With the twenty third pick of the 2018 Steven Ridley NFL Mock Draft, the New England Patriots select:
Rashaan Evans; Linebacker from the University of Alabama.
For as long as many of us have known, Bill Belichick cares more so about versatility and agility than any other form of testing. The other’s do have merit to him but those two seem to be his bread and butter. Considering him and Nick Saban are close and Belichick has not shied away from drafting Alabama players in his tenure, Evans looks to be next in line to step in. Granted, his questions regarding durability and overall athleticism will not go away. Given the fact that he did in fact play with a groin injury though should indicate that he has more athletic ability than one is giving him credit for. Oddly enough, I did want to tinker with the possibility of New England trading into the top 15 but could not do it for two reasons;
1.) Even under the assumption New England would want to trade into the top 15, Green Bay likely being the incumbent here, the issue upon doing so is that now Bill Belichick will likely have to shell out his round two picks to hop back into the first round as Minnesota also needs offensive tackle assistance.
2.) New England will likely deal away their 31st pick as the differences between first and second round picks within that point is minimal to begin with in terms of talent. Keep in mind, at most, twenty prospects are given a “First Round Grade” by the draft advisory board.
Getting back to Mr. Evans though, his sideline to sideline speed and his no nonsense attitude in the run game will allow Belichick to dial up all sorts of defensive schemes. Once Evans becomes more healthy, watch out.