Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans was one of 33 consensus five-star prospects in the 2014 recruiting cycle. He seems likely to be the eighth to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft.
Seven five-star prospects from the ’14 class were taken in the first round last year: Myles Garrett, Leonard Fournette, Solomon Thomas, Jamal Adams, Marlon Humphrey, Adoree Jackson and Jabrill Peppers. All left college after their junior seasons.
Evans remained at Alabama for his senior season and it paid off – big. Not only did he earn a national championship ring, he put himself in prime position to be drafted in the first round. He seems to be the only five-star prospect from ’14 in this draft who could go in the first round.
NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zeirlein calls Evans an “ascending” talent with the speed to play sideline to sideline. He said Evans (6 feet 3, 234 pounds) is one of the “new breed of NFL linebackers” and touts his athleticism, speed, agility, range and explosiveness.
“Evans is an ideal inside linebacker fit for a blitz-happy 3-4 unit, but he could easily fit as a 4-3 WILL with rush potential on sub-packages,” Zeirlein said. “Evans is an early starter with high-end potential if he can stay healthy.”
An unnamed AFC scout told NFL.com that staying for his senior season was big for Evans: “He made a lot of progress. … He was more instinctive and a lot more natural.”
Evans did not start a game until his senior season. He made just 25 tackles in his first two seasons on campus before becoming an important reserve as a junior; he also moved from outside linebacker to the inside in 2016 and finished with 53 tackles and four sacks.
As a senior, Evans started all 12 games he played (he missed two with a groin injury). He tied for the team lead in tackles with 74 and had six sacks and 13 tackles for loss on the way to first-team All-SEC honors. He also was selected as one of the Tide’s permanent team captains.
Evans starred at Auburn (Ala.) High. If he goes in the first round, he would become the second consecutive Auburn High alum to go in the first round – and neither attended Auburn University. Last year, Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster – an Auburn High alum – went in the first round.
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