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Rashaan Evans

  • Via Rotoworld
ESPN’s Todd McShay ranked Alabama LB Rashaan Evans as one of the winners of Day 3 of the NFL Scouting Combine.
McShay went as far as to say that his on-field workouts were “impeccable.” Though hampered with a groin injury for a portion of the year, the 6-foot-2, 232-pound linebacker has always shown first-round talent when healthy. “Evans had an excellent workout,” McShay writes. “Solid in coverage, he’s a thumper of a run-stopper and an underrated pass-rusher.” Don’t be surprised if Evans goes in the first 32 selections come April.
  • Via Rotoworld

Per Walter Football’s Charlie Campbell, the Saints and Patriots both like Alabama LB Rashaan Evans, Ohio State DE Sam Hubbard and Georgia LB Roquan Smith.

Each team will be looking to patch up some defensive holes in anticipation of 2018 championship runs. Smith isn’t likely to be available when either team picks in Round 1, but one never knows with these things. Evans and Hubbard each could be.
  • Via Rotoworld

Alabama LB Rashaan Evans will meet with the Steelers on Saturday night.

Evans (6’2/232) is likely to go in the first-round next month. The Steelers are shopping for an inside linebacker, so there’s zero surprise in their interest. Pittsburgh sits at No. 28 overall.
  • Via Rotoworld

Rotoworld’s Thor Nystrom ranks Rashaan Evans as the top inside linebacker ahead of Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch.

“He’s a first-round talent.” Nystrom writes. Evans (6’3/234) has “Tremendous size/athleticism combination, technically sound and physical in run defense. He can get after the quarterback when unleashed as a rusher. Fits as either a 3-4 ILB or a 4-3 OLB.” Mock drafts seem to be split between who will go first between Evans and Vander Esch at the moment, but Evans should be the one who hears his name called first come draft day.
  • Via Rotoworld

Pro Football Focus ranks Alabama LB Rashaan Evans as the most productive pass-rusher in the draft class.

Evans was able to achieve success — a sack, a pressure, a hurry, what have you — on 21.9 percent of his pass rushes, easily the best of any linebacker in the class who attempted a rush at least 55 times. The 6-foot-3, 234-pound linebacker battled injuries all year, but when healthy, he showed the talent of a legitimate outside linebacker talent. How he performs in his pro day will go a long way towards determining where he’ll go in the draft — his fluctuation is among the highest of any prospect on either side of the ball.
  • Via Rotoworld

Alabama HC Nick Saban said that senior LB Rashaan Evans (groin) has been “making progress every day.”

Evans suffered a groin injury in the team’s season-opening win over Florida State. While he has sat out the past two contests, the 6-foot-3, 234-pounder has been able to participate in practice this week and looks to be closing in on a return. Whether that comes on Saturday against Vanderbilt remains to be seen.
  • Via Rotoworld

In February, Alabama senior LB Rashaan Evans predicted he’d win the Butkus Award in 2017.

A former five-star recruit, Evans is calling his shot in following in the footsteps of departing Butkus Award winner Reuben Foster. The 6-foot-3, 234-pounder only started two games last year because of Alabama’s ridiculous depth, but he posted 53 tackles, 4.5 TFL, four sacks and a forced fumble as a heavily-used rotational player. Evans will start alongside Shaun Dion Hamilton this season. Both are premier NFL prospects.
  • Via Rotoworld

Alabama senior ILB Rashaan Evans reportedly clocked a max velocity of 20.5 miles per hour during testing prior to last season.

That’s flying. NFL evaluators have a year to decide whether Evans is an inside linebacker, an outside linebacker or a defensive end. In the meantime, they can rest easy with the knowledge that he has the athleticism to play all three.
  • Via Rotoworld

Alabama junior ILB Rashaan Evans had 17 tackles and one sack in the spring game.

The Tide moved Evans from outside linebacker to inside linebacker in Nick Saban’s 3-4 defense during the spring. As you can see from his dominant spring game appearance, he acquitted himself extremely well. “I was excited about that,” Evans said, per Matt Zenitz of AL.com. “Basically, man, I was just trying to do all I can to help my team. I felt pretty good. [Playing inside linebacker] is something new for me, and I’m excited about [the production].” Evans is competing with Shaun Hamilton for a starting job next to Reuben Foster.
  • Via Rotoworld

Alabama moved junior OLB Rashaan Evans to ILB this spring.

Whether the move will be permanent or not is not known, but it’s a good move for the former five-star recruit to pick up the nuances of another position to put himself in a better position to get on the field this year. Presently, he sits behind Reuben Foster and Shaun Hamilton on the depth chart inside. “Evans is a work in progress as far as the nuances (eye discipline, run fits) of inside linebacker play go, but all the physical attributes needed to excel at the spot are in place,” Travis Reier of 247Sports wrote. “We already knew Evans could rush the passer and close quickly on mobile quarterbacks while working as a spy in the dime rabbits package. … I wouldn’t go as a far to say that Evans was [C.J.] Mosley-like in [coverage], but he showed well enough in the spring game to think he is progressing toward an acceptable level.”

OVERVIEW

Some in Evans’ hometown of Auburn, Alabama, did not appreciate his signing with the Tide as a top high school recruit. Those with priorities in the wrong place threatened his family’s business and made their lives difficult. Now he’s looking to become a star in 2017; in fact, in February Evans tweeted that he would win the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker. After sitting behind future pros like Reuben Foster for three years, he was ready to meet that promise. Evans was a second-team All-SEC pick in 2017, starting 12 games, tying for the team lead with 74 tackles, leading the team with 13 tackles for loss, making six sacks, and breaking up three passes. In the team’s two playoff games in 2016 (his only starts of the year), Evans made 18 tackles from an inside linebacker position. He had 53 total for the year, including four sacks, six quarterback hurries, and a forced fumble in 14 games. Evans had to bide his time like many highly-recruited players coming to play for Nick Saban. The Parade All-American and five-star prospect actually played significantly as a true freshman on special teams in 13 games (15 tackles, two for loss, sack; team-leading 12 special teams tackles). Evans again mostly played as a special teamer and reserve outside linebacker in 2015, though his two sacks against Clemson in the national championship victory that season put him on scouts’ radars.

ANALYSIS

STRENGTHS

Build like new breed of NFL linebackers. Possesses good length and great speed. Premium athlete with plus agility, range and explosiveness. Quick to diagnose. Works around the trash when scraping. Able to pace to the perimeter with the jet sweepers and scat-backs. Patient against misdirection and isn’t easily baited out of position. Deftly side-steps blocks without giving his gap responsibility. Has athletic ability to dance from gap to gap and look up shifty running backs. Learned from tough guys ahead of him and adapted their demeanor. Explosive, wrap-up striker who sees what he hits. Plays with pain. Sub-package rusher with upfield burst to threaten the edge. Can unleash impressive spin counter in either direction. Burst as delayed blitzer from inside linebacker spot is too much for most linemen to catch.

WEAKNESSES

Just a beat behind in diagnosing. Lacks instincts of players who have extended history at the position. Can improve leverage in his pursuit. Fast flow ahead of blockers can allow for cutbacks. Can get wired to climbing blockers. Needs to improve his punch-and-separate when taking on blockers. Benefitted from playing behind monsters along the defensive line. Will wait rather than trigger when downhill shots are available. Will need to trust his athletic ability to squeeze routes tighter. Nagging groin injury plagued him last season. Scouts have some concerns about durability.

DRAFT PROJECTION

Round 1

SOURCES TELL US

“He made a lot of progress as an inside backer from last year to this. He was more instinctive and a lot more natural.” — AFC area scout

NFL COMPARISON

Lawrence Timmons

BOTTOM LINE

Ascending linebacker talent who has the speed to fly around from sideline to sideline and played with an improved feel for the position in 2017. Despite limited playing time over his first few seasons, Evans adapted a “work while you wait” mindset that prepared him to for impressive performances in three consecutive national championship games. Evans is an ideal inside linebacker fit for a blitz-happy 3-4 unit, but he could easily fit as a 4-3 WILL with rush potential on sub-packages. Evans is an early starter with high-end potential if he can stay healthy.

-Lance Zierlein

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Categories: 2018
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