NFL.com draft analyst Bucky Brooks has now released another mock draft and after previously predicting that the Pittsburgh Steelers would select either running back Derrius Guice, quarterback Lamar Jackson or linebacker Leighton Vander Esch in the first-round of the 2018 NFL Draft in his previous three offerings, he now has them picking linebacker Rashaan Evans out of Alabama with the 28th overall selection in his fourth version.
The Steelers’ defense needs to find an active playmaker in the middle to control the opponent’s running game. Evans is a hard-hitting defender with outstanding instincts and diagnostic skills. Plus, he adds a little spice as a pass rusher.
Evans is a player that Steelers fans should be well-aware of by now as he’s been a popular mock draft selection for them throughout the offseason. If there’s a knock on Evans right now with two weeks remaining before this year’s draft it’s the fact that he chose not to run his 40-yard-dash at the combine and both his pro days. In his defense, however, Evans played through two groin injuries last season.
What’s interesting about Brooks’ most-recent mock draft is that he has the Steelers bypassing Vander Esch in favor of Evans. Additionally, Brooks does not have Guice being selected in the first-round in his latest offering.
Evans, in case you have missed previous mocks and posts dedicated to him, measured in at this year’s scouting combine at 6017, 232-pounds. In his four seasons at Alabama he registered 150 total tackles of which 23.5 resulted in lost yardage. He also had 15 sacks and two forced fumbles. Evans was only a full-time starter for one season at Alabama and he missed two games in 2017 because of his groin injuries.
The Steelers had a heavy presence at the Alabama pro day this year and reportedly broke bread the night before the event with several players. The Steelers have yet to bring any former Alabama players in for pre-draft visits as of the time of this post.