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Watkins vs Evans? My Scouting Reports!

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

  1. RamsAndEwe Well-Known Member

    Apr 2, 2014
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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.

    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


    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!


    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!


    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
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
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