With less than a month to go now before the 2018 NFL Draft takes place, we’re sure to start hearing the annual negative reports about some of this year’s top prospects. Some of these reports might include drug testing results at the combine while a few others might be related to a handful of players potentially having medical red flags.
With that disclaimer now out of the way, Tony Pauline of draftanalyst.com had an interesting report Thursday morning about one player that has been mocked quite a bit this offseason to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round. That player is none other than former Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans.
According to Pauline, Evans did not run the 40-yard-dash at the second pro day Alabama conducted on Wednesday and him not doing so reportedly “left a very bad taste in the mouths of teams who purposely made the trip to watch his workout.”
In Evans’ defense, he reportedly played last season with two groin injuries and that was the reason he decided to not run his 40-yard-dash at this year’s scouting combine in Indianapolis. While Evans did do position drills at Alabama’s first pro day several weeks ago, that’s apparently all he did as he chose to not run the 40-yard-dash again.
According to Pauline’s Thursday morning report, there were several NFL teams that questioned Evans’ speed ahead of this year’s pre-draft process and that, combined with the fact he’s not yet run the forty, and coupled with him posting a vertical jump of just 30 inches and a 9-feet-8-inch broad jump at the combine, will likely raise further red flags about his true athleticism.
The current general consensus surrounding Evans is that he’s likely to still be on the board come time for the Steelers first-round selection in this year’s draft. The Steelers are obviously expected to draft an inside linebacker at some point this year even though they recently signed veteran free agent linebacker Jon Bostic to a two-year contract a few weeks ago. With that said, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert did say at this year’s scouting combine that this year’s draft class doesn’t include many impactful players in it.
“There’s a few impactful guys, but then there’s a lot of numbers,” Colbert said in February when talking about this year’s off-the-ball linebacker draft class. “And inside guys usually have one ability that maybe they can cover, they can play the run or maybe they’re special teams guys.”
Is it possible that Colbert and the rest of the Steelers scouts believe that Evans is more of a second-round talent than a first? I suppose, but we won’t find out for sure what they and the other 31 NFL teams really think about him until draft day.
It will certainly be interesting to see if Evans is ultimately one of a few players sent back to Indianapolis for a medical recheck in a few weeks from now and usually the names of those players start surfacing around the first part of April.
Evans, who measured in at the combine at 6017, 232-pounds with 32 1/4-inch arms and 10-inch hands, recorded 74 total tackles for Alabama this past season and that includes 13 for losses and 6 sacks. He also had 3 defensed passes and a forced fumble this past season. He missed two games early last season with a groin injury, however, and exited Alabama as just a one-year starter on defense.