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2018 NFL Draft: How LB Rashaan Evans Would Fit With The Jaguars

Zach Dewitt

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Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Rashaan Evans (32) sacks Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) during the third quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

With NFL teams finalizing their draft boards, and needs being relatively evident for each team after the free agency period came and went, it’s time to begin evaluating prospect fits at positions of need for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In continuation of the Locked On Jaguars prospect fit series, let’s take a look at Alabama LB Rashaan Evans. We’ve previously covered Penn State TE Mike Gesicki, UTEP guard Will Hernandez, Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph, and Oregon OL Tyrell Crosby.

Measurables: (#) = Percentile vs NFL LB

Height: 6′ 1⅞ (47)             Weight: 232 lbs (17)   Wingspan: 77¼” (43) 

Arm Length: 32¼” (42)   Hand Size: 10″ (74)     Vertical Jump: 30″ (10)

Broad Jump: 116″ (49)      3-Cone Drill: 6.95s (73)                                          

20 Yard Shuttle:  4.36s (33)

Strengths

Rashaan Evans played ILB at Alabama but for only one full season. That season being 2017, as he had to bide his time being many talented LB recruits, namely Reuben Foster. He recorded 74 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and six sacks. He only started two games in 2016, Alabama’s playoff games, and he registered 18 tackles. In 2015 and 2014, he primarily played special teams and reserve LB.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you flip on Evans’ tape, one of the first things that stands out is his ability to rush the passer. The first thing you notice is how easily he beats the left tackle around the corner using only his speed. However, the closer you look, it’s evident that he wins this rep by having an extremely quick get off. He’s the first defender off the line and almost even with the left tackle before he even gets up and into his stance. This speed and quickness shows up time and time again in Evans’ game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another signature of Evans’ pass rushing prowess is his spin move. He shows over and over again that he can use the spin move both inside and outside. Here, he sets up the left tackle and then easily spins around him to rush the throw and hit the quarterback. The left tackle never stood a chance, as Evans’ was spinning around him before the tackle even got his hands up on him. Evans’ frequently uses this move and it’s clear that it’s one of his favorites. He’s adept at using it and is successful more often than not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evans’ also shows ability to rush the passer without using only his speed. He’s able to hand fight, as well as use pass rushing moves. Evans’ illustrates here that he’s able to set up the tight end, swat his hands down, and then use a swim move to get past him. He also shows his tenacity here. After getting past his blocker, the quarterback steps up into the pocket. However, Evans’ is able to keep his eyes on the quarterback and then fight through the tight end and running back to register the sack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rashaan Evans fits the NFL’s new mold for LB’s perfectly. He’s about 6’2″, 230 pounds, and has great speed and length. He also possesses great range, explosiveness and ability to play sideline to sideline. He tracks the running back out of the backfield and immediately explodes to catch him on the sideline before he’s able to break past the secondary. He initially takes a less than ideal angle but has the speed and agility to quickly correct and make the tackle. This speed and range would fit in very well with Myles Jack and Telvin Smith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He also uses his speed to close quickly on plays before they have a chance to develop. This is most often shown when a quarterback starts to scramble and Evans’ explodes from his spot at middle linebacker and gets to the quarterback before he’s able to break outside and get to the sideline. This is extremely valuable on defense, as rushing quarterbacks are becoming more popular and more deadly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For someone who played ILB his whole career, Evans’ showed a lot of promise in coverage. He was able to read routes and showed ability to stay on the hip of the receiver and make a play on the ball. I think he could trust his athleticism a little more and squeeze some routes tighter but that can be coached.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evans’ is a very solid run defender and showed ability to shed blocks, while still keeping his eyes on the running back. One thing that stood out was his tendency to shed or side step blocks without giving up his gap. You can see here that’s he’s able to get through the block while maintaining his gap and forcing the running back inside, rather than bouncing outside. That gap integrity is something that’s important to the Jaguars’ defense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something that consistently stood out to me on Evans’ tape is his ferocity and tenacity. We see him use that spin move again, this time to the inside, and then uses his athleticism to stop the quarterback from getting outside and chases him down for the sack. Evans’ never gave up on the play and you see that sort of tenacity all the time when he plays. That attitude fits in perfectly with what Jacksonville looks for.

Weaknesses

The biggest weakness I see in Evans’ game is his lack of instincts and he can sometimes be slow to diagnose and react. I think it mostly stems from him only being a full time starter for one year, as we saw incredible improvement in this area from 2016 to 2017. This leads me to believe his instincts will only get better the longer he plays the position. It mostly manifests itself on running plays when he is sometimes hesitant to crash a gap and run downhill. That slight delay allows the hole to fill, and he’s unable to make a play. Again, I think that’s something that will improve with playing time.

Some scouts have concerns about durability as he’s had a few nagging injuries, namely a groin injury last year. None of the injuries were linked so on the surface, they don’t give us any major reasons to be concerned.

Fit in Jacksonville

With the retirement of Paul Posluszny, that leaves the Jaguars with a hole at LB. Whether they moves Myles Jack to MLB and draft a SAM, or they leave Jack at SAM and draft a MLB. I personally believe that Rashaan Evans could play all three of the linebacker positions but that SAM would be a great fit for him.

He’s shown incredible ability as a sub package pass rusher and showed a lot of promise covering tight ends in coverage or running backs out of the backfield. Even if you choose to leave him at MLB, he’s a great run stopper and his instincts at the position will only get better. His explosiveness and speed even make him deadly as a delayed blitzer from the inside. Most importantly, I think his versatility gives the Jaguars a lot of flexibility in their linebacker room. Not to mention, his ferocious play style and tendency to fly around the field would fit in flawlessly here in Jacksonville.

Zach is a 21 yr old born in Jacksonville, Florida growing up in Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra, and St. Augustine. He has been a Jaguars fan his whole life and endured all the bad times. Zach joined the Air Force at 18 and is currently stationed in South Carolina but makes sure to rep the Jags whenever he can. Zach has written for fantasy football sites before but wanted to try his hand at real football. You can follow Zach on Twitter at, @ZakDewitt.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars finalize coaching staff after landing offensive coordinator

Demetrius Harvey

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Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have finalized their 2019 coaching staff. They’ve officially hired their offensive coordinator as well as other staff members. John DeFilippo was the headliner for today as the replacement for Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator.

The Jaguars also announced the remainder of their staff. As we covered in the past couple of weeks they have hired several position coaches, including Terry Robiskie as running backs coach, George Warhop as the offensive line coach, and Tim Walton as the secondary coach.

The rest of the staff was a mystery until today. The Jaguars announced they will be promoting assistant defensive line coach Jason Rebrovich to defensive line coach, and they have hired David Merritt as their assistant defensive line coach. Merritt spent the past season as the Arizona Cardinals defensive backs coach. Joe Danna will be promoted as well and will be coaching the safeties. Danna has been on the Jaguars staff as an assistant secondary coach since 2017. John Donovan, another assistant coach for the Jaguars, will be promoted to assistant running backs coach.

It is worth noting in today’s presser Marrone stated Tim Walton will coach the cornerbacks, and Joe Danna will coach the safeties. “I thought we could get more out of our coaches and players if we split the secondary,” Marrone said. This is worth noting as Walton actually held a similar role with the Giants for the past couple of seasons.

Scott Milanovich will remain on staff as the quarterbacks coach. Milanovich was the play-caller for the final five weeks of the season. Milanovich has been with the Jaguars as a QB coach since 2017.

There were no other major coaching changes on the Jaguars roster as the rest of the staff will stay intact.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars will retain quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich

Zach Goodall

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Nov 26, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars will retain Scott Milanovich as their quarterbacks coach, according to head coach Doug Marrone.

Milanovich filled in as interim offensive coordinator after Nate Hackett was fired midseason, but the offense saw no improvement with the QB coach calling plays. However, the team appears confident that the former Grey Cup-winning CFL head coach can handle the responsibilities of quarterbacks coach, a position Milanovich has held since Doug Marrone was named head coach in 2017.

The team hired John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator earlier today. You can read why he was a fantastic hire here. Marrone mentioned during his press conference today that Milanovich and DeFilippo have a previous relationship in Maryland.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars to hire John DeFilippo as offensive coordinator, per report

Zach Goodall

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Credit: 247Sports.com

The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to hire John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator, per report.

DeFilippo was the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator during the 2018 season, but was fired during Week 15, apparently due to a conflict of play-calling interests with head coach Mike Zimmer, who wanted to focus more on the run game than DeFilippo’s strengths with the pass game.

However, despite a lack of calling the run, Vikings quarterback had a historic season as a passer when it came to efficiency, being the first QB in NFL history to throw for 4000+ yards, 30+ touchdowns, 10 or fewer interceptions, and complete at least 70% of his passes. Much of this can be credited to DeFilippo’s influence in the passing game.

Previous to Minnesota, DeFilippo was the Philadelphia Eagles QBs coach during their 2017-18 Super Bowl run, where he was key to the development of Carson Wentz and rejuvenation of Nick Foles’ career after Wentz tore his ACL. He also served as offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2015, where then-36 year old Josh McCown posted the second most touchdown passes of his 13 year career with 12 in eight games, along with 2109 passing yards, a 63.7 completion percentage, and only four interceptions.

DeFilippo’s first NFL coaching job came in 2005 as an offensive quality control coach under then New York Giants head coach and current EVP of Football Operations for the Jaguars, Tom Coughlin. So there’s a definite connection to the team in ths hire.

At the end of the day, the Jaguars number one priority this offseason has to be, and will be, fixing their passing game woes. Quarterback Blake Bortles needs to be replaced, and the team’s next signal caller must be groomed into a successful QB. DeFilippo has proven with Cousins, Foles/Wentz, as well as Josh McCown in Cleveland during the 2015 season, that he’s capable of doing just that.

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