Rookie running back Zack Evans has kept a low profile over minicamp and team activities this offseason for the Los Angeles Rams. That seems to be a promising sign, as the knock on Evans coming into the draft was centered around off-field concerns and personality.
But even while the rookie has flown under the radar, the NFL media is still catching onto the idea that Evans has breakout potential for Los Angeles in 2023.
NFL.com’s Chad Reuter put together a project NFL Offensive All-Rookie team this week, and he surprisingly included Evans over Detroit Lions first round pick Jahmyr Gibbs. Evans also edged out other RB’s that were drafted early, such as Zach Charbonnet (Seattle Seahawks) and Devon Achane (Miami Dolphins). Bijan Robinson of the Atlanta Falcons earned the first-team nod as the eighth overall pick from April’s NFL Draft:
RB: Zach Evans, Los Angeles Rams
Drafted: Round 6, 215 overall
Cam Akers has definitely experienced ups and downs during his career with the Rams. If injury or inconsistent play from Akers creates an opportunity for Evans, I expect the rookie sixth-rounder to attack rushing lanes with his powerful yet agile north-south running.
Only two offensive rookies drafted after the second round were included on Reuter’s list—the other being Seahawks OG Anthony Bradford who was selected in the fourth. Evans’ inclusion on this list isn’t the first attention he’s received this offseason. Dane Brugler of The Athletic revisited his draft rankings from a year ago and noted the Ole Miss product as a borderline first round talent. Did the Rams find a steal in the sixth round, or will Evans’ off-field concerns catch up with him?
There’s still some sorting out that needs to take place with LA’s RB depth chart. Cam Akers seems cemented in as the lead back, at least to start the year. The Rams recently signed veteran Sony Michel, though as previous years indicate his spot on the roster is far from a lock. That also leaves playing time up for grabs for both Evans and second-year back Kyren Williams—who was drafted a round earlier than Evans.