The Detroit Lions sans Calvin Johnson mustered a pitiful 9 points against the Green Bay Packers. Against the Minnesota Vikings, the second worst pass defence in the entire National Football League, Matthew Stafford passed for 43 yards in the first half. That's a whole 30 minutes of football and just 43 passing yards. They finished the game with 13 points and failing to score a pivotal touchdown with every drive.
The Lions wide receiver corps contains a generational talent in Johnson, an overpaid receiver who has been mediocre for most of his career in Golden Tate and nothing much else.
Step forward, Mike Evans.
He's a 6'5, 231lbs with 35" arms which gives him an unmatched catch radius compared to every other receiver in this class. He is powerful, he is a reliable catcher, he can get you yards after the catch, he can block and contrary to popular belief he possesses the speed to succeed at this level. His repertoire covers almost every facet of NFL wide receiver play and there is no way, if I'm the Detroit Lions, I pass up on him and put my fan base through a repeat of those harrowing 30 minutes against Minnesota.
A lot of fans and general managers may talk themselves out of drafting Evans and I have to think it's because of this permeating fear that he won't be able to get separation at the next level. This is a legitimate concern. He's not Calvin Johnson and he doesn't burst off the line like a Brandin Cooks but getting separation is not just about speed and it's a skill every receiver has to work on. Jim Caldwell will be salivating at the prospect of moulding Evans into his kind of wide receiver, and being a stout offensive mind who has been a wide receivers coach early in his career, Caldwell is certainly a man who can get the best out of him.
Do the Lions need a safety? Yes. Do the Lions need a cornerback? Yes. Does any corner or safety in this class possess the ability to have a greater impact than Evans should they both reach their full potential? No chance.
Is there any better position for a rookie wide receiver in the NFL than across from Calvin Johnson? What a fantastic situation from Evans' point of view as he'll often face single coverage against a team's #2 cornerback. Matthew Stafford is an archetypal gunslinger so there'll be plenty of opportunities for Evans to make highlight reel catches and put up good numbers.
Evans is the best player available and just happens to fill quite a significant need for the Lions. The pick is extremely beneficial for both the player and the team. Evans brings a lot to the table but perhaps what is most pertinent is what he doesn't bring - and that's excuses. Matthew Stafford will have no excuses next season as the Lions yearn to improve on their 7-9 record. The array of offensive talents at his disposal, combined with an aggressive young defense, leaves him in an enviable position in the rather uncertain NFC North.
One final reminder of Evans' talents, the unadulterated destruction of the Alabama Crimson Tide, for your viewing pleasure:
1 Houston Texans (Imp) - Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville - [Explanation]
2 St. Louis Rams (starship 007) - Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson - [Explanation]
3 Jacksonville Jaguars (sports00fan00) - Jadeveon Clowney, DE, SC - [Explanation]
4 Cleveland Browns (InHinkieWeTrust) - Johnny Manziel, QB, TAMU - [Explanation]
5 Oakland Raiders (SleepingDuck) - Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo - [Explanation]
6 Atlanta Falcons (jimmyrustler) - Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn - [Explanation]
7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (AnthroEagle) - Blake Bortles, QB, UCF - [Explanation]
8 Minnesota Vikings (pot) - Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA - [Explanation]
9 Buffalo Bills (wow4444) - Jake Matthews, OT, TAMU - [Explanation]
10 Detroit Lions (kamjam) - Mike Evans, WR, TAMU - [Explanation]
11 Tennessee Titans (NowWhat?) -
12 New York Giants (Anthony DiBona) -
13 St. Louis Rams (ILL Eagle) -
14 Chicago Bears (JerkyBoy) -
15 Pittsburgh Steelers (KJ Brophy) -
16 Dallas Cowboys (Patrick Wall) -
17 Baltimore Ravens (rohan915) -
18 New York Jets (del.champion) -
19 Miami Dolphins (HD) -
20 Arizona Cardinals (NCeagle) -
21 Green Bay Packers (ablesser88) -
22 Philadelphia Eagles (jhn) -
23 Kansas City Chiefs (PeaceVT) -
24 Cincinnati Bengals (deg0ey) -
25 San Diego Chargers (StoneColeKiller58) -
26 Cleveland Browns (P_Roach17) -
27 New Orleans Saints (bebin) -
28 Carolina Panthers (MikeKafka) -
29 New England Patriots (Amateur_Hour) -
30 San Francisco 49ers (AndyMcNabb) -
31 Denver Broncos (dceagles) -
32 Seattle Seahawks (eagles0132) -