Bill Belichick and the Patriots scouting department already got a front-row seat to the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide’s finest a few weeks ago at Bama’s Pro Day, and would you look at that, it just so happens one of Alabama’s best players happens to play a position that could really use a shot in the arm on the Patriots roster. More than just depth, though, middle linebacker has always been the straw that stirs the drink in the front-seven, even though we’ve heard every “bend but don’t break” punchline in the galaxy by now. Dont’a Hightower’s been everything the Patriots could have asked for out of a first-round pick, both as a beast of a clutch athlete and a brainy defensive captain and signal-caller, but as 2017 proved, he can’t do it alone.
Thanks to AL.com’s Crimson Tide beat writer Matt Zenitz, we now know that New England liked what they saw from likely first-round pick Rashaan Evans, and he’s got a visit with the Patriots coming up.
Rashaan Evans has pre-draft visits lined up with the Jaguars, Dolphins, Colts, Falcons, Saints and Patriots, per source.— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) April 3, 2018
Has already visited the Eagles and Cowboys. https://t.co/i8YcEUdR8K
Evans has been a popular mock-draft pick for the Patriots if he’s not snapped up by another linebacker-needy team, like...well, basically every other team that he’s visiting. At 6’3’’ and 234 lbs, Rashaan stands in pretty stark contrast to Crimson Tide alum Dont’a Hightower (6’4’’, 265 lbs), but shares one thing in common - the kid can line up at just about any linebacker position, or at least he did at Alabama. As SB Nation’s Alex Kirshner points out, Evans played the Mike, Will, and Sam positions at various points in his Crimson Tide career as they moved him around to compensate for injuries and to put him in a position to make plays.
Pro Football Focus also noted that when Bama sent Evans after the quarterback, things usually did not end well for said quarterback.
Rashaan Evans really got after the QB last season pic.twitter.com/CVXChfNlQE— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 28, 2018
And of course, as of dinnertime on Tuesday, the Patriots are the proud new owners of two first-round draft picks at 23rd and 31st, not to mention that 49ers pick from the Jimmy Garoppolo trade that’s sitting at 43rd. Translation: they’re certainly in a position to make a run at Rashaan Evans if they want to.
Although, judging by some of the highlight hits in Alex K’s piece above, usually making a run in Rashaan Evans’s general direction is a bad idea.
(Sorry, dad joke, my bad)