The Oakland Raiders will be on the clock with the fifth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, and it is appearing that they will likely take a receiver.
Both Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans have been on their wishlist over the last few weeks, but most analysts have expected that Watkins would be their preferred target.
According to ProFootballTalk, the Raiders might actually prefer Texas A&M’s Evan if they get the choice between the two at number five.
“As one league source who is as connected on matters of the draft as anyone explained it to PFT, the Raiders are believed to prefer Evans to Watkins. The question becomes whether both are still on the board at No. 5, and whether the Raiders choose to pick a receiver.” – Pro Football Talk
It’s a surprise to hear, as Watkins has usually been thought of as the easy pick over Evans when the two are lined up next to each other. Evans has shown the ability to be a deep threat and possession receiver, and his NFL-ready body could be the reason that many teams are beginning to consider him along with Watkins as the draft draws closer. The Raiders have been about speed in recent year dating back to late owner Al Davis, so drafting Evans over Watkins would certainly be a change of pace.
Evan had a huge season for the Aggies last year, catching 69 passes for 1,394 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has the size at 6’5″ to be an absolute nightmare for any NFL defender, and still has the speed to make plays down the field. Watkins on the other hand is much smaller at 6’1″, but is definitely the quicker player and better in the open field. The Raiders are looking to find a receiver that can grow alongside and be their future number one option, and that likely would be either one of these guys.
Overall, the Raiders are going to have a very difficult decision to make if both players are on the board at #5. Watkins is the more usual Raiders pick, but Evans could be a perfect fit for a young, rebuilding offense to build around. The Raiders are going to be a very intriguing team to watch this evening, and it wouldn’t be too surprising to see them try to trade back either.