Senior 6’3” 230
– Downhill fast and hard
– Missile in the run
– Taking on offensive line/blocker, blows the play up
– Working through traffic
– Gets hands in passing lanes/Ball skills
– Athletic upside
– Bad angles
– Tries to undercut blocks instead of working over the top
– Poor pass drops in 2016
– Struggles with consistently disengaging
– Plays high
– Open space one on one tackling
Jordan Evans is the son of a three time all-conference defensive tackle at Oklahoma and is also a Norman, Oklahoma native. He was considered a three star prospect by most services and OU was certainly his biggest profile offer. Evans was able to make the most out of his opportunity by following in his father’s footsteps and becoming a three time all conference performer in his own right. As a true freshman he appeared in eight games and was able to compile 12 tackles and a pass break up.
In his sophomore season, Evans took over at linebacker starting 13 games and finishing with 93 tackles, six and a half tackles for loss, an interception and three pass breakups. Those numbers were good enough for first team all conference. As a junior Evans started 10 of 11 games and missed two additional games due to injury. He was still able to finish with 83 tackles, five tackles for a loss, a sack and four pass break ups. This was good enough for second team all conference. As a senior Evans was able to put together his best statistical season with 98 tackles, ten for a loss, two and a half sacks, four interceptions and eight pass break ups.
Evans attacks the run game with the type of tenacity that you hope to find in a linebacker. He flies downhill on plays between the tackles and blows up the play by blasting the blocker back into the hole. He uses these same attributes when he’s blitzing as well. Evans times them well and shows the ability to find holes up front to get into the back field. On plays outside the tackles, he shows a good ability to work through traffic to avoid blocks and downed players. One of the biggest positives with Evans is going to be his athletic upside. He ran 4.51 forty with a 1.56 ten yard split, 4.18 short shuttle and 7.01 three cone drill at his pro day. Along with this, he was able to add a 38.5 inch vertical and a broad jump of just under ten feet.
One of my biggest issues with Evans, like it would be with any linebacker, is not working over the top of blocks. Doing this takes you out of the play 9 out of 10 times. Some of his angles were questionable, which might be due to reading his keys poorly or seeing them late. He will struggle at times to disengage but he has shown the capability to do so. This is something that he will need to get more consistent with moving forward. Evans did miss some open field tackles in one on one situations, so that might be something to review a little more if you’re spending a pick on him. I believe it has to do with him playing high when he’s outside the tackles. I think this same thing affected him in his pass drops this pass season.
The concern with Evans is his ability/experience in coverage. When he was asked to play coverage in 2016 it was typically dropping to the middle hook zone with his eyes on the quarterback. He looked stiff, high, and had a slow backpedal. Most of that can be fixed by using a better drop by using a cross over run rather than backpedal. He looked much better with all of his pass drops and fluidity in 2015, so I’m optimistic that he can do those things that are needed to contribute there.
As a prospect, Evans is a two down linebacker with three down upside. He certainly has the speed and change of direction to be able to run with running backs and tight ends, but will need more practice and experience with different coverages. He’s a tough, downhill run defender who blows up plays between the tackles and should be a heck of a contributor on coverage teams from the special teams side of the ball based on his straight line speed and hit power.
Round Grade: 5-6
Games Watched: Auburn 2016, Oklahoma St 2016, Baylor 2016, TCU 2016, Texas 2015
Player Comparison: Elandon Roberts