The Cincinnati Bengals’ final preseason was an ugly contest and one I sincerely hope you didn’t watch.
But, if you want to hear about who did well in the game, well, we can talk about that.
On defense, rookie linebacker Jordan Evans was the star of the first half. He was all over the field, making play after play.
He seemed unstoppable whenever on the field... Which was for a total of 18 snaps.
He did so well, in fact, that after the game, head coach Marvin Lewis said he “can’t be more excited about a young player” than he is about Evans. That’s bold praise, especially considering Evans was a sixth round pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
“I could see Jordan Evans because he was in open space. He demonstrated what we’ve seen from him the entire time. I can’t be more excited about a young player than I am about him,” Lewis said. “Both those guys (Evans and Jordan Willis) and Carl Lawson had a good showing tonight so those guys are ready to go. And that’s what we need to have. They’re going to be a part of the football team and part of the 46-man roster on Sundays and they earned an opportunity to be there.”
Pro Football Focus was also impressed with Evans, giving him an incredible 96.2 overall grade, classified as elite, for his work in the game.
Here’s a look at the top 5 highest graded Bengals, per PFF:
1. LB Jordan Evans, 96.2 overall grade
LB JORDAN EVANS, 96.2 OVERALL GRADE
For the first period of this game, Evans was all over the field for the Bengals defense, seemingly making every play. He led the team with six defensive stops despite playing only 18 snaps. Making a defensive stop on a third of your snaps on the field is a ridiculous rate and earned him the best grade of 96.2 overall of anyone in the game.
2. QB AJ McCarron, 86.7 overall grade
QB AJ MCCARRON, 86.7 OVERALL GRADE
McCarron wasn’t expected to play as much as he did tonight, but an injury to No. 3 QB Jeff Driskel meant he played almost the entire game (64 snaps), and though he wasn’t helped out by some of his supporting cast, he nonetheless made some big plays and had a passer rating of 100.7 when under pressure.
3. DI Josh Tupou, 82.8 overall grade
4. CB Tony McRae, 81.2 overall grade
CB TONY MCRAE, 81.5 OVERALL GRADE
Tony McRae, an undrafted free agent in 2016, had the game of his NFL career against the Colts here. He was targeted three times, and didn’t allow a catch, while picking one of those passes off for a turnover.
5. LB Brandon Bell, 80.1 overall grade
Will any of the performances from the preseason finale change the Bengals’ minds in terms of who makes the 53-man roster and practice squad?