The Pittsburgh Steelers have already signed a pair of inside linebackers in free agency, adding both Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts in mid-March 2023. But in the mind of Brad Spielberger (Pro Football Focus), the Steelers ought to keep adding to the position group by signing former Alabama star Rashaan Evans, who was drafted No. 22 overall by the Tennessee Titans in 2018 and played for the Atlanta Falcons in 2022.
“The Steelers have rotated through a handful of former highly drafted off-ball linebackers over the past few seasons and follow a similar idea here with the 2018 first-rounder. Evans is coming off career highs with 1,104 snaps, 46 defensive stops and 110 tackles while missing only 7.3% of opportunities in 2022,” notes Spielberger, who believes acquiring Evans ought to be “one last offseason move” on the part of general manager Omar Khan.
Rashaan Evans Was Linked to the Steelers After the 2018 Draft
The fact that Evans is coming off a career year isn’t the only reason why the Steelers might be interested in the Alabama product.
After the 2018 NFL Draft there were reports that then-Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert had attempted to trade up to select him. Instead, it was the Titans who traded up to land Evans — jumping up three spots from No. 25 overall in a deal with the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers went on to select safety Terrell Edmunds, who spent the first five years of his NFL career in Pittsburgh but joined the Philadelphia Eagles in March 2023.
As it turns out, Evans — 6-foot-2 and 232 pounds — never quite lived up to expectations in Nashville, which explains why the Titans declined his 5th-year option and why he signed a one-year deal with Atlanta last year.
But one can argue that he’d be an attractive option as a relatively low-cost, depth piece who would provide added competition at his position group. Evans, 27, has appeared in at least 12 games in all five years of his NFL career and has now played in 76 regular-season games, having recorded 419 total tackles (225 solo), along with five sacks, two forced fumbles and a dozen passes defensed, per NFL.com. In 2022 the Falcons paid him a salary of $1.035 million and he carried a total cap number of $1.647 million, according to overthecap.com.
Ex-Chargers Edge Kyle Van Noy Still Available, Too
If the Steelers don’t want to pursue Evans, another linebacker on Spielberger’s list could also be of interest; namely, former Patriots and Chargers edge rusher Kyle Van Noy, who has already been linked to the Steelers and could provide depth behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith.
One player Pittsburgh won’t be pursuing is former Steelers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram III, who the PFF analyst views as an excellent fit for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“Ingram has been a pillar of consistency throughout his NFL career, recording nine straight seasons with a 70.0-plus pass-rush grade,” writes Spielberger.
The Steelers signed Ingram to a one-year contract in July 2021 but traded him to the Kansas City Chiefs less than four months later after Ingram made it clear he didn’t want to play behind Alex Highsmith.