2015 NFL DRAFT

2014 NFL Draft: Mike Evans' stock rises with Williams trade

By Derek Harper | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

Is Tampa Bay eyeing Mike Evans with its pick at No. 7?   (USATSI)
Is Tampa Bay eyeing Mike Evans with its pick at No. 7? (USATSI)

More NFL offseason: Mock Drafts | Prospect Rankings | Pro days | Top free agents

The biggest winner out of Friday's trade of wide receiver Mike Williams to the Buffalo Bills could ultimately prove to be Mike Evans.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were aggressive in reshaping their roster under new general manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith, and were set to enter the 2014 NFL Draft with plenty of directions they could go with the No. 7 overall pick. In dealing Williams, however, the Bucs now have a clear need for a playmaking wide receiver opposite Vincent Jackson.

NFLDraftScoutcom's Rob Rang projects the Bucs to land Clemson's Sammy Watkins at No. 7, but there figures to be plenty of jockeying in front of Tampa Bay come draft day for the most dynamic wideout in this draft. Fellow analysis Dane Brugler projects Watkins to the Oakland Raiders two picks earlier, and a number of teams could be interested in leapfrogging the Bucs should Watkins still be on the board.

That could bring Evans into play with the seventh pick. At 6-feet-5 and 231 pounds, Evans would team with Jackson (6-5, 230) to give new starting quarterback Josh McCown the type of super-sized combo he excelled with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in Chicago last season. Smith also helped bring Marshall and Jeffery to Chicago as head coach of the Bears.

Evans, the second-rated wide receiver and No. 13 overall prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, is a long-strider who has been compared to Jackson by NFLDraftScout.com since last year due to his combination of size, physicality and body control. Some scouts believe Evans helped "make" Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, and the redshirt sophomore has increased his stock since the end of the season - highlighted by his 4.53-second 40-yard dash time he was credited with at the Scouting Combine.

There is little doubt the Bucs will target a receiver earlier in the Draft. Of the other six receivers they have on the current roster, only Louis Murphy has more than two years of NFL experience, and the sixth-year veteran caught only six passes for the New York Giants last season.

--With the official release of Chris Johnson on Friday, the Tennessee Titans are in the market for a featured running back. There is no back in this class that warrants the No. 11 overall pick Tennessee holds, but there is an intriguing group the team could pick from with the 10th pick in the second round.

Rang currently projects the Titans to select LSU's Jeremy Hill, a back "capable of starring on all three downs." Hill is NFLDraftScout.com's fifth-rated running back and No. 76 overall prospect. Also in the second-round mix could be Auburn's Tre Mason, Ohio State's Carlos Hyde, Washington's Bishop Sankley and Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey, who was the top-rated back in this class before poor showings in the 40-yard dash since the end of the season.

 
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