October 20, 2012; Gainesville FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive back Josh Evans (9) reacts after they beat the South Carolina Gamecocks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks 44-11. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Josh Evans was picked by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the first pick in the sixth round. He is a gifted safety with size and no aversion to using his body to punish offensive players. The guy is in the aggressive defender mold that head coach Gus Bradley loves. He makes a strong addition to an incredibly weak secondary and is the second safety selected in the 2013 NFL Draft (Jonathan Cyprien was selected in the second round).
I have said I like the Evans pick. He played in a big program at Florida and he worked his way up to be a full season starter, accepting more and more responsibility each successive year. His 2.5 sacks to pair with his six passes defensed and three interceptions displayed a versatility that the Jaguars could use. He is fluid in his movement and quite quick.
As much as I like the pick, I wonder what his role will be. There is no doubt that he will be an immediate special teams contributor with his strong tackling skills (led Florida in 2012), but on defense he will have stiff competition from Cyprien at strong safety and free safety Dwight Lowery. Lowery has the ability to play very well and will likely be motivated to play even better to make sure he can stave off Evans as he searches for playing time at either strong or free safety. I fully expect him to outplay current backup safety Chris Prosinski, who is terrible all around, and become the primary backup, possibly at both safety spots.
Evans’ versatility and his likely imminent placement as the primary safety backup leads me to grade him as a B player. I don’t expect him to get much playing on defense, at least not in his first year, but I think that he has the physical tools to someday really challenge and move into the spots. His ambition and constant desire to rise will force those above him to play better, which is of value to the weak Jaguars secondary.
– Luke N. Sims
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