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Monday, February 24, 2014
Mike Evans shows off speed at combine

By Scott Brown

PITTSBURGH -- Sammy Watkins solidified his standing as the top wide receiver in the draft on Sunday by running an official 40-yard dash time of 4.43 seconds at the NFL scouting combine.

The Clemson standout is expected to be gone well before the 15th overall pick of the draft.

Evans
The question for the Steelers is whether or not they will have an opportunity to take Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans with their first-round pick.

Evans has had an impressive combine, though, we don't know how he has performed behind doors in team interviews or if he has any medical issues that might concern the Steelers. Based on everything else, Evans appears to have separated himself from the wide receivers who are jockeying for position behind the transcendent Watkins.

At least for now.

Evans ran an official time of 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash, showing impressive speed for a player who measured in at 6-5, 231 pounds in Indianapolis and also has the longest arms of any wide receiver at the combine.

Evans' 40-yard dash time could push him up draft boards and out of the range of the Steelers, who appear intent on adding another dimension to a wide receiving corps that lacks an established big target.

Speed has been the biggest question with Evans, and he opened eyes with what he posted in the 40-yard dash.

To put his time into perspective consider that the 6-5, 240-pound Kelvin Benjamin ran the 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds, almost a full second slower than Evans.

Evans and Benjamin are probably the top two targets for the Steelers if they use their first-round pick on a tall wide receiver, and there are a couple of things are worth nothing.

The 40-yard dash is just one aspect of the combine, and the combine is only part of what goes into the final grade that the Steelers will assign to prospects prior to the draft.

The draft isn't until May and there are still pro days for the Steelers to attend and homework to do on the prospects that they do like after the combine. In other words, it is way too early to read too much into a 40-yard dash time, though it happens every year or with other physical tests that are conducted at the combine.

What doesn't help the Steelers if they covet Evans: he was considered a high first-round pick before the combine.

Johnny Manziel's favorite target has the size and length that sets him apart from most of the wide receivers in the draft and he was highly productive in the uber-competitive SEC. The combine has confirmed that he has the speed to thrive at the next level, though it's one thing to run fast in shorts and often quite another to play fast in pads.

It will be interesting to see how much Evans has helped himself in the eyes of draft gurus such as ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay when they review the combine.

One thing that appears certain from his time in Indianapolis: Evans did nothing to hurt himself, and he possibly put himself out of reach for the Steelers.