Brock Huard’s 2018 NFL Draft preview: Alabama LB Rashaan Evans
Each day, Brock Huard is profiling a different draft prospect that he considers an early-round possibility for the Seahawks. His draft previews continue with Alabama LB Rashaan Evans. The audio is embedded above.
• Position: LB
• Height/weight: 6-3/232
• Class: Senior
• Hometown: Auburn, Ala.
Scouting report: Evans stood out on national champion Alabama’s dominant defense, tying for the team lead in total tackles with 74 and ranking second with six sacks in 2017. More than that, he was regarded as a team leader. Former NFL cornerback and current analyst Bryant McFadden called him “the alpha male” of the Crimson Tide’s defense, which is saying a lot considering how historically great Alabama has been on that side of the ball under head coach Nick Saban.
“He’s the lead dog there on that defense, and he plays with a lot of gut and glory, and you have to like that from the defensive side,” McFadden said on WatchStadium.com.
Evans doesn’t jump off the page with his measurables, but that doesn’t appear to hold him down on the field.
“The thing I would like to emphasize is how smart he is and how good of a technician he is,” McFadden said.
Brock’s take: Evans is easily one of Huard’s favorite players in this year’s draft.
“I like this dude a lot, man,” Huard said. “He’s the one defensive player outside of (North Carolina State defensive end) Bradley Chubb this year where I’m constantly rewinding the tape (and saying) ‘Man, look at this guy.’”
The fact that Evans is a hard-hitter helps in that respect.
“Watch this guy jolt people – offensive linemen, guards, tight ends, running backs. Unlike anybody else other than Bradley Chubb on tape this season. That’s Rashaan Evans.”
Evans didn’t run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and posted a vertical of just 30 inches, though, which has impacted his standing on draft boards.
“There’s higher-ranked linebackers in this class that run faster, that look prettier. That’s part of Rashaan’s challenge a little bit, why he’s not escalated (higher on draft boards),” Huard said. “He didn’t run a 40 at the combine – that tells you he’s probably a 4.65 guy, maybe even a 4.7 electronically. On gameday, he’s 4.4. And on gameday, most importantly, he wrecks things.”
How he’d fit: On the one hand, Evans would make a lot of sense for a Seahawks team that hasn’t added much at linebacker behind Pro Bowlers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. But Evans doesn’t quite fit the mold head coach Pete Carroll likes in his linebackers.
“This would be outside of the box just a little bit from just a physical fiber, explosive standpoint,” Huard said. “His vertical is a 30. That is a gigantic red flag. That is not Pete Carroll. Pete Carroll wants Bobby Wagners running a 4.5 (40-yard dash) at 250 pounds, to jump out of the gym. (He wants) K.J. Wright at 6-5 and 250, long and athletic.”
He fits another mold Carroll likes, though.
“It would not be outside the box at all for finding a dog and someone who wants to rip the other guy’s face off,” Huard said. “(Someone) who wants to do it with pads on and do it every single week and never tires of doing it.”
And it would be nice to put a promising talent behind Wagner and Wright after years of plugging in role players on short-term deals.
“They have not filled below those guys for years. They have not added to that linebacker room at all. Man, I think for K.J. and Bobby and Ken Norton, the new D-coordinator, you bring someone with some real juice in that building, in that room, to further invigorate and add depth and come into other packages and play right away.
“Man, I’m intrigued by this guy. He’s a trade-down, late-first round pick, but somebody’s gonna get him, and he’s gonna be a Pro Bowl-caliber player for somebody in this league.”