Is former Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans a bonafide first-round talent this year? Several major media draft analysts still seem to think so with less than one full month remaining until the 2018 NFL Draft gets underway. A few days ago, NFL Network draft analyst Lance Zierlein released his third mock of the first-round of the 2018 offseason and he has the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting Evans 28th overall after previously having them take Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison.
With Steelers GM Kevin Colbert announcing a few weeks ago that Ryan Shazier is out for the 2018 season, the Steelers have a big hole to fill in the middle of their defense. Evans is an ILB with toughness, speed and rush ability.
As I posted earlier on Thursday, a report by Tony Pauline of draftanalyst.com suggested that NFL teams around the league aren’t overly thrilled that Evans was unable to run the 40-yard-dash during Alabama’s second pro day of the offseason that took place on Wednesday. This could be a sign that the two groin injuries that Evans suffered during the 2017 season are still hampering him somewhat and it will now be interesting to see if he’s ultimately sent back to Indianapolis in a few weeks for a medical recheck.
The Steelers still appear set to draft an inside linebacker this year even though they signed veteran free agent Jon Bostic to a two-year contract a few weeks ago. For what it’s worth, the Steelers had a large contingent at Alabama’s first pro day earlier in March and that group included general manager Kevin Colbert, head coach Mike Tomlin, defensive coordinator Keith Butler, defensive line coach Karl Dunbar and inside linebacker coach Jerry Olsavsky. Tomlin also recently indicated that he had a pre pro day dinner with at least 8 former Alabama players and it’s not hard to speculate that Evans was one of them.
As you should already know by now, Evans, who recorded 74 total tackles for Alabama this past season and that includes 13 for losses and 6 sacks, was just a one-year starter on defense for Alabama in his four seasons there. It appears as though he’ll also turn 22 in November.
The Steelers last drafted a player out of Alabama in 1998 when cornerback Deshea Townsend was selected in the fourth-round.
For what it’s worth, Zierlein has another linebacker that’s been mocked to the Steelers a bit this offseason, Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch, going 23rd overall to the Los Angeles Rams. He also has two other top-rated linebackers, Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds and Georgia’s Roquan Smith, both being drafted within the first 10 selections to the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers, respectively.