2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Zach Evans

  • Zach Evans, 5-11/202

  • Running Back

  • Ole Miss

  • Zach Evans Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Instinctive runner
  • Big-play speed
  • Threat to break any run for a long gain
  • Great feet
  • Explosive burst
  • Extremely elusive
  • Acceleration
  • Second gear in the open field
  • Capable of creating for himself
  • Routinely jukes defenders and makes them miss
  • Good knee bend
  • Runs behind his pads
  • Nose for the end zone
  • Good vision
  • Superb patience
  • Anticipation
  • Strength to run through tackles
  • Can function as a receiver
  • Soft hands
  • Runs good routes
  • Strong build
  • Durable
  • Enters the NFL having shared carries in college
  • Decisive runner
  • Three-down-starter ability

  • Weaknesses:
  • Prone to injury
  • Gets dinged up a lot
  • Slightly undersized
  • Will need development in blitz protection

  • Summary: Over three seasons of college football, Evans flashed big-time ability, but he never put it all together for a big year. As a freshman in 2020 for TCU, he averaged 7.7 yards per carry for 415 yards and four touchdowns. He also took eight catches for 76 yards. Evans averaged 7.0 yards per carry in 2021 for the Horned Frogs, collecting 648 yards and five touchdowns. He had 10 receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown as well. Prior to his junior year, Evans transferred to Ole Miss to play for Lane Kiffin, and Evans put together his best season despite being banged up. Evans averaged 6.5 yards per carry for 936 yards and nine touchdowns. He also notched 12 receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown. He put up those numbers despite being banged up and missing some time.

    Evans is a natural runner with three-down starting potential for the NFL. The first trait that jumps out about Evans is his speed. He is a fast back with an explosive first-step and a burst to the second level. He can run past defenders, making him a threat to take any carry or reception down the field for a huge gain. In the NFL, Evans will be a threat to break off long runs thanks to possessing rare quickness for a starting back.

    On top of being fast, Evans is an instinctive runner. He displays impressive vision, body lean, and patience, plus he runs behind his pads. Evans sets up blocks and uses his speed to dart through holes before they close. Defenders really struggle to get a hold of Evans, who has great feet that make him very elusive. He is sudden with his ability to cut and change direction. Assisted by that direction-changing talent, Evans can create for himself and help his line when blocking assignments are missed.

    While Evans is not a big back, he does have some strength to his build and is able to break tackles while picking up yards after contact. He is not overpowering for the next level, but he will be able to shed tackles and get additional yards. Evans goes through defenders while falling forward to finish runs well also.

    Evans is suited for the passing-driven NFL because he is a capable receiving back. Evans runs good routes out of the backfield and has soft hands. All college backs need to be coached up and groomed for blitz protection in the pros, and Evans will have that learning curve as well.

    Evans has the physical talent to be a starter in the NFL, but his size and durability could restrict his availability. It would not be surprising if Evans is injury-prone and frustrates his team by going in and out of the lineup. In the 2023 NFL Draft, Evans has the potential to be a second-day pick.

    Player Comparison: D’Andre Swift. Evans’ speed, receiving ability, and running style compare well with Swift’s. Both are big-play threats who are capable of being dangerous playmakers. They also have a tendency to get dinged up and miss time to the point of frustration.


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