Linebacker wasn’t viewed as a major need coming into the NFL Draft, at least in terms of 2017.
But in 2018, we’ll see Marquis Flowers, Vontaze Burfict and Kevin Minter hit free agency. That’s why it was important the Bengals come out of Day 3 with at least one backer, and they did so with Jordan Evans.
The former Oklahoma Sooners star was a full-time starter for the past three seasons. Evans saved his best for this past season, where he registered 98 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, four interceptions, eight pass deflections and one forced fumble in 13 games. He’s regarded as one of the best coverage linebackers in this draft, something the Bengals needed upgrading at since Burfict is the only consistent backer in this regard.
Evans was projected as a Round 5 prospect by CBS Sports, and the guys at Pro Football Focus gave him a favorable scouting report. Getting him in Round 6 was a nice value pick, not to mention it gives Cincinnati more linebacker depth to ensure the cupboard isn’t bare in 2018.
Even so, Evans won’t be assured of a roster spot this year as a Day 3 pick. He’ll challenge the likes of Flowers, P.J. Dawson and Bryson Albright for a roster spot this season, assuming Burfict, Minter, Nick Vigil and Vinny Rey have their spots locked in. That would leave 2-3 spots for Evans to make it onto the final roster.
But even if Evans doesn’t make the final roster, this still looks like a solid pick this late in the draft.
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