The Tennessee Titans addressed another need in the third round of the NFL Draft Friday night, adding Appalachian State running back Darrynton Evans.
Evans, 5-10, 203, is a speed back with a 40 time of 4.41 in the 40-yard dash. He is one of 10 players the Titans managed to bring in in for a visit before that was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. He figures to become Derrick Henry’s sidekick, replacing Dion Lewis in that role and being able to contribute in the passing game on third downs.
“I would say you could label that as a strength,” Evans said of his pass-receiving ability. “I actually signed with Appalachian State as an athlete, knowing that I was coming in and just trying to get on the field. That’s something the coach preached when he was recruiting me. He didn’t care what position I played, whether it was receiver or running back. He just wanted to get me on the field.”
Evans was the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year for 2019 after rushing for 1,480 yards and 18 touchdowns on 255 carries last season. He also caught 21 passes for 198 yards and can fill the third-down receiving back role vacated when the Titans released veteran Lewis after the season.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel spoke highly of Evans’ character and his talents in meeting with him. Vrabel said the Titans will load Evans with has much as he can handle.
“I think right now you’re looking at a guy that we really like from a character standpoint and a skill set. What his role will be and how we will use him will be defined by the player and how much he can handle,” Vrabel said. “This was a guy that we brought in, and we met with, and everybody in the building really liked what he was able to do in conversation, on the board in the learning process, and then obviously watching the film. We thought his skill set translated into some things like using him out the backfield and being a change of pace and being a one-cut runner. We’ll see what he can do and give him as much as he can handle.”
Evans said he also he takes pride in pass protection, which is also a vital part for running backs in the third-down package.
“You have to keep the quarterback clean. If I don’t do my job, I shouldn’t get the ball either,” Evans said of pass protection. “That’s one thing I took pride in, making sure my quarterback was straight. I like to know what I’m doing at all times.”