There are hundreds of stories and opinions shared during the planning and anticipation stages of the 2018 NFL Draft. As a former high school football coach and educator by trade, one of my passions include providing film-based reviews on rookie prospects and focusing on their strengths and weakness which may assist other fantasy football enthusiasts in their evaluations.
After reviewing six of his games, here’s my scouting report on Alabama Crimson Tide inside linebacker Rashaan Evans:
[Note: Most of these game videos are available via YouTube and Draft Breakdown]
LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama
6’3” | 234 lbs.
Games Studied: Auburn, Georgia, Clemson, Tennessee, LSU, Vanderbilt
Cons: In his last two seasons at Alabama, Rashaan Evans suffered some serious injuries. He strained his left groin in 2016 and then tore his right groin from the bone in 2017, but only to miss two games. Evans also suffered a stinger in 2017, but the linebacker played through it. Since he didn’t run the 40-yard dash at the 2018 NFL Combine, is his groin injury still an issue? When a linebacker plays for the Crimson Tide, it is a given that they will play behind a powerful and athletic defensive line. How much of Evans’ game production was based on his athletic talent as opposed to his opponent’s offense scheming against the Alabama defensive line?
Evans isn’t as instinctual as you would like a starting inside linebacker to be. Perhaps that is due to the fact Evans only started the last two games of his junior season and senior seasons and spent his first two seasons as a special teams demon. He only started Alabama’s last two contests in 2016 because Shaun Dion Hamilton, their starting middle linebacker, got injured. Evans has had some difficulty separating himself from blockers, despite having a nice punch and recoil. The playmaker can also sometimes let his emotions take control allowing some sloppiness to take over his game. Some examples include over pursuing the ball carrier and leaving cutback lanes available which ultimately result in Evans being out of position to make a play.
Pros: The young linebacker has a lot of versatility as he was moved to the inside linebacker spot his junior year. Before then, Evans moonlighted as a situational outside linebacker. His 14 collegiate sacks show the ability to get to the quarterback which makes him more dangerous than your typical inside NFL linebacker. Most defensive coordinators would love to send him on the occasional inside blitz to mix things up. Evans has a natural fluidity to his movements, making his lateral pursuit quicker than most. He will locate the ball quickly and pursue them from sideline to sideline. The playmaker has a well-developed spin move that he uses in the run and passing games. This unique talent makes Evans more difficult to contain than typical linebackers. Like any defender coming from the Alabama program, Evans is a solid open-field tackler that isn’t afraid to be left in space against an athletic ball carrier. He rarely misses tackles and usually lays a big wallop on them (has two forced fumbles and two recovered fumbles during his time in Alabama).
Evans understands what the offense is trying to do and usually puts himself in the best position to make the play. He does a good job leading by example and was named a team captain his senior year. The linebacker has a natural, smooth drop back into pass coverage which makes him an effective three-down player. Evans could cover running backs out of the backfield or tight ends around the gridiron.
Overall impressions: Whichever team drafts Evans should have the medical answers to his lower half health. While he had a good senior year, the linebacker will still need some time to transition to the next level. I really like the Lawrence Timmons comparison to him. Much like Timmons, he is excellent against the run and can hang with most non-wide receiving pass catchers. Evans will be a nice pass rushing weapon, especially if he can get his spin move going full force. When comparing the 2018 linebacker class, I have Evans behind Georgia’s Roquan Smith, Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds, and Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch (“LVE”). Like I said in my LVE scouting report, for most IDPs, their location and scheme will determine about 40% of their worth while the other 60% comes from the prospect’s athletic gifts.
Thanks for reading. Leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft, I will continue to generate and discuss these 2018 rookie scouting reports with you. Therefore, be sure to keep an eye on DTC for all of the new content. You can also follow me on Twitter @AndrewMiley.