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2018 Offseason Questions: Does Rashaan Evans’ Athleticism Concern You?

The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.

We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.

Question: Does Rashaan Evans’ decision not to run concern you enough not to draft him in the first round?

Rashaan Evans is regarded as one of the top linebackers in this draft class and expected to be picked up by some team on the first day, but those projections have been sliding deeper and deeper into the first round as the pre-draft machinations go forward.

The Alabama linebacker apparently has upset some teams thanks to his decision not to run a 40-yard dash, and that comes as some analysts find themselves increasingly questioning his athleticism, whether fairly or not.

Evans played through a groin injury last season and perhaps is still not fully recovered from it, but doesn’t want to use it as an excuse, and so is instead forgoing participation in the 40-yard dash. But for those who have questions about his quickness, especially those in the position to pull the trigger, the whole thing is frustrating.

Evans would be capable of playing inside linebacker in the Steelers’ system, and they could certainly use a blue-chip addition to the position. If Evans slides toward the back end of the first round, the team may be put into the position of deciding whether or not he is going to be their first-round pick.

While it’s true that the Steelers have never drafted an Alabama player under Kevin Colbert, I would not read much into that. It’s not the only school from which he hasn’t chosen a player, and sometimes it’s simply how the draft breaks. I doubt the Steelers have a bias against the school.

If you were in the position to pull the trigger in the first round for the Steelers and Evans was on board, would you do it without having a greatest gauge on his athleticism? Obviously the question has to assume that players that you would prefer are off the board already.

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