Two young up-starts at the wide receiver position, both poised to be their respective team’s top target in 2015. Mike Evans was the seventh overall selection in 2014 and delivered, scoring 12 touchdowns in his rookie season. Alshon Jeffery was no slouch as he collected 10 touchdowns and become an elite talent in the league. Whom would you choose to add to your roster?
Mike Evans (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- 6-foot-5, 231 pounds = huge target
- Great at boxing out defenders in end zone
- Great leaping ability to get ball at highest point and win jump balls
- Has last second burst of acceleration to beat defenders to the ball on downfield throws
- Young in his development of the route tree, hopefully an offseason has helped
- Slower, not quick off the snap to win route early
Alshon Jeffery (Chicago Bears)
- 6-foot-3, 216 pounds = huge target
- Knows how to get in front of defender on jump balls and win the toss-up throws
- Elite leaping ability, top 5 in NFL
- Long arms and huge hands which means he has a large catch radius
- Not going to beat defenders on go routes, slower off the snap
The Argument for Evans over Jeffery
Evans is a 22-year-old stud who showed the league he was the real deal in 2014. He saw the most targets in the red zone last season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and had 10 more touchdowns than any other player on the team. Vincent Jackson was supposed to be the main man last year, but Evans stepped up and took over and showed what the future holds for the Buccaneers at receiver. Jackson is still on the team, but I expect him to be trade bait next season as the Buccaneers continue to rebuild and want to add picks for the 2016 Draft. The Chicago Bears have new additions in Eddie Royal and Kevin White to take away opportunities from Jeffery. Chicago is looking to go more towards a run-based offense under new head coach John Fox. This will take away throws from Jay Cutler and opportunities for Jeffery. Tampa Bay will often be playing from behind this season and will have to put the ball in the air. Who will be on the opposite end of those throws? Evans is bound to be have even more of an impact in 2015 than his rookie season!
The Argument for Jeffery over Evans
The most important fact here is Jeffery is a veteran and is not going to have to find new chemistry with a quarterback. Cutler is still with the Bears and looked Jeffery’s way often last year, as he was his favorite target. Evans has to get adjusted to another quarterback in rookie Jameis Winston. Having a rookie quarterback will mean up and downs through the season and possible chemistry issues. Speaking of issues, look at the Tampa Bay offensive line entering 2015. They are young and inexperienced, starting two rookies who will need grooming and experience to become decent lineman. Bad offensive line means less time for a rookie quarterback. Chicago will also be playing from behind often this season transitioning to a 3-4 defense, which means more throws to Jeffery. Kevin White has also yet to be 100% healthy and may struggle to get on the field. Jeffery will again be a fantasy force in 2015!
Would You Rather Draft Decision:
Mike Evans (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
The potential for higher production goes to Mike Evans for two big reasons.
#1 – Evans has less people to fight for targets with than Jeffery.
- Evans will face two competitors for opportunities: Vincent Jackson (wide receiver) and Austin Seferian-Jenkins (tight end). Jeffery faces four competitors with Eddie Royal (wide receiver), Kevin White (wide receiver), Martellus Bennett (tight end) and Matt Forte (running back). Now with a run-based offense, Cutler will make less throws and Jeffery isn’t the only target. Winston will force throws this year and Evans will be the one seeing those opportunities.
#2 – Teams in Division
- The Bears will face three solid defenses twice each this season. Green Bay’s pass rush and secondary will make it difficult, Mike Zimmer’s Minnesota Vikings are up-and-coming with young talent at every position group, and the Detroit Lions are no slouch with their 4-3 pressure defense. The Buccaneers will only see one great defense in the division and that is Carolina. They will face a disappointing New Orleans defense that has yet to find an identity and a defense that is transitioning from a 4-3 to 3-4 defense in Atlanta, which takes time.
Don’t be afraid of a rookie quarterback in Tampa Bay. Winston will have his ups and downs, but Evans is a huge target that he will go to often. Go with Evans and watch the young phenom become an elite wide receiver in 2015!
If you have a “Would You Rather Draft”, send a message to @Shep_Collins and Dan Collins may pick yours to debate in an upcoming article. You may ask to stay anonymous during your message and for the article. I’m here for you to answer your questions.