Position: Inside linebacker
Weight: 234 pounds
School: Alabama Crimson Tide
Combine Performance Data
Vertical jump: 30 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 8 inches
Three-cone drill: 6.95 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.36 seconds
Rashaan Evans 2018 NFL Draft Profile
There was a veritable frenzy late in the 2014 recruiting process to secure Rashaan Evans‘ commitment. A native of Auburn, AL, his hometown school was certainly in the mix. But Evans, rated the 14th best prospect in the nation by Rivals.com, ended up pledging his services to the Tigers’ hated in-state rival Alabama. He was one of six five-star prospects to comprise Nick Saban‘s top-ranked recruiting haul that year. No other program in the nation managed more than three five-star commits.
Evans initially came to Tuscaloosa as an outside linebacker. As a true freshman, he saw action primarily on punts and kickoffs, tying for the team lead with 12 special teams tackles. Both of his first two seasons with the Tide saw him make a limited impact on defense. But he did manage five sacks and six tackles for loss in that time. For the most part, his contributions came as a rotational pass rusher. Bama’s loaded linebacking corps that included future pros Reggie Ragland and Reuben Foster among others seemed to impact his playing time.
That all changed during his junior year when he moved to middle linebacker. Evans saw action in 13 of 15 games that year, making a combined 18 tackles along with 1.5 sacks and tackles for loss apiece in Bama’s two College Football Playoff games. He followed that up with a campaign which resulted in a second national title during his tenure with the Tide. One of the team’s captains in 2017, Evans led the team with 13 tackles for loss, two and a half of which occurred during those two CFP games which locked up Bama’s fifth title under Saban.
- good lateral burst enables him to snuff out perimeter plays;
- seamlessly covers the field from sideline to sideline;
- big hitting thumper who never shies away from physicality;
- fluid hips and footwork make him effective in coverage;
- versatile linebacker with previous experience on the outside;
- can set the edge with plus quickness off the snap;
- formidable secondary gap shooter on delayed blitzes;
- able to beat bigger tackles inside with twists and counters;
- stays disciplined and doesn’t bite on quarterback play fakes.
- could add some muscle mass to his frame;
- tends to take an initial step in the wrong direction when diagnosing run plays;
- gives up too much base leverage with high pad level;
- playing behind a dominant defensive front may have inflated his effectiveness;
- shifty runners can take advantage of his overpursuit to the outside with cutbacks;
- sacrifices too many yards after contact when making tackles;
- bit of an arm tackler in the open field;
- play strength deficiencies are evident when trying to bull rush larger offensive linemen.
NFL Comparison: Jarrad Davis
Projection: Mid to late first round
Evans waited his turn in a crowded Bama linebacking corps to eventually make an impact as a junior and senior. He effortlessly transitioned to middle linebacker in that time, showcasing his range, instincts, and physicality. Though he’s a tad undersized and needs to improve his ability to key and diagnose when defending the run, teams are highly sold on what he brings to the table as a next level linebacker. His versatility in being able to shoot inside gaps while also creating pressure from the perimeter make him a great fit in both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes. Put it all together and it’s no wonder many mock drafts at this point have Evans as a day one selection.