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Oklahoma Sooners 2017 NFL Draft Profile: Jordan Evans

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The Sooner legacy and co-captain garnered some buzz after OU’s Pro Day and continues to climb draft boards across the league.

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NCAA Football: West Virginia at Oklahoma Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

After being snubbed from an invite to the NFL Combine, former Oklahoma Sooners linebacker and co-captain Jordan Evans has since grabbed the attention of pro scouts with an impressive workout at OU’s Pro Day last month. Battling back through injuries and inconsistent play along with the rest of the defense through the last couple of seasons, Evans ended his career at Oklahoma in impressive fashion. Capitalizing on the momentum of his senior season, his eye-catching Pro Day results and some encouraging workouts around the league leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft, the playmaking Sooner legacy has now solidly entrenched his name into NFL Draft conversations.

Jordan’s Story

A Sooner-born, three-star recruit who starred in high school as a linebacker and defensive back at Norman North, Jordan Evans knew he didn’t need to go far to chase his football dreams and followed the footsteps of his father Scott, a former three-time All-Big 8 defensive tackle between the 1988-90 seasons, to OU in 2013. The 6-2, 233-pound, inside linebacker through his 45 games and 36 starts in four seasons at Oklahoma, compiled 286 tackles, including 22 for loss, along with 24 sacks and five interceptions. Aside from his stats, which were productive and respectable, the true measures of his value were his leadership and clutch playmaking abilities, which earned him two straight all-conference selections including a spot on the All-Big 12 First Team in 2016.

Strengths

Evans became the first Sooner linebacker since Clint Ingram in 2005 to lead the team in interceptions and his numerous pass breakups and big plays came in crucial games, especially through the Sooners’ unbeaten run through the conference last season.

The quarterback of the defense as as junior and senior, Evans was one of the smartest and most instinctive playmakers for Mike Stoops and rallied a struggling defense to a respectable finish last season, leading the team with 98 tackles and four interceptions — two of which were returned for touchdowns. In a blowout win against Baylor at home, Evans etched his place in Oklahoma linebacker lore by becoming the first Sooner at his position to record two interceptions and at least two sacks in the same game, quite the distinction at a school that’s seen multiple Butkus Award winners through the years.

OU Pro Day Results

40-yard dash: 4.50 seconds

Vertical: 38.5 inches

Bench press: 19 reps

Broad jump: 119 inches

3-cone drill: 7.03 seconds

20-yard shuttle: 4.28 seconds

60-yard shuttle: 11.35 seconds

Evans truly showed out during last month’s Pro Day in Norman. His 40-yard dash time of 4.50 seconds would’ve been good enough for a second-place finish at the NFL Combine among linebackers, and his vertical leap tied Oklahoma wide receiver Geno Lewis for tops at Pro Day. The Tulsa World’s Cory Stavenhagen reported last month that Evans has been hard at work since OU’s Sugar Bowl win in January, training with a group called Ignition in Cincinnati with senior teammate Ahmad Thomas, and says he has “trimmed 4 or 5 percent of his body fat” since the season. Evans also avoided the bench press until his Pro Day workout where he made it count with a solid 19 reps in front of a sea of NFL scouts.

Draft Projections

It would be a huge shock if Evans went undrafted, and he is considered a real value between rounds four and six on day three. While he needs to continue adding size and strength to last at this level, the strides he’s made the last few months speak volumes of just how high his ceiling may be when it’s all said and done.

While primarily an inside linebacker, Evans is a natural playmaker with a knack to come up big on passing downs and with his agility and elite coverage skills, could be deployed on the outside for some teams as well. After suffering a torn pectoral muscle in OU’s 2015 College Football Playoff loss against Clemson, Evans’s road to recovery took a while but ended in a very productive, standout senior season and a Sugar Bowl win against a physical, run-heavy Auburn squad.

Overall, Jordan Evans is a physical, athletic inside linebacker and an instinctive playmaker with excellent skills in pass coverage. He has been compared to the BucsKwon Alexander by Hogs Haven and the BillsZach Brown by Pro Football Focus and despite some size and durability concerns, possesses the flexibility, athleticism and natural instincts to find his way onto a rotation for a host of teams next season. According to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, Evans even has possible fringe starter potential, as well.

Evans may lack the physical nature to hold up inside so he may have to find his way as a backup outside linebacker. Evans has enough traits and talent to become an eventual starter if he can play with better toughness and consistency. - Lance Zierlein, NFL.com