So to get a better sense of what the Rams picked up, I linked up with Jack Shields of Crimson and Cream Machine, the SB Nation community for fans of the Oklahoma Sooners.
Evans was a bit of a undersized prospect coming out of Allen HS back in 2015 (trying to remember if you guys had anyone else from Allen recently...). While he initially headed to the right side to play right tackle with Orlando Brown, Jr., on the left side, Evans moved over the left in 2018. How would qualify his career? Obviously, there have been some great linemen coming out of Norman, and this year was a phenomenal one as you guys took home the Joe Moore Award for the nation’s top O-line only to send four prospects to the NFL (with C Creed Humphrey remaining at center who might end up being the best NFL prospect out of all of them!). So with all of that talent around him, how did Evans stand out?
As a redshirt freshman in 2016, Evans helped provide some stability in what was supposed to be a bit of a transition year for Oklahoma’s offensive line. By the end of the season, the unit was a well-oiled machine and hasn’t really slowed down since. In 2017, Evans had a phenomenal season at right tackle, and many though that he was actually the unit’s best performer (which is saying something).
His move to left tackle received some slightly mixed reviews. Was he as effective on the other side? No, but it’s not like he necessarily struggled either. Once the 2018 line became a cohesive unit from a run-blocking perspective (roughly mid-October), he did perfectly fine in his new role but just wasn’t quite as dominant.
What position would you say he’s best suited for? Cody Ford started his career at left guard before moving to right tackle once Evans moved from RT to LT. Did Evans ever have any practice reps or any reporting on any ability to play inside as well as at tackle like Ford, or would you say he’s strictly limited to playing tackle on both sides?
Offensive Line Coach Bill Bedenbaugh is known to tinker with his personnel quite a bit during the offseason, but I don’t recall him ever working at guard. He does have outstanding technique and a good frame for the tackle position, so I wouldn’t anticipate a move to the inside. As far as which side suits him, it’s hard to argue with the results he saw on the right. However, could he have become a bit more effective on the left side if given more time? It’s certainly a possibility.
Tough to see a ton of fault from the line last year, but was there anything in Evans’ game that you think could be a flaw that might be magnified at the NFL level? Any obvious limitations to his game?
One complaint has been tightness in the hips. Additionally, at 6’4” and 312, he’s on the smaller end of the spectrum for an NFL tackle.
What former OU linemen does he remind you of? Brown? Daryl Williams? Trent Williams? (Please say Trent Williams. Thanks.)
Daryl Williams is actually the most common comparison in general (regardless of program), as he possesses strong hands and a strong core. Hate to break it to you, but he doesn’t quite have the upside of a guy like Trent Williams. Having said that, he has the potential to be solid NFL starter for several years, which would be a nice return on investment for the Rams.
The transition from Bob Stoops to Lincoln Riley hasn’t slowed you guys down whatsoever, but it probably helps to have had two quarterbacks who won the Heisman in Riley’s first two years in charge...While you guys have come up short in the playoffs, it’s not as if the window has closed on yall especially with Jalen Hurts coming in to take over at quarterback. There’s tons of talent around Hurts on offense for Riley to continue implementing his offense to churn out 40- and 50- and even 60-point games (Why’d yall do that to Baylor, man. That’s just mean.) with some interesting talent on defense. And the recruiting continues to be stellar even poking into Pac-12 country with the top dual-threat QB in Spencer Rattler out of Arizona and slicing into Los Angeles to get S Jeremiah Criddell. I’d normally ask if you’re comfortable with the trajectory of the program, but yall are so damn good let’s just skip that. Who are some of the better players on the roster after the spring that NFL fans should get an early look at? And is this the year you guys get past the SEC in the playoffs? Sure would be fun to get Hurts up against his former team in the Alabama Crimson Tide...
WR CeeDee Lamb is going to be “that dude” in the 2020 NFL Draft for Oklahoma, as he is quite possibly the most complete and pro-ready receiver OU has ever produced. He’s 6’2”, is absolutely chiseled, can climb the ladder to get the ball, can make you miss and has phenomenal hands. He’s also an elite blocker for a receiver, which comes in handy no matter what kind of system you’re running. Basically, he’d be pretty fun to watch in a Sean McVay offense.
The aforementioned Creed Humphrey is another name to watch. He has a chance to be the best center prospect in… well… ever, but he could also easily be a dominant guard at the next level. Will he declare after his redshirt sophomore season? It’s rare for someone at his position, but I certainly wouldn’t rule it out.
As far as the CFP is concerned, Oklahoma is still a couple of years away from being good enough defensively to win it all. OU has actually done a pretty solid job on the defensive recruiting trail in the last three cycles, but player development has been an issue. Additionally, new DC Alex Grinch is now in the process of bringing in his own guys, so 2019 won’t be the year in which Oklahoma returns to anything resembling defensive dominance. However, I do like what I’m hearing from a cultural standpoint, so perhaps certain areas (such as tackling) will improve quicker than I expect.
Thanks to Jack for the time.