Justin “The Eraser” Evans – Senior / 6’0″ / 199 – Texas A&M
Games Watched: 2016 – Alabama, LSU, UCLA. 2015 – Alabama, Arizona State, Ole Miss, South Carolina
Skinny: He is a little small to play in-the-box at the NFL level. He often tackles too high (or above the belt). This allows the ball carrier to gain extra yardage. He needs to realize to stop someone dead in their tracks he needs to hit them at the belt line or the thigh. In the heat of the moment he will take poor angles to make the tackle. Hopefully, these are coachable issues. He was a decent to above average hitter in college but NFL is a different animal. He has flattened bigger backs (Derrick Henry in 2015, see video).
He has the speed to play in single-high situations as well as in off and zone coverages. He shows off his athleticism as a kick returner (17 career returns, 27.9-yard average per). He also understands back end support at the safety position. He tracks the flight of the ball very well (five INTs and 11 PBUs in 25 college games). He also recorded back-to-back seasons with at least 78 tackles. He reads and diagnoses better when he remains back in his safety position. He does force the play when he jumps up pre-snap, but he has been known to over-pursue. He will sometimes get baited by the QBs eyes.
Fantasy Outlook: Evans best fit to see early snaps in the NFL would be as a true free safety in a 3-4 scheme. We just do not trust him the in-the-box yet. He can be trusted in certain single-high situations but veteran QBs might deceive his immaturity. He could also potentially work in a 4-3 system sitting behind veterans like Earl Thomas (SEA), Devin McCourty (NE) or Rodney McLeod (PHI). If he goes to a 4-3 scheme that could stunt his initial growth. If his tackling issues are fixed by the time he gets a snap majority in 4-3 he could be a more consistent IDP player. In a 3-4 scheme he could be too beholden to turnovers. Unless of course he cycles up and plays in the slot. He is also aggressive enough to matchup with TEs. His kick return abilities will keep him on an active roster and that makes Evans more intriguing than most of the other DBs in the middle tier.
Combine: Evans only did the bench press at the combine. He put up 14 reps, which was one less the than Budda Baker, three less than Obi Melifonwu, four less than Jamal Adams and six off the leader at safety.
***Texas A&M Pro Day is scheduled for March 29th.***