Name: Jordan Evans
Position fit: Will linebacker
Stats to know: Cumulatively gave up a QB rating of just 66.5 between 2014 and 2016 while intercepting five passes and breaking up 11.
What he does best:
- 4.50 speed from pro day and all-around athleticism shows up on film – has the speed to get sideline to sideline and can do so while staying square to the line of scrimmage.
- Attacks blocks with proper shoulder in order to keep arm free and maintain gap integrity.
- Fluid in space, can get effective depth on drops and change directions smoothly in order to break and close on plays away from him.
- Does a strong job of staying home with his assignments; won’t get fooled by misdirection, play-action.
- Excellent production in coverage; gave up a QB rating of just 64.3 and one TD in 2016 while intercepting four passes and breaking up five.
- When focused, does an excellent job of reading the QB and finding throwing lanes in zone coverage
- Lack of physicality leads to completions he’s in position to disrupt, as well as missed tackles; very much an arm tackler who does not keep his feet and deliver a blow through his targets.
- Ranked just 142nd among FBS ILBs in run-stop percentage; posted just 26 run stops with eight missed tackles.
- 12 total missed tackles in 2016, ranking him 108th at his position in tackling efficiency.
- Will freelance a bit in zone coverage; doesn’t consistently diagnose targets and will give up space he should have closed down.
- 161 of his 295 yards allowed and nine of his 24 catches surrendered in 2016 came against Texas Tech; difficult to watch this game without questioning effort level.
Player comparison: Zach Brown, Buffalo Bills
Brown lacks the physicality to be a consistently effective player against the run, but he offers some ability on the blitz and is a strong player in coverage. His best season in coverage was 2015 with Tennessee, when gave up a QB rating against of just 61.0.
Bottom line: Evans is a but frustrating to evaluate because he clearly has the athleticism to start at the next level, but his lack of physicality, in particular at the tackle point, prevents him from making as many plays as he should. While he uses good instincts and technique to maintain his leverage against blockers, he tends to stop his feet and try to arm-tackle ball carriers, and misses far too often, as his poor tackling efficiency stats imply. Where he is at his best is in coverage, as he can cover a lot of ground in a flash and shows excellent balance and agility when changing directions. He has a limited amount of special teams experience from college, but will likely need to produce in this capacity early in his career. While he is worth an early day three pick because coverage linebackers are so critical in today’s game, if he doesn’t play with more all-around consistency and competitiveness he is not likely to reach his full potential.