The Pittsburgh Steelers are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to trying to find a quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft class. They have interviewed players like Nate Peterman and Patrick Mahomes, but they have recently been linked to a player who isn’t quite as known as the aforementioned players.
Virginia Tech quarterback Jerod Evans has drawn interest from several NFL teams, including Lions, Steelers, 49ers, Chargers, per a source— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) April 14, 2017
Don’t be ashamed if you don’t know anything about Evans, you wouldn’t be alone. Unless you are someone who roots for the Hokies, or follows ACC football closely, Evans is a player who has certainly slipped through the cracks, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t be a great fit for a team like the Steelers in the middle rounds of the draft.
Evans was one of the top five junior college recruits in the country after a 2015 campaign where he averaged 395.5 passing yards a game and threw for 38 touchdowns. He turned down Texas A&M, waiting for just the right offer. Tech was that place, and he started all 14 games in his only season in Blacksburg, completing 63.5 percent of his passes for 3,546 yards and 29 touchdowns against just eight interceptions. Evans also looked the part of a dual-threat passer with 846 rush yards and 12 scores on the ground. He actually began his career at Air Force in 2013, but suffered a torn ACL and decided to transfer to Trinity Valley instead of sticking it out at the academy.
After that, I went to CBSSports where they had a full profile on Evans. Take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of Evans as a quarterback prospect, and ask yourself if he would be a good fit for the Steelers.
STRENGTHS: Possesses a thick, powerful frame with rare strength for a quarterback. Quickly acclimated to Virginia Tech's offense, showing impressive instincts and the ability to read defenses in his first season at the helm. Evans has a slight hitch in his delivery but a snappy release and the ball jumps out of his hand. He can drive the ball through tight windows, easily possessing the velocity to make every throw in an NFL playbook. He is willing to take shots downfield, lofting the ball high into the air and allowing his receivers opportunities to win jump balls. As accurate on the move as he is in the pocket, showing enough vision, body control and velocity to throw across his body when he sees receivers breaking free late. Evans is a terror as a runner, often simply bulldozing defenders. He possesses the aggressive mindset of a fullback, lowering his shoulder and delivering the hit, driving his legs through contact and twisting out of would-be tackles to maximize each run. Evans showed toughness in returning to action in a win over Pitt after being knocked out with an ankle injury.
WEAKNESSES: On far too many plays, Evans either threw the ball to his initial read or simply tucked the ball and ran, raising concerns about his patience, field vision and recognition of where his secondary targets might be breaking free. Evans routinely stared down his primary target alerting the defense of his intentions and has a slight wind-up. He possesses below average overall accuracy, too often forcing his receivers to adjust their routes to collect passes, all but eliminating yards-after-the-catch possibilities on far too many throws, even including relatively simple timing patterns like slants. He was bailed out on deep balls and back shoulder fades by his receivers either making terrific grabs or earning pass interference calls, often simply lofting 50-50 balls which forced his pass-catchers to come back towards him. Like any junior college transfer (especially quarterbacks), Evans comes with some questions about his ability to handle a complicated NFL playbook.
Evans is projected to be a 5th or 6th round selection by some, while a 3rd round pick seems to be where he caps out in most scenarios.