From now until the 2018 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
#32 Rashaan Evans /Alabama ILB – 6’3” 234 lbs.
–Versatility playing all linebacker spots, switched to inside as junior
–Plays through pain
–Excellent athlete with good lateral agility and burst
–Sideline to sideline range and speed
–Good situational pass rusher
–Wrap-up, open field tackler
–Can spin out of danger
–Got nicked up with a groin injury and suffered what is thought to be a stinger which caused him to miss time in 2017.
–Got protected by awesome, penetrating defensive line.
–Not as instinctual as he should be.
–Needs to get better separating from would-be blockers
–Can over pursue which leaves cutback lanes available for more athletic ball carriers.
–Team captain as a senior.
–Senior year of high school finished with 77 tackles including 43 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks as a senior, while adding five pass breakups, three forced fumbles, a blocked punt and a fumble recovery
–Semifinalist for Butkus Award
–Finished college career with 40 games played, 74 solo tackles, 63 assists, 21.5 tackles for loss, 5 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles, 2 recovered fumbles, and 14 total sacks.
–His hometown is Auburn and yet played at Alabama, this is a sore spot for some SEC fans.
–Played mostly as a special teamer his freshman and sophomore seasons
Evans lines up on the strong side ILB spot. He reads a run off the snap, watching the offensive linemen block down on the Bama d-line. The backer reads the full back’s path to seal the edge, so Evans steps up and meets Nick Chubb on the line of scrimmage. The defender stones the back in the hole for no gain by getting low, wrapping up, and keeping his feet driving back.
Evans is spying on a one runner backfield lined up on the strong side with three potential receivers. At the snap, Evans is immediately swallowed up by the Georgia third string running back, D’Andre Swift. The defender takes too much time disengaging and is unable to make the play. Does Alabama’s front four make him look better than he is?
On a second and 6 play, the back lines up off the ball on the inside shoulder of the slot receiver. Off the snap of the ball, Evans screams across the line of scrimmage and dips his shoulder underneath the block of the Tiger right tackle. #32 closes in on the quarterback forcing a quick dump off pass in the flats to the running back. The defender flows quickly to the ball carrier making a nice diving tackle resulting in no gain.
Lining up on the edge on a third and 19 play, the backer gets off quickly at the snap. Evans is almost immediately greeted by the right tackle and running back. Evans spins off their blocks while eating up ground to move towards the quarterback. He smashes the Volunteer signal caller during the throw which results in the pigskin falling 15 yards short and the QB flat on his back with his helmet off due to the defender’s hit.
On a first and ten deep in LSU territory, Evans lines up on the strong side of the formation and reads run off the snap. He attacks the line of scrimmage quickly, but gets chip blocked by a receiver and is out of position to hit Derrius Guice head on in the backfield. This inability to breakdown in the hole and not adapting to the runner’s path puts him out of position to make the play.
As far as the Steelers go, Evans would be a huge upgrade from Vince Williams in athleticism, production, and pass rushing ability. He is not as athletic as Ryan Shazier and will never be that level of play maker either. If the Crimson Tide defender is there at 1.28, I would love him to be the pick. I don’t do many player comparisons, but he does remind me quite a bit of a young Lawrence Timmons.
Projection: First round
Games Watched: @Georgia, @Clemson, vs. Tennessee, vs. LSU, @Vanderbilt