Rashaan Evans, LB
School: Alabama | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-3 / 234 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Late 1st Early 2nd Round
NFL Comparison: Demario Davis
Rashaan Evans drew the ire of many Auburn fans during his signing day. Evans was born and raised in Auburn, Alabama. His dad, Alan, played running back at Auburn in the 1980’s. His mom, a doctor, has 4 degrees from Auburn. Auburn heavily recruited Evans who was a 5-star prospect coming out of high school. When signing day came around it was expected Evans would fully commit to the team. He didn’t and committed to Alabama. The backlash against Evans from the Auburn faithful was quick and at times way over the top. There were craigslist ads encouraging theft from the Evans family business as well as a message board that called for a boycott of the store because Evans had not become a War Eagle.
Despite all that Evans concentrated on football where he waited for his turn to start having sat behind players like Reggie Ragland, Rueben Foster, and at one point Shaun Dion Hamilton. Evans has gotten better each year as his playing time increased. He is a very athletic linebacker and though he played primarily inside at Bama Nick Saban used him as an EDGE as well where he has shown off some impressive quick twitch. Evans is effective as a run blocker and as a pass rusher. Evans has shown impressive pursuit ability, vision and instincts. Evans was slated to play in the Senior Bowl but withdrew to focus on training for the combine. He has as high a ceiling as any linebacker prospect in this draft but needs to remain consistent, healthy, and remember his fundamentals.
- Good size, speed, athleticism, and length for the position. Can close on the QB quickly and pursue across the field displaying great range.
- Has some power and pop to his hits and squares up when he delivers them.
- Exhibits good patience and vision when playing the run. Diagnoses plays with solid instincts and comes up with a plan of attack and sifts through opposition to get to the ball.
- Can knife through gaps on blitzes and shows a nice spin to get off blocks when playing the edge.
- History of groin injuries. Which limited him this season.
- Tries to do too much sometimes and fails to finish. He should have at least 3-4 more sacks this season.
- Didn’t play much in coverage while at Alabama so that will be a big question related to if he understands depth and space.
- Can get engulfed by offensive lineman if he doesn't win with quickness.
Let’s see his work:
#Bama LB Rashaan Evans presses the OL at the LOS, creates separation to make way for a timely rip and tackle for loss. This is some pretty run defense/block-shedding, folks. pic.twitter.com/bXQJ5Pfb0L— Austin Gayle (@AustinGayle_PFF) December 26, 2017
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
For those who really want Roquan Smith on the team if the Skins don’t get him Rashaan Evans should be a good consolation prize in regards to his athleticism. Gifted athletes like Evans (and Smith but I’ll save it for his profile) check a lot of the physical and athletic boxes needed at the position but also take risks in doing so. Evans is personally one of my favorite linebacker prospects in the draft but he has a few things to clean up even with his high draft projection. He would no doubt help the Redskins inside linebacker unit in almost all areas specifically in overall athleticism and as a pass rusher. He’ll need to work with coaches to get back to basic at times with his tackling (aims high), and I imagine to learn how to stick with opponents in man coverage. He’ll also need to learn a couple more disengagement moves if the team intends to use him as a pass rusher on 3rd downs. Most importantly his groin issues will have to be monitored and hopefully resolved after a year in an NFL program. If Evans can get better at all of his weaknesses he’s probably a starting linebacker for the next 8+ years.