Steelers Depot: Steelers get to stop LB’s run in 2018 NFL Re-Draft exercise

Prior to the 2018 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers desperately needed a replacement inside linebacker for Ryan Shazier after the burgeoning star suffered a tragic back injury that prematurely ended his career.

In that 2018 NFL Draft, there were some good candidates for the Steelers to take in an effort to plug the huge void caused by Shazier’s injury. However, then-general manager Kevin Colbert couldn’t make that happen, at least in the first round of the draft, as guys like Roquan Smith, Tremaine Edmunds, Leighton Vander Esch and Rashaan Evans came off the board before the 28th pick for the Steelers.

That led to the Steelers selecting Virginia Tech deep Terrell Edmunds 28th overall, which caused some shockwaves in the NFL Draft, as the Steelers seemingly reached for a deep back that many had pegged as a third-round talent.

He ended up being a decent pick overall for the Steelers, though, as Edmunds enters his fifth season with the black and gold and has played in 64 career games with 60 career starts, adding 4,011 plays for the Steelers as a Day 1 starter in a rebuild. a defense that has become one of the best in the NFL.


Still, the Steelers have never plugged that hole at inside linebacker, leading to a discussion at No. 28 overall in a re-draft exercise regarding 2018 NFL Draft first-round pick Ryan Musleh from the 33rd team.

In the redraft exercise, the Steelers ranked Evans 28th overall inside linebacker, giving them a guy they largely targeted coming out of Alabama that offseason.

“Edmunds was far from a poor selection here, but Rashaan Evans would contribute more to the Steelers defense in a way that has been missing since Ryan Shazier’s tragic injury,” Musleh writes of the Steelers’ selection in the re-draft exercise. “Since 2019, Evans has ranked in the top 15 in combined tackles and QB hits. Evans’ approximate weighted value of 25 ranks 21st in this draft class and would be a value in this selection.”

Ideally, Evans would have solidified the inside linebacker room alongside a guy like Vince Williams for the past few years, allowing the Steelers to build the rest of the defense in a unique way. A year after missing out on a guy like Evans at the position leading up to the surprise selection of Edmunds, the Steelers went big in a trade for Devin Bush in the 2019 NFL Draft.

In his five seasons in the NFL, Evans started fast with the Tennessee Titans but has seen a significant drop-off in his career. The Titans ultimately declined his fifth-year option, just as the Steelers did with Edmunds, leading him to sign with the Atlanta Falcons in the offseason.

Despite knowing that, it’s interesting to think about how Evans would have fit into the Steeler’s defense coming out of Alabama. There was real interest there, and he fit the mold of a dynamic dual-threat linebacker who was a downhill force but could also drop into coverage and handle responsibilities in that area of the game.

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