Oklahoma Linebacker Could Be Of Interest To The Detroit Lions!
The University of Oklahoma’s Pro Day on Wednesday featured an incredible performance by Joe Mixon as well as another combine snub, ILB Jordan Evans. The senior’s performance might fly under the radar amidst the Mixon static, but he’s somebody Detroit fans need to know about.
Evans has been a guy I’ve liked for awhile now – I wasn’t sure if he’d even be drafted going into today – but not even I expected him to test as well as he did. I know there’s generally a disparity between combine numbers and pro day numbers, due to the margin of human error, but his Pro Day measurables are very comparable to those of Temple LB Haason Reddick, who turned heads in Indy.
40-yard dash: 4.52s (Reddick) vs. 4.50s (Evans)
Bench press: 24 (Reddick) vs. 19 (Evans)
Vertical: 36.5″ (Reddick) vs. 38″ (Evans)
Broad jump: 11’1″ (Reddick) vs. 9’11” (Evans)
3-cone drill: 7.01s (Reddick) vs. 7.03 (Evans)
20-yard shuttle: 4.37s (Reddick) vs 4.28s (Evans)
Reddick clearly has the advantage over Evans on both the bench press and the broad jump, but Evans has a higher vertical and is a very comparable athlete everywhere else. He definitely attracted some attention at his Pro Day.
Now, don’t get things confused – I don’t think Evans is a better prospect than Reddick. He’s probably a day three player, but he has a lot to offer the Lions, particularly because of his plus coverage abilities. The three-year starter tallied four interceptions and eight pass breakups in 2016 for the Sooners. He also added 96 tackles (9.5 for a loss), 2.5 sacks, a fumble recovery, and two defensive touchdowns for the Sugar Bowl champs. After a rocky start to OU’s season, which included back-to-back losses to Houston and Ohio State, Evans stepped up big time down the stretch and provided valuable leadership as a senior captain.
Teryl Austin utilizes a zone-heavy scheme, and Evans has the ability to play the kind of Tampa 2 middle linebacker the Lions were sorely lacking last season. He’s better in coverage than he is in run support, and held up well against the pass-happy Big 12. After Reddick, who was a popular choice to the Lions in various mock drafts, crushed the combine, he could be off the clock come pick 21. The linebacking class is more shallow than it has been in recent years and there’s not a lot of great value to be had in the second round if the team decides it wants Reddick and misses out, so Evans could be someone the Lions consider on Day three.