Another Alabama Inside Linebacker (Who Models C.J. Mosley) Could Be Best Player Available


Everyone knows the Ravens have more needs on offense, particularly at the skill positions.

At the same time, everyone also knows Baltimore won't stray from its best-player-available strategy.

One prospect that could end up being valued higher than the offensive options available at pick No. 16 is Alabama inside linebacker Rashaan Evans.

Yes, another Alabama linebacker. It wouldn't be a shocker.

Evans is widely projected to be a first-round pick, most often in the second half of the round. After a strong NFL Scouting Combine performance, in which he showed off his top-notch movement skills, Evans' stock may be rising.

"Evans is a thumper in the running game," wrote ESPN's Todd McShay, who projects Evans going to the San Diego Chargers at No. 17, one pick after the Ravens. "He plays with tremendous effort and has sneaky pass-rush ability as well."

"Evans is an explosive, playmaking linebacker capable of covering backs and tight ends," added NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah, who has Evans at No. 22 overall to the Buffalo Bills.

The Ravens could use more help at inside linebacker, especially from a player that excels in covering running backs and tight ends. Baltimore tried to replace Zachary Orr internally last year, but got mixed results over the course of the season.

Of course, Baltimore already has one Alabama inside linebacker in three-time Pro Bowler C.J. Mosley. Evans' first year at Alabama was Mosley's first in the NFL (2014), so they just missed each other, but Evans has heard the tales and still has a connection with Mosley.

"Every time he comes back to the university, me and him always try to chop it up," Evans said. "The main thing I always get from him is always just to kind of take things slow, be patient, knowing that this process is kind of long, but at the same time, just enjoy it.

"I always kind of try to model my game after him. He's an exceptional linebacker. He plays the game the right way, and that's something I always wanted to play like."

Evans had to wait his turn at Alabama. The top outside linebacker recruit in the nation coming out of high school, he didn't become a starter until his junior year when he moved to inside linebacker. He said it took him a year to feel comfortable inside, and it showed with a standout senior season.

Evans notched 74 tackles, including 13 for loss, and six sacks in his final season, despite playing through two groin injuries. On a per snap basis, he rushed the passer better than any other linebacker in the 2018 draft, per Pro Football Focus.

He stands in at 6-foot-3, 232 pounds – one inch taller and 18 pounds lighter than Mosley. Evans' ability to go forward and backward make him well-suited for today's dynamic passing game and a possible perfect complement to Mosley.

Asked what position he was born to play – inside or outside linebacker – Evans said, "I was born to be versatile."

"I was born to be able to play whatever you want me to play," he said. "I don't even like to put a name on what I play because I feel like that's really limiting my athletic ability."

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