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Draft Preview: LB Rashaan Evans

Bills Wire - USA Today

Alabama’s Rashaan Evans is perhaps the most versatile linebacker in this year’s draft. Where will he land next month?

The Sports Quotient’s annual Draft Preview series returns! Over the course of the eight weeks leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft, we will take a look at the top NFL prospects at each position. 

This week, we dive into the linebacker position. Today, we look at Rashaan Evans from the University of Alabama. 

Two-time national champion Rashaan Evans took home second-team All-SEC honors in 2017. Evans led the Crimson Tide with 13 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and netted six sacks last season. 

Rashaan Evans College Stats 

SeasonSolo Tkl.Assisted Tkl.Total Tkl.Tkl. for LossSacks
2014113142.01.0
201573104.04.0
20163121524.54.0
201735397413.06.0


Pros

Evans possesses impressive speed combined with a solid linebacker build. He also has the lateral speed to keep up with shifty running backs and the pursuit necessary to stop outside runs and jet sweeps coming out of the backfield into the flat. 

It should come as no surprise that Alabama was on television a lot this season, and Evans was rarely embarrassed or caught out of position on the big stage. He plays with his head up and is a consistent wrap-up tackler. 



Evans comes equipped with the versatility to play inside and outside. Not only that, but he is a great pass-rusher from both the edge and inside blitzes. 




Cons

The easiest weakness to point out when it comes to Rashaan Evans is his lack of experience. He patiently waited for playing time at Alabama, forced to sit behind the best year-to-year front seven unit of all time. He doesn’t directly take on blockers very well. His production last season was limited by a lingering groin injury, which NFL scouts are surely taking into account.

Evans did not have an impressive showing of athleticism in the 2018 Scouting Combine. He finished 19th out of 21 linebackers in the vertical jump (30.0 inches), 19th out of 22 in the broad jump (116.0 inches), 8th out of 16 in the three-cone drill (6.95 seconds), and 12th out of 15 in the 20-yard shuttle (4.36 seconds). 

Verdict

Rashaan Evans is a first-rounder, not only because of his talent but also because many NFL teams have holes at linebacker positions and will prioritize their front seven in the early rounds. Evans will go to a team searching for a featured linebacker and an eventual leader of the defense. 

A wealth of possibilities await Evans. He is not a top-ten prospect in this year’s talented draft class, but he could be taken by teams picking in the early teens like the Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, or Washington Redskins, or on the early side with the Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Chargers, Cincinatti Bengals, or Los Angeles Rams in the more likely 15-25 range. He could also slip to the end of the first round and be scooped up by the Pittsburgh Steelers or New England Patriots. 


Edited by Brian Kang, Dani Quintana.

SQuiz
Which of the following linebackers did not win the Butkus Award at the college level?
Created 3/21/18
  1. Roquan Smith, Georgia
  2. Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
  3. Eric Kendricks, UCLA
  4. Brandon Spikes, Florida

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