Eagles Wake-Up Call: Evans Holding Onto Walk-On Mentality
Love from the football world has been a little hard to come by for Randall Evans.
He received no Division I offers coming out of Miami Palmetto High School — apparently due in part to an error in a local paper’s database that credited him with three interceptions his junior year instead of seven — and ultimately chose to walk on at Kansas State (at the urging of none other than Michael Beasley).
Evans went on to start 31 games for the Wildcats. He finished his college career with seven interceptions, 29 passes defensed, 210 tackles and five forced fumbles, and was named first-team All Big 12 this past season. Despite his production and NFL body type (6-0, 190), he did not receive an invite to the Senior Bowl or NFL Combine. So he put his energy into his pro day, where he ran a 4.44 40 to keep his name in the game.
It took some serious door-kicking, but Evans ended up on an NFL roster and even upgraded his title from “walk-on” to “draft pick” in the process. The walk-on mentality, though, remains.
“I still have to have that underdog…I gotta earn it,” he said. “Even though I’m at a new organization, I’m not starting right now. So I’ve still got to earn my position, I gotta earn that 53-man roster, so it stays the same.”
Evans played mostly nickel at Kansas State but also has experience at safety and corner. Immediately after being drafted by the Eagles, he said he was being looked at as a corner during the pre-draft process, but seemed unsure exactly where he would end up playing when addressing reporters at the start of rookie camp.
“You know, the unique thing about him is he’s played safety, he’s played nickel, he’s played corner. He’s a physical player.” said Kelly. “We had real good exposure to him. He’s a guy that we’ve had our eye on for a while just because of his ‑‑ not only his athletic ability but his position versatility, so he’s a guy that we were excited that he was still there.”
What position are his skills best suited for?
“That’s a tough question,” Evans said. “I never really look at it like that. I try to look at it as I can play both being versatile. The most I played was nickel at Kansas State University so that’s kind of a [blend of] a safety and a corner, so I’m in-between.”
Wherever he ends up, Evans believes he can make an immediate impact.
“Most definitely,” he said. “Once I gain the coaches’ trust that I can do everything, that I can make all the plays, [execute] all the techniques that they have, I’m pretty straight.”
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WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Reuben Frank with some thoughts on Eric Rowe and the secondary.
1. I don’t see how Eric Rowe doesn’t start somewhere this year. The Eagles have two glaring holes in the secondary, and he’s a second-round pick with safety and cornerback skills. Where does he start? If Bill Davis finds somebody who can play safety capably across from Malcolm Jenkins — Earl Wolff? Jerome Couplin? — put Rowe at corner and leave him there. If Davis settles on a decent second corner — Walter Thurmond? Nolan Carroll? Jaylen Watkins? Brandon Boykin (yeah, right)? – then stick Rowe at safety and leave him there. My hunch is Rowe will eventually be a safety but will play corner this year.
2. Here’s my guess at the starting secondary in Atlanta on Sept. 14: Maxwell and Rowe at corner and Jenkins and Couplin at safety.
Jesse Lawrence of Forbes.com says that after an offseason in the spotlight, tickets on the secondary market went up a few ticks.
Eagles tickets on TiqIQ currently have an average price of $229.76 across all eight regular season home games this year. That is 3% above the average price from last season with the Eagles coming off an NFC East title in Kelly’s first season as head coach.
As one of the most interesting teams during the offseason, the NFL made sure to schedule them in one of the first primetime games of the season. The Eagles will open Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome during Monday Night Football. They will open at home against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2. The late afternoon game will be the most expensive home game on the Eagles schedule this season. Eagles vs Cowboys tickets have an average price of $330.16 — the only Eagles game averaging above the $300 threshold — and get-in price starts at $138.
Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone touched by Tuesday night’s train derailment.