RB Darrynton Evans, Appalachian St.*

5’10” – 203 lbs. – 4.41

Carried the ball 48 times as a freshman, then stepped into a major role the following year and rushed for 179-1,187-7 (6.6) with twelve catches. Followed that up with a monster junior year of 255-1,480-18 (5.8) with another 21 receptions before declaring for the draft. Also returned kicks, with a kick return touchdown in each season. Ball security is very solid, with just two fumbles over nearly six hundred career touches. Despite having been a feature back in college, build is a little bit thinner than your typical workhorse, although he has adequate height, almost built more like a slot receiver.

One-cut runner who takes a lot of his carries out of the shotgun and on options. At his best when working as an off-tackle runner but was asked to grind it out up the middle pretty often as well. Best trait is probably his footwork. Does a nice job of shuffling and sliding into the hole, then getting behind his pads and finishing runs by falling forward; being a bit of a thinner back, doesn’t bring too much power to the table, although he’s willing to lower his shoulder and fight for additional yardage after contact with solid leg drive, if not much ability to break tackles or push the pile. Has pretty good vision to recognize and hit cutback lanes; doesn’t bounce runs to the outside unnecessarily. Accelerates smoothly and is fast enough to beat defenders to the edge when running the ball on sweeps or tosses, with very impressive timed speed. Has essentially a no-nonsense approach to minimize negative yardage plays, but isn’t one of the most creative backs when the play breaks down.

Wasn’t too heavily utilized as a receiver in college but looks comfortable catching the ball out of the backfield, and would occasionally begin plays split out as well, although that tended to be window-dressing and would often be motioned back into the backfield. Has the type of shiftiness in space that would make him a good player to get one-on-one against opposing defensive backs. Wasn’t retained too often in pass protection and may lack the lower-body strength to easily pick up blitzing linebackers without cutting, but engages from his feet when chipping opponents (albeit by throwing a shoulder) and shows a good motor when blocking on option plays in the run game.

A highly productive runner over the past two years, he offers the vision and footwork to identify lanes, shuffle into them, and pick  up what’s available while protecting the football, although he’s not one of the most creative or powerful runners in the class. Additional value as a kick returner should help his stock, and looks like a candidate to go in the mid-rounds.

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