The Philadelphia Eagles double-dipped at cornerbacks in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. After taking JaCorey Shepherd at No. 191, the team drafted Kansas State's Randall Evans a few picks later at No. 196 overall. Bleeding Green Nation's Ben Natan profiled Evans recently, but I thought it would also be useful to acquire an insider's insight. In order to learn more about the Eagles' new defensive back, I reached out to Kansas State SB Nation blog Bring On The Cats. Jon Morse (@jonfmorse) was kind enough to answer my questions.
1) What are his strengths?
He has a great head for the ball, a lot of smarts, and while he's not a lock-down cover man he also doesn't get beaten foolishly. If you beat Evans, it's because you're just faster. His main strengths are in run defense, though. K-State has, of late, played a modified 4-2-5 where the nickel is actually more of a third linebacker than a fifth defensive back on running plays, and Evans has excelled in that role. He also tackles well, especially for a supposed corner.
2) What are his weaknesses?
He's not the fastest guy on the field, and while he doesn't get beaten foolishly he can be beaten with a good route and/or straight up speed. I won't lie; "Damnit, Randall" are not words which never escaped my lips. That said, as I think back that only happened when playing against teams with four track stars lined up wide, and that's not too common a thing in the NFL.
3) Were you surprised to see Evans drafted in the sixth round?
I was, but on reflection I probably shouldn't have been. Evans was overshadowed by several other guys who stood out more, and his absence from the combine didn't help. We also heard very little about his pro day, while we heard a ton about how well Ryan Mueller and Curry Sexton did in their workouts. So the surprise was less "Whoa, what?!" than it was "Oh, man, we forgot about Evans." He just wasn't on our draft radar by the time the draft rolled around.
4) How do you see his NFL career playing out with the Eagles?
Well, for starters, I think he's found himself a pretty good position to be in. Obviously, Philly needs a lot of help in the secondary, and here he is with a chance to make his mark early. What I suspect you're going to get from Evans is quite a bit like what teams got from another former Wildcat, Jon McGraw. That might not bode well for the Eagles, of course; McGraw had a long career in the league and got a ton of playing time, but never very long for any one team. Classic "good enough to play, not good enough to keep" thing going on there, and I suspect Evans may fall into that pocket.
5) Anything else to know about him?
Not really. Evans kept a pretty low profile on a personal level during his time in Manhattan, and didn't get do a lot of talking because he never really emerged as a vocal team leader. You've probably heard that he ended up at K-State in the first place because he was dating Michael Beasley's sister, or that the Miami Herald incorrectly reported his high school stats, which led to him being under-recruited. But that's really the most interesting stuff we've got on Evans outside the white lines.
Thanks again to Jon. Make sure you check out Bring On The Cats.