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March 5, 2014
49ers meet with WR Mike Evans, who seems custom-built for the red zone

At the same time the NFL is starting to consider elongating - by a wide margin - the anticlimactic extra-point kick, the 49ers met with Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans.

I consider these to be related stories.

According to a recent story by NFL.com, the league's competition committee has begun kicking around the idea of moving the extra point try from the 2-yard line to the 25-yard line. That would mean a 43-yard try for kickers.

That also would mean more missed extra-point attempts. While kickers made 1,262 of 1,267 of them (a 99.6 percent conversion rate and therefore boring) in 2013, the conversion rate for field goals from 40-49 yards was 83 percent. Meanwhile, the success rate for two-point conversions historically has been just under 50 percent, which suggests that going for two would be smarter than going for one should the NFL follow through with this idea.

That, of course, would make red-zone and goal-line scoring all the more important. The 49ers have struggled in that area over the last three seasons, and it's notable that their last two seasons ended with ill-fated red-zone throws to Michael Crabtree in the corner of the end zone.

Evans, meanwhile, appears custom-built for the red-zone.

He had the longest arms (35 1/8 inches) of any receiver at the combine (I'm still trying to verify rumors that Trent Baalke fainted during the measurement), and at 6-5 only one receiver - Rutgers' Brandon Coleman - was taller. Evans also has a basketball background, leaped 37 inches in the vertical jump and has proven adept at boxing out defensive backs over the last two seasons. He scored 17 touchdowns in that span.

Together, those traits seemingly would make him a reliable target for two-point conversions when matched against a smaller cornerback. He also had the right attitude when it comes to taking on taller cornerbacks who like to use press coverage. Richard Sherman, for instance.

"Ah, man, I'm a big Richard Sherman fan," Evans said at the combine. "That would be a fun matchup." Is it important to be physical with a team like the Seahawks? "Yes, definitely," he said. "Take the air out of them. Make them stop talking a little bit."

Of course, the 49ers' chances of landing Evans appear to be diminishing. His showing at the combine solidified his chances of being taken in the first half of the first round. In fact, he could be taken in the Top 10. Last year the 49ers traded ahead 13 spots to take safety Eric Reid. Would they go up 20 or more spots for someone like Evans? Or would they take advantage of a deep draft at the position and stay put?

While 49ers general manager Trent Baalke attended Wisconsin's pro day, the 49ers' top college scout, Matt Malaspina, was on hand for Texas A&M's and presumably met with Evans.

- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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