football player.”

ESPN Monday night football commentator Jon Gruden also feels Watkins and Evans are two receivers whose games do not have much in common.

“I think Evans is a completely different receiver than Watkins, at least on the tape I’ve seen,” Gruden said. “Evans plays on the right side of the formation.  He is in a no-huddle offense.  He plays on the right every play. They don’t switch sides. He doesn’t go in motion. He’s not in the slot. He’s a big X receiver that is a prototype split end, much like Tampa already has in Vincent Jackson, a guy that is a dynamic force when the ball is in the air. He’s a threat to run it after the catch. When he wants to, he can be a dominant blocker.”


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