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Rams release running back Tiyon Evans

Undrafted rookie out of Louisville doesn’t get through OTAs

Louisville v Clemson
Rams release Tiyon Evans, rookie running back out of Louisville
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

After the Los Angeles Rams third OTA session of the young 2023 preseason, the team has announced the release of running back Tiyon Evans. The undrafted rookie out of Louisville, with his stocky, powerful build, projected to fit best as L.A.’s short yardage/power back.

Evans has good running skills, but lacks the polish and versatility the Rams favor. The battle for RB#4 would likely be come down to special teams play and Evans lacked that background. The Rams have decided to go with Ronnie Rivers for now, he’s a gamer who is solid in all phases of the game, although not being a true standout in any.

Back on May 9, I profiled Tiyon Evans and noted why he went undrafted:

Not elite athletically, he weighed in heavier at the NFL Combine than his listed playing weight. HIs forty time, 4.52, is good, as is the 1.61 10-yard split. In the power/explosion drills, his 30.5 vertical and 9’ 5” long jump are below norms. He did have a solid 20 reps on the bench.

Stocky, low to the ground build with big thighs. Not a bruising power runner, he breaks tackles by staying low into contact, has good balance to bounce off that contact, and falls forward. Looks faster on film than he tested, cannot remember him being caught from behind on breakaways. Plenty of zone experience, but is more of a one-cut-and-go downhill runner. Has good stop/start ability and while not a darter, makes deft cuts at speed. Ball security is an issue, had a fumble for every 30 carries in school.

Just not enough receiving snaps to make a case for having value there. Limited to screens and check downs. As blocker, he’s a mixed bag. Really gets after it on some reps and on others it doesn’t look like much of an effort. NFL backs have to consistently be willing blockers, particularly guys who are on the roster bubble.

Tiyon Evans is a strong between-the-tackles runner, well-suited for the Rams inside/mid zone scheme. His running skills are evident, but I don’t think he has reached his potential, just not enough experience and/or high-end reps. He’ll likely be in a battle for RB#4 and since he doesn’t have a history of special teams play, the keys to his making the opening roster are upgrading ball security, showing he can make plays as a receiver, and being a consistent blocker.

Who’s left?

The top three back now are Cam Akers, Kyren Williams, and rookie Zach Evans, and they are all still healthy along with 2022 undrafted free agent Ronnie Rivers. Rivers saw action last year, subbing in when Akers was in the dog house, Williams was injured, and Darrell Henderson was released.

The release of Evans won’t create national news or anything but does clear up the competition to make the practice squad.