Could Virginia Tech's Jérod Evans Be A Good Developmental Option For Denver To Groom Behind Paxton Lynch?

In the modern NFL, teams can never have too many viable quarterbacks. With that in mind, could Virginia Tech's Jérod Evans be a developmental option the Broncos could groom behind Paxton Lynch? Nick Kendell examines.

Indianapolis — In today’s NFL, if a team doesn’t have their franchise quarterback, they must keep searching and drafting until they find one. With the Denver Broncos already having two young and promising quarterbacks on the roster in Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian on the roster already, many would think GM John Elway would be disinterested in drafting a quarterback this April.

Furthermore, with it being considered a ‘weak’ quarterback class overall, this may not be the year to dive in and bring in an additional young quarterback to the roster. However, as was seen with the Dallas Cowboys hitting the lottery with Dak Prescott last year, even if you do not need a quarterback, it might be a good idea to draft one anyway. Again, this year’s quarterback crop is not considered one of the better classes in recent memory. With a jumble of signal-callers vying to be QB1 in this draft class — including Mitch Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, DeShone Kizer, and Deshaun Watson — it gives off the impression that because there is no sure fire ‘elite’ quarterback, that the class in itself is poor.

Luckily for Elway, the Broncos are not in the market for a ‘blue chip’ quarterback and instead, are more likely to draft a quarterback they can groom into a quality backup and potentially an eventual starter. One quarterback who makes a lot of sense for the Denver on day three of the NFL Draft is Virginia Tech’s Jérod Evans.

While Evans only started one year for Virginia Tech after transferring from the Air Force Academy, he did everything he could to ensure it was a memorable season for the Hokies. Along the way in leading Virginia Tech to a 10-4 season, Evans also set a multitude of records for the Hokies offense, including:

• Most touchdown passes in a game (5)

• Highest completion percentage in a season

• Most passing yards in a season

• Most first downs passing in a season

• Most touchdowns in a season.

Throwing to the tune of 63.5 percent for 3,552 yards and 29 touchdowns to just eight interceptions, Evans was a huge spark plug for Virginia Tech.

Evans, standing at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, is a monster of a quarterback that has the necessary bulk to play and take a beating in the NFL. For the Virginia Tech offense, which was the exact same offense Paxton Lynch played in at Memphis under the same head coach, Justin Fuente, Evans was often asked to pull the ball down and create with his feet if the first or second read wasn’t there.

On Friday, I asked Evans whether he spent time studying Lynch's film from his time in Memphis. After all, Lynch was one of the most prolific quarterbacks in college football in 2015. 

"I talked to him [Paxton], but I didn't watch him," Evans told me. 

Evans shows the arm talent to place the ball accurately in the intermediate and deep parts of the field, putting the ball in spots where not only his receivers can only get it and come down with it, but create yard after catch opportunities. He also is very strong and calm with pressure in his face, and does not get flustered when the bullets are flying when pressure is getting to him in the pocket.

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While Evans does have the tools to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, he has plenty of questions that are leading him to be projected day three of the NFL Draft. He does have a decent release, but he does have some issues time to time when he can be a bit sloppy in his throwing motion, leading to some balls leaving his hands awkwardly and inaccurately.

Evans also played in an offense that did not ask him to go through many progressions, but instead simplified what he needed to do and if the play was not there, was asked to make plays with his feet. While he does have the athleticism to make things happen, he needs to pull the ball down more and instead of turning up-field, buy himself time so he can throw balls down the field when plays break down, ala Russell Wilson.

The Denver Broncos absolutely do not need to draft a quarterback this year, John Elway would be wise to not discount the position completely. While both Siemian and Lynch have promise to be starting quarterbacks in the NFL, they have not proven enough yet to be boldly claimed franchise quarterbacks.

As another example of why quarterbacks are valuable to draft even when you have ‘the guy’, I present the New England Patriots. The Patriots have Tom Brady until he is ready to hang it up, but they continue to draft the quarterbacks, develop them, and trade them for a profit down the line.

Evans has the tools to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, if he is allowed to grow and develop, and given that he played in the same system Lynch excelled in and shows many of the same tools, an offense built to help Lynch grow might be wise to draft another quarterback with a similar skill-set in Jerod Evans.

• Below is Jerod Evans' interview at the NFL Scouting Combine

Nick Kendell is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @NickKendellMHH.

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