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Watkins vs Evans? My Scouting Reports!

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by RamsAndEwe, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. RamsAndEwe Member

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    A multitude of words in a myriad of articles have been written this offseason extolling wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans talents. This article will contrast Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins in detail, emphasizing how each player would fit in with the Rams. The Rams have a stable of second and third tier wide receivers. The Rams don't need a another third tier receiver! If the Rams draft a wide receiver in 2014, Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins are the only two who make sense.
    I watched every game Mike Evans played in 2012 and 2013. I scouted every game Sammy Watkins played in 2013. Let's look at Sammy Watkins first.


    Sammy Watkins (20 years old) 6'1" 211 , 4.43 40 and 34 inch vertical. Arm length 32 inches.
    History- Sammy Watkins had an amazing freshman year, followed by a two game suspension and a disappointing sophomore year, and finally a fantastic junior year. Sammy Watkins caught 101 passes, for 1464 yards, and 12 touchdowns in 2014.

    Sammy caught over 50 percent of his passes within 6 yards of the line of scrimmage. Clemson utilized Sammy Watkins on reverses, bubble screens, and many quick hitters, in order to exploit Sammy Watkins elusiveness. Watkins averaged about 8.5 yards after the catch. Watkins is not as elusive or fast as Tavon Austin, but Watkins has better hands than Tavon Austin, and is harder to bring down after contact. Sammy has fantastic body bend, allowing him to curve his body around defenders to make the catch. If Sammy Watkins was 6'5 270, he would make a great pass rushing DE, because of his Mighty Quinn like body bend. Can you dig it? Watch Sammy's last game!



    Although Clemson used Watkins extensively in the short passing game, Watkins runs the entire route tree well, and he is very dangerous over the top and along the sideline. Watkins weakness is catching passes 8-16 yard passes over the middle. I wouldn't describe Sammy Watkins as a possession receiver. Yet, Sammy Watkins maximizes his 6'1" height, caching many passes at their apex, utilizing his hands perfectly. Ironically Sammy needs to learn to hold on to the ball after the catch. Solid hits after the catch can dislodge the pigskin from Sammy Watkins possession.

    Initial Sammy Watkins vs Mike Evans comparisions- They have equal hands. Both receivers are fantastic at catching the ball at it's Apex. Yet, because of Mike Evans 4 inch height advantage, 3 inch arm length, and 3 inch vertical leap advantage it would appear that Evans can catch the ball 10 inches higher than Sammy Watkins. Mike Evans is hands down the best receiver in the draft at catching jump balls. More on that later.

    Watkins excels in the short pass game, where Evans excels further down the field. Watkins is more a more polished route runner than Evans, yet I believe Mike Evans is smarter, more inexperienced, (very quick learner) and he will learn the entire NFL route tree. Watkins can bend his body better than Evans, yet Evans has a superior field awareness, and has a bigger body for defenders to get around. Watkins' superior body bend helps him catch passes near the ground better than Mike Evans. Mike Evans is better at fending off defenders hands than Watkins on contested passes.

    Sammy Watkins has a very quick release, thus he can beat press coverage, but if a Cornerback like Richard Sherman gets his hands on Sammy, then Watkins can be stifled and taken out of his pass pattern. Mike Evans is a tenth of a second slower than Sammy Watkins,, but Evans is very physical and aggressive punching cornerbacks and pushing off to gain separation. Mike Evans will get the occasional pushing off penalty called on him.

    Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins gain separation in totally different ways. Watkins gains separation via his burst of speed, cutting ability and body bending around defenders. Evans gains separation by positioning his body between the defender and the receiver. Evans will have more contested catches than Watkins, where as Watkins will get open more often. Yet, Evans is the best player in the draft as catching contested passes. Johnny Manziel depended on it! More on that later.

    Intelligence- NFL wide receivers traditionally have the lowest Wonderlic scores of any position. I don't know Watkins or Evans scores, but I know Mike Evans has more brain power than Sammy Watkins. Does that matter? Yes, because Evans can find the open areas on broken plays and he understands the strategy of getting into an opponents head. Although less experienced than Watkins, Evans learns faster.

    Knocks and predictions on Sammy Watkins- Sammy Watkins needs to improve on catching contested passes, and it would be nice he worked on catching passes, coming across over the middle. Although Sammy is a decent blocker, he is no where near as great a blocker as Mike Evans. Other than that, Sammy doesn't have very many weakness.

    Sammy at his best, reminds me of a shorter version of AG Green. I believe Sammy Watkins will catch more passes and have more total yards than Mike Evans in his rookie year. Yet, Mike Evans will score more TD's and have an higher average yardage per catch. Sammy Watkins is a true #1 WR and I would be fine with the Rams drafting him at #2.
    [​IMG]



    If you are still reading this article, take a deep breath, and think Basketball. Why? Because Mike Evans plays football like a basketball player. Mike majored in basketball at Galveston Ball High School, and is relatively new to football. Oh yeah, Evans caught 25 receptions for 648 yards and 7 TDs as a High School senior, and averaged 18.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game, his senior basketball year. He often plays pickup games with Johnny Manziel! They are the Dwyane Wade and Lebron James of College Station rec centers. Enough backstory for now.

    I watched a bunch of tape from 2012 and 2013. I specifically paid attention to Evan's stat weak games, such as the Missouri game Where Evans caught just 4 catches for 8 yards. Yet, Evans wasn't anemic as you might think against Missouri. What did I see?

    Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
    Height: 6-5. Weight: 231 , 35 1/8 inch arms
    40 Time: 4. 47...Vertical leap 37 inches

    Mike is a big WR. He has the frame to add another 8 pounds, topping off at 239 lbs. Mike is very strong, and doesn't fold under press coverage. ( Can't wait to see Sherman on Mike Evans). Mike Evans has a 37 inch vertical leap. Mike likes to use his hands to block and ward off defenders on routes. Let's move to the tape. Let's start with Mikes shittiest game. And I watched the entire game twice. Every offensive snap. Texas A&M vs Missouri.

    The Setting- By the end of the season, opposing defenses were playing safeties and cornerbacks deep against A&M. Why? To stop big plays, and force long multi play drives. Another thing. Johnny Football had an injured thumb on his throwing hand for the last 3-4 games of the regular season. The last thing you must know is, A&M ran the ball a lot against Missouri, and A&M had 4 other receivers who can catch the ball well. Anyway, Evans didn't drop any passes. Evans was overthrown on a bomb that would have been a TD. All 4 of the passes Evans caught were very short, and he was swarmed immediately. Think Seahawks vs Denver

    Let's get down to the Nitti Gritty. Evans is the best blocking wide receiver I have ever seen at the college level! I never saw Evan's man make tackle on the running back or Manziel! Evans blocks out cornerbacks like a basketball player. Evan's pushes off with his extremely long arms, and screens the defender off with his wide body. It's not vicious. Contraire, Evans displays extreme court awareness. Evans will glace quickly over his shoulder at the running back, so that he can place his body in perfect blocking position. Very impressive blocker. And God knows the Rams could use receivers with downfield blocking skills.

    Evans doesn't know the entire NFL route tree. Yet, all phases of Evan's game improved between 2012 and 2013. In 2013 Evans only dropped 4.29% of balls thrown his direction. Compare that to Marquis Lee's 12.31%. Ouch!

    Mike Evans is very good at coming back to the QB and catching the ball at it's highest point. With a 39 inch leap tacked on to his 6'5" body, Evans will come back towards the QB and screen out the defender, with his large frame and jump ball! Evans gets open like a basketball player too. Evans cuts well for a big guy, and often lulls the defender to sleep. Like a small forward, he will suddenly cut, and turn of the speed and burn the defender for a lay up.

    Evans is at his best, on extended plays, once the initial route is run! His basketball skills serve him well past the 3 second mark. Evans has a knack for finding the open spots in a zone. Again his basketball court awareness serves him well. Especially with a scrambling QB like Johnny Manziel. We don't want the 49'ers or the Seahawks to draft this guy!

    Evans likes to use his hands to push off, or punch the defender
    . He's got a mean streak. If a defender tries to put his hands on Evans, Mike will slap the defender's hands away. Evans was more physical than any defender he faced at the college level. I think Evans will get some pushing off penalties called on him at the next level, but he will also draw a bunch of fouls ( defensive pass interference) penalties. Because he will bait defenders into crawling over his back, the way he screens them out with his body.

    Speed- Evans ran a 4.47 40 time! He leaps 38 inches vertically. Evan's has long legs and so he looks slower than 4.47. Yet I didn't see many defenders catch Evans, once he was off to the races. Evans can out run faster 40 guys after the 25 yard mark. 30 yards downfield Mike Evans is still speeding up. He's got gliding speed. And so quick cornerbacks often find themselves chasing Evans's on long passes. Watch Evan's vs Alabama

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wl2OfgKbEBs

    Route Tree - Evans is a relative football newbie, and so his route tree is limited. James Lofton is training Evans. Evans runs solid post and corner patterns. Solid go patterns. He could work a little on the fade pattern. I noticed improvement in his sideline awareness from 2012-2013. I'm sure Evans is practicing his tip toe drill with James Lofton. His curl and comeback patterns are very good. Slants could use some work. Evans can cut well, but he rounds off many of his patterns. Update- Evans demonstrated on his proday, that he's capable of running the entire NFL Route Tree, and his cuts were sharper.

    Yards before and after the Catch- Evans averaged a whopping 20.3 yards a catch in 2013. His best games were against Alabama (279 yards) and Auburn (287 yards) and 4 TD's. I know! Right? Mike averaged 7.63 yards after catching the ball in 2013! Mike's a big boy and he can break tackles! I repeat he can break tackles! He can also leap. Watch this 8 second video!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUDgytgxTtM

    And the Alabama game, 3 min video- Watch for Mike out leaping Ha Ha Clinton Dix . Notice Mike's gliding speed, Jump ball skill, on field awareness, and his knack for coming back to the QB. Evan's is always a threat over the top!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wl2OfgKbEBs

    Pros- 6'5" 231 size, Fantastic Blocker, Low drop rate, Field Awareness- finds open spot on extended plays, catches ball with hands, Catches ball at highest point, Smart, Very physical, uses entire body to screen of defender, cut's like a basketball player, hard to tackle, very difficult to press cover, sneaky, hates losing, team player and he averaged over 20 yards a catch. Although a project, Mike improves quickly. Mike Evans is only 21 years old!

    Cons- Will get some pushing off penalties, occasional unsportsman like conduct penalties, rounds off routes, will have to adapt to two feet in bounds.

    Project Mike is a bit of a project. He just needs to learn the rest of the route tree and make sharper cuts. I know project leaves a bad taste in Rams fans mouths. Mike is already better than Quick, Pettis, and Givens. And Mike has a high trajectory. Mike learns fast. . ( remember Mike dropped only 4% in 2013).

    Pro Day, Les Snead got to watch Evans up close and personal. Mike Evans helped Johnny Manziel have the best Pro Day, of any QB in the draft. If you watched game tape of Evans or his Pro Day, you know Evans is a deep threat! The Manziel to Evans combination drew many owwhhh's and ahhhh's as well as applause. from a crowd including President George Bush.

    Would Watkins or Evans add more to the Rams? Both Evans and Watkins are only 20 years old. The Rams have a history of drafting young players. Remember Robert Quinn. On the other hand Khalil Mack is 23 years old! But I digress.

    Sammy Watkins plus Tavon Austin would give the Rams two electrifying wide receivers. Watkins fits in with the Rams recent penchant for a short passing game. Yet the Rams lack a superior big and tall wide receiver like Evans. For Mike Evans to be the better pick, Sam Bradford will have to be willing to throw the ball up for grabs to Mike Evans. Mike will come down with the majority of jump balls. Even against Richard Sherman. Since Bradford doesn't extend plays by scrambling very often, that automatically takes away Mike Evan's incredible ability to find the open spot on broken or extended plays. Mike Evans fits in better with Russell Wilson's style of extending play. Pray to God that the Seahawks don't get Evans. Yet Mike Evans could block downfield for Tavon Austin and other Ram threats. At this moment in time Stedman Bailey is the Rams best blocking wide receiver. We could really use a bad ass blocking receiver. Outside of Bailey our receivers are pitiful downfield blockers.

    My final thoughts. Because of Sam Bradford's quarterback play I would place Sammy Watkins slightly a head of Mike Evans. If our quarterback was Russell Wilson I would grade Evans higher than Sammy Watkins. The Rams can trade back as far as 4 and probably get Watkins, and back to 8 and get Evans. I love both picks.

    My Rams Big Board
    1. Jadeveon Clowney
    2. Sammy Watkins
    3. Mike Evans
    4. Jake Mathews
    5. Khalil Mack
    6. Johnny Manziel
    7. Greg Robinson
    8. Justin Gilbert
    9. DT- Aaron Donald
    10. TE- Eric Ebron
     
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    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  2. NJRamsFan Cocaine Cowboy

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    Great post! Up until recently I had Sammy Watkins as the best Wr in the draft, but have since (after a ton of film) changed my mind. I get what you are saying that Sammy Watkins fits better with the current state of the rams offense, but I think Evans would add a new down field element we are sorely lacking. Would love to see Evans out there bullying Sherman.
     
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  3. RamsAndEwe Member

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    I hear what your saying NJRamsFan. My ideal WR scenario is trading back to Minnesota at 8 and taking Mike Evans. Why? This is Sam Bradford's big year to prove he's a true top 10 QB. If Sam proves he's top notch then he will adjust his game to throw jump balls to Mike Evans. I see Mike Evans as a cross between Jimmy Graham, Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson. If Sam Bradford fails, then I want the Rams to draft a QB who can extend plays like Russell Wilson, and Mike Evans is a deadly compliment to a scrambling QB. He is like a tall Wes Welker, finding the empty spots in a defense. I'm not saying that Evans runs as precise routes as Wes Welker. Yet he has Welker's knack for finding empty spots.

    If your like me NJRamsFan, then you feel the Rams should draft and adapt offensively to an ever changing NFL. Rule changes have made the Quarterback the King, the Wide Receiver Queen ordering Left Offensive Tackles to Rook edge rushing knights, while guards and running back pawns advance across one step at a time, only to be devoured by the Bishop of linebacker or cornerback.

    My biggest fear concerning Sammy Watkins rhymes with Tavon Austin! Sam Bradford can't throw short curl passes to these dynamic playmakers, because opposing defenses will swarm Watkins before he turns around, like they swarmed Austin last year. If we get Watkins, Sam Bradford and the Schotty must get Watkins and Austin in the ball in space, heading at high speed toward the other teams goal line!
     
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  4. RamzFanz Well-Known Member Pit Boss

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    If Rams get a trade down AND Watkins or Evans...

    ...nice.
     
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  5. PhxRam The Estimated Prophet

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    That my friends is how you bring it..

    Great post cindy.
     
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  6. MTRamsFan Montana is God's Country

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    Very Nice Post!
     
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  7. RamFan503 Grill and Brew Master

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    Very nice work on the post. While I'm not totally in agreement on your big board, it certainly wouldn't hurt my feelings if we got any of those top 5.
     
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  8. Elmgrovegnome Well-Known Member

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    I feel like I just read a 'Vote for Mike Evans' campaign speech from his biggest fan. There is a lot of persuasive speaking and general speculation being passed off as factual (Evans is Smarter? Please. A donkey can run down the field and push someone out of the way and catch a pass). Plus the fact that you watched every A&M game really makes me believe that you are a Texas A&M homer.

    I am not high on either WR being picked by the Rams but if I had to choose one it is Watkins. Evans only gets separation when he pushes off. He was totally shut down by some average to good Corners. He reminds me of Mike Williams in that he is huge and good at high pointing the ball. If he adds another 18 lbs as you say that will put him in the 240 range and there has never been a successful NFL receiver at that weight. Teams shy away from receivers that heavy and that is why they are souring on Kelvin Benjamin.

    I think I prefer the Rams get a WR later if they want one. There are a few guys that they could choose to improve depth on the roster but the whole needing a #1 WR is overblown. Green Bay doesn't have a #1 and hasn't for a few years. New England doesn't. Miami does and what did it get them. The true #1 WR is a combination of WR/Offense/Chemistry/QB and teams win without them.

    If Evans becomes, in the NFL, all that you say he is in college then he should be very good, but I don't call him Great based on his college play. I don't think many people would. The Rams may like him because he plays the way Jared Cook was supposed to for the Rams. Only thing is Cook is not physical. So maybe they are still looking for that guy. I think Evans fits well with a scrambling QB, which isn't what the Rams have. In fact on busted plays Sam usually just checks down where Kaepernick and Wilson like to force the ball downfield. So, what works for one team may not work for another.

    I am never overly critical of the players the Rams pick. I do get ticked when I feel they passed, or accepted trades that seemed like bad ideas to begin with. But when it comes to the players I don't really know their strategy or what they think they see in a guy.....Brian Quick is a good example......so I just sit back and wait. The draft is a crap shoot and being vociferous for one player is not my thing.
     
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  9. Stranger How big is infinity?

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    great post even if one doesn't agree with it. Glad to see the makeup of this forum diversifying.
     
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  10. Memphis Ram Well-Known Member

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    Didn't read your entire write up, but it seems to me that the physical play and blocking of Evans makes him a better fit for what the Rams were doing last year. And if the goal is to score more points, who better to have in the redzone than a player with his LARGE catching radius.
     
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  11. RFIP Well-Known Member

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    I believe firmly that history will show it will be 2-3 years before Evans makes a major impact.

    I don't put him in the 'Quick-sand" mind you, he's played at a major college after all but I don't see him getting seperation and for those who think they will just play jump ball with him in the NFL I would say see how long it to V Jax...the Rams simple don't have the time to sit him next to Quick...and Givens...and Pettis until he's ready to play.
     
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  12. RamFan503 Grill and Brew Master

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    I dunno Elm. I'm not saying she has no A&M bias going but so? I'm a Duck homer but it really doesn't change how I view players. Maybe a little being that I have seen most of the Ducks games and I know what several Ducks players do in real game situations vs a highlight reel.

    I have heard several times that Evans is very smart - especially for a receiver. Not sure if it's true but I it seems to be somewhat common knowledge about the guy. She also has Watkins ahead of Evans on her board - especially for the Rams.

    We all have the players we like. And though I thought it also was very positive on Evans.... so? There are a lot of others that actually have Evans as a better prospect than Watkins. Does that make them homers too?

    Personally, if the Rams don't take one of the top two WRs, I don't really want us taking any. But that is based on my limited info - not what info Snead and Fish have at their finger tips. I watch what Evans does and frankly, there is a case to be made for him being a better prospect in that he seems to do more downfield to help his QB. Watkins catches a lot of balls that frankly will not be available against NFL talent. You are not going to get that many quick outs to a receiver in the NFL. And if you do, there is little chance he is going to burn the defenders for 15 yards a clip like what you see out of Watkins in college. So while Watkins seems to be the better receiver, IMO, questions about the offense he played in and how he translates to the NFL are legit.
     
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  13. NJRamsFan Cocaine Cowboy

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    Exactly, I believe a big reason why Sam has been so conservative is because he hasnt had a WR he trusted to consistently win in 50/50 ball situations. Mike Evans can be that guy, I think he could actually take Sam's game to the next level by making him less conservative and willing to throw the ball down field more often. This would effectively "take the top off the defense" allowing more room for Tavon to operate underneath and Zac Stacy to do his work.

    I think your comparisons of Jimmy Grahm/Antonio Gates/Vjax are spot on, which is a great thing. We've seen how much they take advantage of defenses with their size/speed combination. They are all Phenomenal red zone threats as well. Evans, Tavon, and Cook all on the field is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.

    These two write ups you've done are fantastic BTW, hope you plan on stopping by more often!
     
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    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
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  14. LesBaker Mr. Savant

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    Someone make sure Flipper gets to read this........ :whistle:

    (see what I did there?)
     
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  15. Ramhusker Well-Known Member Pit Boss

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    Good job. I'm definitely warming up to the "Texas A&M" draft strategy. Give me Mathews and Evans in the 1st round and I just might buy a cowboy hat!
     
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  16. Alan Well-Known Member

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    Sound reasoning here Ewe but I remain unconvinced we should go WR with our first pick. Matthews and Ha-Ha would be my preferences. Still, I don't see how we could go wrong with either of those WRs.

    OT, FS, CB & OLB not only fill our highest priority holes, there is also is great value there too. Especially after a trade down or two.
     
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  17. RamsAndEwe Member

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    I talked more about Mike Evans in my article, because there is more Watkins info out there then Evans info. Watkins is a stereotypical super receiver. I felt Mike Evans needed more description. He plays like a basketball player. Given a choice at #2, I would draft Sammy Watkins before Mike Evans because I feel Watkins is a better fit for the Rams. Unless Sam is cool with throwing long throws up for grabs, then I lean towards Evans.

    I've never seen Sam Bradford throw jump balls to Quick or Pettis, so I doubt, and can not predict Sam Bradford's willingness to toss jump balls to Mike Evans. In fact I don't think Sam would do it enough to value Evans over Watkins. I would pick Sammy before Mike.

    Yet, I feel we could get a better extra draft pick or picks with Evans than Sammy. Am I making sense? For example. if we moved back to 4 we might get a an extra 2nd round pick, and still grab Watkins. But if we moved back to 8, I'm surely get more than a 2nd round pick, and we would still nab Evans. I'm just probing possibility's.

    Would you rather have Watkins and an extra 2nd round pick? OR, Evans and an extra 3rd round pick this year, and the Vikings first round pick next year? It's all about cost benefit analysis!
     
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  18. Rambitious1 Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely awesome post!
    I like your your thoughts here.
    You bring up some good points concerning Evans.
    Evans could be that big target Sam needs down in the red zone to become the QB most of think he can be.
     
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  19. RamsAndEwe Member

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    I will publish another article tomorrow or Monday, on why it makes sense that Fisher has avoided drafting offensive linemen in the first round. I don't have time to explain my hypothesis now, but I can tell you right now, I SneadFish to draft WR's and defensive personnel before offensive linemen.

    If the Rams draft Johnny Manziel from pick #7 and beyond, I will not cry.

    I like Jake Mathews better than Greg Robinson for many reasons, but I will give you just one....Jake Mathews is a better pass blocker than Robinson, and the NFL is a passing league. A great running back averages 5.0 yards a carry. A crappy quarterback averages 6.5 yards per passing attempt. If we draft an offensive lineman with our first pick...Give me the pass blocker!
     
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  20. Stranger How big is infinity?

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    Where have you been hiding, Ewe?

    Gentleman, I think class is in session :)
     
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