Weight: 195 pounds
School: Texas A&M Aggies
Combine Performance Data
Bench press: 14 reps
Justin Evans 2017 NFL Draft Profile
Texas A&M’s Justin Evans is among the most versatile safeties in this year’s NFL Draft. As modern offenses have evolved and more and more teams have unearthed an athletic receiving threat at tight end, defenses have been forced to find the right scheme and personnel to defend them. A versatile player like Evans may be just what these teams are looking for. While he will have to account for a size disadvantage when covering tight ends man-to-man, he certainly has the skill to cover them in deep zone coverage.
Evans began his college career at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where he was an all-conference safety and two-year starter. In two years, he totaled 86 tackles and six interceptions. Five of those interceptions, including two which he returned for touchdowns came in his freshman year. Evidently coaches and quarterbacks in the conference learned to throw the ball away from him before his second year in college. The heavily recruited JUCO transfer, Evans had several offers to weigh before choosing Texas A&M. Evans had an immediate impact for the Aggies totaling 78 tackles and an interception in his first year in College Station. In his final year the senior added 87 tackles and four interceptions to his resume.
Evans plays extremely well against the run. He comes down fast, generally takes good angles, and packs a punch. He is a very physical player who seems to love contact. He has harnessed this trait into excellent tackling, but needs to apply it to shedding blocks as well. This is an area where he has struggled.
Evans has been labeled a strong safety by many, but he is not strictly a rolled down in the box kind of player at the safety position. Although he has the skill set to play close to the line, he has thrived as a deep field player in cover two and cover four. He has the speed to stay on top of the deep ball, and plays the ball very well when he has an opportunity to make a play. Additionally, he is a skilled man-to-man defender. His size could make it difficult for him to match up with tight ends which is a very important skill for a strong safety in today’s NFL.
- big time hitter.
- excellent in run support.
- good man coverage skills.
- plays the ball well.
- physical, aggressive player.
- plays well in zone coverages.
- does not give up on plays.
- also returns kicks.
- footwork needs improvement.
- needs to be better at getting off of blocks.
- at times comes in out of control leading to missed tackles.
- takes poor angles at times.
- lighter than you’d like him to be.
- makes mistakes with his reads affecting his reaction time.
NFL Comparison: Troy Polamalu
Teams with Need a Position: New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams
Projection: second or third round
Justin Evans is a very well-rounded player at the safety position. He is an aggressive player who can be counted on to support the run defense. He is athletic and very talented defending the pass. He is tough enough to play close to the line as a roll down safety in single high safety looks, but fast enough to play in deep field coverage and run with speedy receivers in man-to-man. Evans will need to get better at getting off of blocks. Also, improving his ability to cover large athletic NFL tight ends will make him an even more valuable asset in the NFL. Although increasing his strength will help in both of these areas, it is more a matter of developing a skill set.