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Shaq Evans: 2014 and Beyond

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Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

It is a truth Jets fans have repeated over and over. In what might have been the greatest collective rookie season ever at the wide receiver position, the three wide receivers the Jets drafted combined for zero receptions. Shaq Evans was one of the three. In fairness to Evans, he was placed on injured reserve during training camp with a shoulder injury. From reports, though, Evans seemed to be struggling to the point that him landing a roster spot was very much up in the air.

Because of a strange rule, Evans was not able to participate in rookie minicamp or OTA's. He had no graduated from UCLA yet so he could not practice with the Jets.

That might explain his struggles partially, but reports out of a minicamp he actually was able to attend and early in training camp were not promising. It sounded like he was having trouble performing basic aspects of the position. There were reports of drops against air.

With that said, all of this amounts to a bunch of bad practices. Plenty of rookies get off to really slow starts. Jace Amaro reportedly struggled early in training camp and went on to have a decent rookie year. These rookies go through a lot. They're adjusting to a new city, new teammates, a new playbook. The competition is a lot better than anything they have faced. Evans was gone for the year before getting to even play a preseason game.

I kind of liked Evans as a prospect coming out of UCLA. I think it's way too early to close the book on him becoming a decent pro. One thing I must note, though, is that I always felt his ceiling was as a supporting part possession receiver. Even if he becomes an adequate second or third option I'm not sure he will make people question the handling of receiver in the 2014 Draft any less.