The former Michigan Wolverines back finished his college career with 1,795 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in 320 carries. He also chipped in 49 grabs for 479 yards and two scores, as he looks like the kind of dual-threat back Cincinnati had in Giovani Bernard before he was cut this offseason.
However, Evans’ last two years in college didn’t go smoothly, as he fell behind eventual First-Team All-Big Ten pick Karan Higdon on the depth chart in 2018. Evans then missed all of 2019 due to an academic suspension.
Evans would return to the field this past year but only received 25 touches before declaring for the draft.
Despite the red flags, Evans was viewed as a promising sleeper prospect heading into the draft. ESPN’s Todd McShay had Evans ranked 178th overall in his final big board (350 players) and 11th among defensive ends. Fellow ESPN analyst Mel Kiper did not have Evans among his top 150 players but did rank him 16th among running backs.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein gave Evans a 5.84 grade (Backup/Special Teamer) and a Round 5-6 projection.
The consensus big board by The Athletic’s Arif Hasan had Evans checking in at 193rd, so Cincinnati got some nice value with the 202nd overall pick.
As for what to expect from Evans in 2021, he’s set to compete with Trayveon Williams, Jacques Patrick, and undrafted free agent Pooka Williams for one of the final 1-2 running back spots. Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine are very likely to make the roster, and the Bengals may only keep one more back behind the two veterans.
Even though he is a rookie draft pick, Evans will need to impress in training camp and the preseason to earn a spot on the final roster.