Eagles Draft Profile: Rashaan Evans
EAGLES AT LB
Entering the 2018 season, the linebacker position was somewhat of a question mark for the Eagles. What was a question mark quickly turned into a strength due to the emergence of Nigel Bradham and surprise season from Mychal Kendricks. Prior to the season starting, many called for the trade of Mychal Kendricks, however he turned out to play a pivotal role in the Eagles bringing home their first Lombardi Trophy. To date, Jordan Hicks has suffered several injuries which include a torn pectoral muscle and a torn achilles. While both injuries can be overcome, the question regarding Hicks’s durability at the NFL level is valid for people to ask. With the skepticism of what will happen with Kendricks and the fragile years of Hicks the Eagles have a legitimate concern for the linebacker position entering the 2018-2019 season. The thought of having Najee Goode start due to an injury or trade not only gives me nightmares, but should also keep Howie and Doug up at night as well. With the draft approaching in April, the Eagles will have many options at 32. Hicks coming off a season ending injury and Kendricks potentially being on the trade block provides a perfect recipe for Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas to take a hard look at Alabama Linebacker Rashaan Evans.
EVANS AT ALABAMA
It should be a surprise to no one that another elite linebacker is coming out of Alabama. Alabama is a defensive powerhouse that churns out top talent each draft cycle. Alabama did not have to go far to get to Evans as he grew up in Auburn, Alabama. During his first two seasons (20114 & 2015), Evans saw game action in a total of 17 games. In those games, Evans complied 18 solo tackles and 24 total tackles. Evans burst onto the NFL scene after both his Junior and Senior seasons. During these seasons, he started 25 games while compiling 66 solo tackles and 126 total tackles for the Crimson Tide. The inside linebacker went on to garner many post-season awards (First Team All American and First Team All SEC) that have not only put him on the radar, but have many experts projecting him as a mid to late first round pick.
Height – 6’3″
Weight – 234lbs
40yd Dash – 4.73sec
Vertical Jump – 30in
Broad Jump – 116in
The first thing that jumps out to many about Evans is his size. At 6’3″ 234lbs, Evans is as big as if not bigger than most current NFL inside Linebackers. Evans fits the build of the new type of NFL LB. Not only is he big, but he can also move in ways that LBs of old were not able to move. By looking at the tape, it is not difficult to see the athleticism that is contained by Evans. His range and explosiveness are second to none and he is able to range from sideline to sideline in a blink. Evans does not shy away from contact and will come at RBs like hes shot out of a cannon when given the opportunity. Although Evans is referred to some scouts as a “project”, he fits the mold of the fast, physical, and smart linebacker that the Eagles have been searching for since day one.
WHY THE EAGLES?
Some of you may be reading this and may be thinking that I am crazy for suggesting a linebacker for the Birds at 32, however I think if given the right situation, Evans could thrive. Lets be real, the Eagles LB room is far from deep. Barring any injuries or trades, they have three starting caliber linebackers and absolutely ZERO depth. One injury or trade and the Eagles faithful will be cheering on the likes of either Najee Goode or Joe Walker. By no means am taking anything away from these players, I just believe that Evans would provide a better alternative if the linebacker core begins to go south. Coming into the Eagles training camp, Evans would be placed under the wing of Nigel Bradham. Bradham would be able to guide Evans through the trials and tribulations of being an NFL player. Time and time again, we see rookies become overwhelmed with the speed of the game or the physicality. While I do not think that this will be a problem for Evans, a mentor like Bradham could not hurt. The combination of Bradham, Hicks, and Evans makes my heart skip a beat. While positions may be needed to be moved around, these three have potential to be some of the hardest hitting backers in the league. A question that is often asked is “Will the Eagles draft a project at 32?”. While deep down I do not think this will happen, I think the Eagles have the position players in place to take a risk on a player that they can work with. The tangibles for Evans are there. Hes big, fast, strong, and likes to hit. All of the positives that an NFL linebacker contains. The decision will be left up to Howie, Joe, and Doug. If they want someone who can impact their defense greatly a year or two down the road, look no further than Rashaan Evans at 32.