Name: Raashan Evans
Position: 4-3 Will
40 Time: Not available (project 4.6- 4.7)
Games Watched: All 2017 tape, vs Clemson 2016
A 5-star recruit, Raashan Evans was teammates with fellow Crimson Tide LB Reuben Foster in high school. Evans chose Alabama over hometown Auburn and UCLA. He excelled on special teams early and was largely a rotational piece prior to his senior season. As a senior in 2017 he totaled 74 tackles, 13 for a loss, 6 sacks and 1 forced fumble.
A heat seeking missile at linebacker. He is built like the modern breed of explosiveness outside play makers who has sideline-to-sideline range. Against the run he looks to draw first blood and is not afraid to go blow for blow with pulling offensive linemen. Evans is quick to read the play and explodes through gaps looking to punish ball carriers. Evans is rarely fooled on misdirection and playing behind Reuben Foster, Reggie Ragland and other drafted linebackers can only have helped his football IQ.
In coverage it is difficult to grade Evans’ performance and potential due to how he was utilised by Alabama. Evans looked comfortable spying the QB and used his athleticism to shut down any short passes to the flats. He was physical at the line against opposing tight ends but there is not enough available tape to make a measured assessment on his man coverage skills. At the combine he looked smooth and fluid in his change of direction but it’s difficult to know if this would hold up in a game situation.
Evans’ athleticism and range suit him to a weak side linebacker in a 4-3. He is highly effective when used as a blitzer which means he could suit playing inside in a 3-4 on a team that likes to use A-gap blitzes while having a larger “plugger” next to Evans inside. He was an excellent sub package rusher and this skill set could be highly coveted by defensive coordinators who looks to be aggressive and get after the QB.
His greatest strength as a fearless linebacker can also turn into a weakness. At times Evans becomes consumed with wanting to put a lick on an opposing player and will miss his designated assignment. Against the run Evans is also unable to hold and separate from linemen and likely benefited from playing behinds monsters along the defensive line. Like others in this class, Evans is similar to the modern breed of linebackers entering the NFL who are space players and better when playing uncovered. While he certainly has good size at 6’3″, if he can add 10-15lbs without compromising on speed he could certainly work better in traffic.
While it was rare to see him in man coverage, at times Evans was a little grabby and faster tight ends did appear to create separation from him. While Evans has big game experience playing in a multitude of games with the storied Crimson Tide, Evans lacks starter experience and is a second slow in diagnosing plays.
Despite 15 sacks in college, Evans’ marginal size might not stack up in the NFL and he failed to register any big plays in coverage. While ‘Bamas scheme might be responsible for this, Evans will need to add bulk if he wants to compete and thrive in the NFL.
Everything he does is at 100 mph throwing no caution to the wind. Evans flies around the field looking to dish out punishment. He is a hyper aggressive run defender who’s athleticism and range should translate to an effective defender in coverage. Behind a strong run stuffing line, Evans could excel in space as a see and react weakside linebacker. If he lasts until the second day, he’d look great in a Giants uniform.
Grade: Top-40 pick (projected mid 20s pick)
Pro Comparison: A slightly bigger Kwon Alexander
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Raashan Evans scouting report.