The Falcons lost their best tackler, Foye Oluokun back in March and signed Evans with hopes of filling that void with a new face.
However, when Atlanta signed Evans, he wasn’t necessarily a “new face” to them after having played under defensive coordinator Dean Pees during his time with the Tennessee Titans.
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Pees Unsure Why Titans Let Evans Go
Evans was originally selected by the Titans in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Alabama product entered the Titans’ training camp competing against Will Compton and Jayon Brown for a starting job. However, he didn’t win the job and was listed as the third inside linebacker on the depth chart.
It didn’t take long for him to get a start, in fact, he started Week 3 against the Jaguars where he logged his first career tackles. Evan finished his rookie year with 53 total tackles (33 solo), one pass deflected through 15 games and seven starts.
He officially became a full-time starter during his second season where he finished with 111 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a fumble recovery for a touchdown through 16 starts.
In 2020, he recorded a team-high of eight tackles against the Bills in Week 5 and logged nine against the Ravens in Week 11. He ended the year with 96 total tackles, 0.5 sacks, a fumble recovery and a career-high five pass deflections in 16 starts. In the same season, the Titans would go on to with the AFC South with an 11-5 record and qualify for the playoffs. However, their post-season was cut short in the Wildcard round following an overtime loss to the Ravens where Evans recorded nine tackles.
Following Evans’ lack of consistency in his overall production, the Titans declined to pick up his $9.7 million fifth-year option last year, making him a free agent at the conclusion of the 2021 season.
And Pees, well, he couldn’t be happier with Tennessee’s final decision to let him walk.
He comes to Atlanta off a 2021 season where he had 57 tackles, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 12 games and 11 starts.
Evans on Tap to Replace Oluokon
Foye Oluokun was set to become a free agent at the end of the 2021 season, but the Falcons” pushed hard”, per Ian Rapoport, to keep their former 2018 sixth-round draft pick in Atlanta before ultimately losing the fight to Jacksonville.
At the start of free agency on Wednesday, March 16, Oluokun agreed to a three-year deal worth $46.5 million with $28 million guaranteed with the Jaguars.
Oluokun headed to Jacksonville fresh off a career-best season in 2021 where he recorded 192 tackles, six passes defensed, two sacks, a forced fumble and three interceptions. In three of his four seasons with the Falcons, Oluokun logged at least 90 tackles.
With Oluokun now in Jacksonville, the Falcons’ interior linebacker room consists of Evans, Deion Jones, Mykal Walker, Troy Andersen, Dorian Etheridge and Rashad Smith.
And with the lack of overall proven talent at the position, Evans has a clear shot at winning a starting job––if he wants it.
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