TAMPA — Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans, often linked to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in mock drafts, was described as a Vincent Jackson clone Tuesday by former Bucs coach Jon Gruden.
In an ESPN conference call, the “Monday Night Football’’ analyst talked about the similarities in size (both 6-foot-5) and skill between Evans and Jackson, Tampa Bay’s veteran receiver who has topped the 1,000-yard mark in each of his two seasons with the team since signing as a free agent from San Diego.
Clemson’s Sammy Watkins and Evans are generally considered the top wideout prospects in the May 8-10 draft, with Watkins expected to be off the board when the Bucs select at No. 7.
“I think Evans is a completely different receiver than Watkins, watching him on film,’’ Gruden said. “Evans was on the right side of the formation every play. They (the Aggies) don’t switch sides, he doesn’t go in motion and he’s not in the slot.
“He’s a big ‘X’ receiver that to me is a prototype split end, much like Tampa already has in Vincent Jackson, a guy that is a dynamic force when the ball is in the air. He can go get it, he’s a threat to run with it after the catch and when he wants to, he can be a dominant blocker.’’
Although Jackson, 31, is not considered a burner, his career average of 17.4 yards per reception leads all active players with at least 150 catches.
Playing with standout quarterback Johnny Manziel, Evans (4.53 speed) averaged 20.2 yards per catch last year, scoring 12 touchdowns.
“He’s really very similar to Vincent Jackson,’’ Gruden said. “I don’t know that you want two of those on the same team _ and I don’t know that you don’t. That depends on what (new offensive coordinator) Jeff Tedford has in store.’’