After putting together a respectable 8-8 season, the Jets have many questions to answer this offseason. If Rex and his staff decide to stick with Geno Smith at quarterback, they will need to go out and find offensive weapons. Many analysts feel that Gang Green will be looking to draft a receiver or tight end in the first round. Two intriguing options are receivers Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin. Both receivers put together excellent seasons and show promise in the NFL. Both receivers benefitted from playing with stellar quarterbacks. Lets take a look at both prospects and analyze their pros/cons.
Mike Evans: Wide Receiver Texas A&M Redshirt Sophomore 6'5" 225 lbs.
What first jumps out about Evans is his size. In simple terms he is massive. Coming out of high school, Evans was praised for his ability on the basketball court. This translates into his style of play where he attacks the ball on point in leaping situations. He uses his large hands to snag the ball with ease. Evans was able to physically overpower smaller receivers during his career at Texas A&M.
He runs fairly clean routes that are sometimes deceivingly sharp. He has the ability to create separation from receivers, but needs to become more consistent at doing so. Evans' size has helped him become a solid blocker in the run game. He has the ability to lock up and drive defenders with his long arms.
Numbers don't lie... Evans has put together an impressive career during his tenure at College Station. As a redshirt freshman he caught 82 passes for 1105 yards and 5 touchdowns. During the 2013 campaign Evans caught 69 passes for 1394 yards and 12 touchdowns (he averaged a staggering 20.2 yards per catch).
Evans needs to work on his speed at the next level. He seems to possess average speed for a big bodied receiver, but with proper training he can become more explosive. He needs to perfect his acceleration in order to pull away from man coverage. He is a very inconsistent route runner. Evans must work on running each route to perfection. The big bodied receiver needs to learn to shift his weight on his cuts in routes and jukes. He sometimes relies too much on his size in situations. An athletic corner can beat him if he continues to do so.
Mike Evans is a prospect that leaves a lot to be desired. Scouts love his size and big play capability. In a short time with the Aggies, he has proven that he is worthy of being a first round pick. If he works on his speed and effort he may develop in to an NFL star.
Kelvin Benjamin: Wide Receiver Florida State Redshirt Sophomore 6'5" 234 lbs.
With all the hype surrounding Florida State and Heisman Quarterback Jameis Winston, there has been one player who has been helping the Seminoles all season long; Florida native Kelvin Benjamin. The redshirt sophomore has become a hot commodity after a strong 2013 campaign that ended with a national title.
Coming out of high school, Benjamin received a four star rating from Rivals.com. Despite only playing three years of high school football at Glades Central, Benjamin received much praise for his size and instinct. During his redshirt freshman season, Benjamin hauled in 30 passes for 495 yards and 4 touchdowns. This past season Benjamin caught 54 passes for 1011 yards and 15 touchdowns. He has established himself as one of the best redzone targets in college football.
His size is impressive. Standing at 6'5" and weighing 234 pounds, Benjamin is a force to be reckoned with. His leaping ability is almost unparalleled. He has long arms that contribute to impressive catch radius. He uses his long legs to easily stride down field and make big plays. Like Evans, Benjamin attacks the ball at its highest point and secures it with ease. He also is a solid blocker who uses his size to create mismatches and open running lanes. Given his size and physicality, Benjamin is not an easy runner to bring down after the catch.
Similar to Evans, he is not the best route runner or burner down field. Benjamin is a very raw player with lots of room to grow. Evans has shown that he has been a threat since day one, while Benjamin really came on to the scene this past season. Benjamin has also shown a lack in athleticism. In the past he's put on weight in the offseason. Benjamin also is has an issue consistently securing passes. He drops some easy passes.
Benjamin certainly has the ability to be a first round pick, however he must put the work in this offseason to shine in the NFL. If he can work hard and learn from coaches, Benjamin will be a stud on Sundays.
Outside of Evans and Benjamin there are many excellent options at receiver/tight end (Ebron, Amaro, Watkins, Davante Adams, etc.). Evans seems to have a slight edge over Benjamin, but we can only speculate on who will be the better NFL receiver. Who do you feel is the better prospect? Sound off and offer other draft options as well!