Junior 6’4″ 235 pounds
- Underneath placement allows receivers to generate quality YAC
- Properly climbs plant leg and adjusts shoulder plane for optimal trajectory and turnover on vertical shots
- Decisive decision-maker with the arm to stretch the field
- Lead shoulder and toe remain in-sync
- Ball leaves his hand smoothly
- Possesses the coverage awareness to throw with the requisite anticipation
- Can extend plays with his legs and shows good running ability
- Will get weight on his back foot, but manages to shift onto plant leg in a confined pocket
- Accelerates throws from off-balance angle due to pressure
- Keeps feet active in the pocket while scanning the field
- Can attack downfield with a combination of touch and placement
- Desirable build with thickness in his lower-half to withstand contact
- Thrived and produced in his lone season as a starter, guiding the Hokies to the ACC Championship game
- Improper weight transfer and come-to-balance create arm throws
- Upper body posture wavers and creates awkward finishes
- Occasionally fails to step into throws as passes will lose velocity on the back end and fall short
- Lead shoulder tends to close and cause the ball to drift
- Inconsistent shelf placement creates a lengthy windup
- Underneath anticipation stands to improve
- Was a full-time starter for just a single season and could use refinement
The former four star recruit from Texas originally began his career at Air Force where in 2013, he tore his ACL and elected to transfer to Trinity Valley College for two years before enrolling at Virginia Tech. Evans was named the starter prior to the 2016 campaign, and completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 3,552 yards and 29 touchdowns against eight interceptions.
Evans is an interesting evaluation and one many weren’t expecting to make in 2017, but with the loss of his top two targets, Evans elected to capitalize on his success and become draft eligible. He is clearly well built with the athleticism to extend plays beyond the pocket and keep them alive within the pocket despite his level of experience (or lack thereof). In regards to his ability, Evans can undoubtedly stretch the field his big arm and make some tough throws with confidence; he played with talented receivers and consistently gave them chances to make plays down the field and after the catch. Most impressive was what he did vertically, showcasing his awareness to anticipate throws based on the “if he’s even, he’s leavin'” principle and manipulate touch and rotation on goal line fades.
Of course, his lone year makes it tough to determine what will come of Evans. There is no question he can make NFL-level throws, but there are noticeable hitches and chances for refinement in his technique that could keep him sideline for the first two or three years of his career. Naturally, that lack of experience makes it difficult what type of player he will project to be based on the too-few situations he’s been; without the traits and builds of players such as Cam Newton and Blake Bortles, it’s difficult to suggest he can become a franchise guy based on similar one-year runs.
Pro comp: Tom Savage
Savage had twice the number of career starts in his collegiate career, but Evans had the arm strength similar to Savage that allowed both of them to drive the ball down the field. Evans also has the size and tools reminiscent of Savage coming out of Pitt, and could develop into a potential starter.
Draft value: 5th round
Evans shocked many when he chose to declare for the draft after only one year as a starter, but there is certainly something to work with in Evans. He has the arm strength and talent to play in a vertical offense and the athleticism to extend plays with his feet, but there’s no question that Evans needs time to perfect the nuances of quarterbacking to maximize his potential.