Bleacher Report is picking Tennessee Titans linebacker Rashaan Evans to “explode into stardom” in 2019.
While the Tennessee Titans certainly have a few options on defense to have a huge year in 2019, Bleacher Report believes it will be linebacker Rashaan Evans who stands out above the rest.
In a list of players from each position who will “explode into stardom,” the second-year Titans linebacker made the cut.
Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon wrote that the off-ball linebacker and former first-round pick will make a name for himself in 2019.
"Now fully healthy, the 23-year-old will enter his second NFL campaign with a full offseason under his belt, which should enable him to do Pro Bowl-level damage in Tennessee."
The former No. 22 overall pick got off on the wrong foot in 2018, as a hamstring injury hampered him during the offseason. But after getting some time to settle in, Evans turned it up and became an elite linebacker over the Titans’ last eight games.
The Tennessee Titans have something special in Evans
Evans was named as one of Pro Football Focus’ “second-half stars,” going from an overall grade of 46.2 from weeks one to nine, to an 83.2 in weeks 10 to 17. Evans was even better than that from Week 13 on, grading out as the third-best linebacker in the NFL over that span. By the way, there were two Titans on the list below, with Jayon Brown also making the top five.
Evans has already proven to be special at stopping the run, something the Titans (No. 18 run defense) struggled with as a team last season.
In weeks seven to 13, Evans earned an elite grade of 90.4 against the run, helping him finish with an overall mark of 72.5 after a dismal start to the season. In his last five games, Evans totaled an overall single-game grade higher than 83 in three of those contests.
As far as pass coverage is concerned, Evans got off to a slow start there as well. However, the Alabama product once again turned up the heat in the second half, proving he was more than capable of being an asset against the pass.
He went from an overall grade of 48.6 from weeks one to six, to 69.7 in weeks seven to 13. And in those later weeks, Evans allowed just 17 passing yards in coverage, which was the best in the league, per PFF.
The last part of Evans’ game we’d like to see improve is getting to the quarterback. The Titans need help in that regard after finishing tied for 16th in the league with 39 sacks. There’s absolutely no reason to believe he won’t get better in that area, also.
It’s definitely hard to pick one young Titans defender who could erupt this season, but Evans is just another good bet in what is shaping up to be an elite defense in Tennessee.