Scout's Notebook: DT Fred Evans

The Vikings received some criticism for giving former Dolphins DT Fred Evans another chance after his off-the-field troubles earlier this summer. But see why he might have been well worth the chance. Here's the full scouting report…

#90, Fred Evans, DT
(6035, 305, 5.12-5.29) Texas State

Notes:  Born 11/6/83, in Chicago, IL.  Parents are Fred Evans and Sequocoyia Stanley.  His father was an Olympic swimmer.  He is a cousin of Los Angeles Angels outfielder Gary Matthews, Jr.  Evans was a two-way starting lineman Morgan Park High School, which is generally recognized as one of the top five high schools in the Chicago Public School system.  He played with linebacker Corey Mays, now with the New England Patriots, in high school.

College:  Evans redshirted in 2001 at the College of DuPage, a school known as the Midwest’s largest single-campus community college.  In 2002, he played on the defensive line and then shifted to the offensive line as a sophomore (2003), earning All-Region (IV) honors and second-team All-North Central Community College Conference (N4C) honors.

Originally recruited as an offensive lineman by Texas State, he shifted back to defensive tackle, earning league Newcomer of the Year and All-Southland Conference honors in 2004.  He started 10 games for the Bobcats, registering 40 tackles with 6.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles-for-loss (fifth-best total in the NCAA Division 1-AA ranks), one forced fumble and one pass deflection.  Was selected as team captain as a senior (2005); started 13-of-14 games, totaling 55 tackles, 5 sacks, 5 quarterback pressures, 18 tackles-for-loss and one forced fumble and generally dominated against a lower level of competition.  He played in the Hula Bowl following the season.  Was an Oak Farms Dairy Academic Award recipient at Texas State with an exercise and sports science major who also pursued a minor in business administration.

Pre-draft workout numbers included 18 reps at 225 pounds, a 365-pound bench press, 455-pound squat, 4.65 20-yard shuttle, 7.71 three-cone drill, 5.12 40-yard dash, 34 ½-inch vertical jump and 9’-1” broad jump; measured 32 ¼-inch arms and 9 ½-inch hands.  Right-handed.  He also recorded a respectable Wonderlic score.

Pro:  Originally a seventh-round draft choice (212th overall) by the Miami Dolphins in 2006.  He was drafted with a pick acquired from the Packers for offensive lineman Brad Bedell.  He had a fairly impressive preseason as a rookie, but was active for only one of the 16 regular season contests.  He made his NFL debut in the season finale against Indianapolis and recorded two tackles.  Evans was considered a favorite to win the starting nose tackle job for the Dolphins in 2007, but that changed upon the re-signing of veteran Keith Traylor.  Then during the early morning hours of June 23, 2007, Evans was arrested in Miami Beach.  According to the police report, Evans was in a dispute with a taxi driver, and refused to leave the cab at the request of the officers called to the scene.  Evans reportedly engaged in a physical struggle with the officers when they tried to handcuff him, with one officer being bitten on his left wrist.  The officers then used tasers to subdue Evans.  He was charged with battery on a police officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and trespassing.  Complicating matters was the fact that Evans was already on probation in Colorado County, Texas, for possession of marijuana.  At the time, new Dolphins coach said, “We are aware that Fred Evans was arrested this morning. We will not condone this type of behavior.  I assure everyone it will be dealt with seriously.”  Cameron followed through on his word a few days later, as Evans was waived by the team on June 28.

Dissatisfied with their depth in training camp, the Vikings brought Evans in for interviews, a workout and formal physical.  They subsequently signed him August 12, 2007.  Shortly after signing with the Vikings, he returned to Florida to address his legal matters and spent about a week resolved the issues in both Florida and Texas.  He reached a plea bargain agreement in Miami-Dade (Fla.) County Court, avoiding jail time and paying fines and court costs of $1,310 stemming from the arrest in Miami Beach.  He returned to see action in the team’s two final preseason games, posting a pair of tackles in each contest, including a TFL and a forced fumble.

Positives:  Has a very quick first step off the ball.  Can defeat blockers with his initial quickness and penetrate the backfield.  Has the combination of strength and quickness to effectively split and beat double-team blocks.  Good size and mass, yet is light on his feet.  Has long arms and can control and play off blockers effectively.  Gets an upfield push and shows some pass-rush ability.  He shows a willingness to work hard to get better.  At his best in a one-gap scheme like the Vikings where his primary responsibility is to penetrate and get upfield.

Negatives:  Needs to improve his stamina, as he tires late in games.  Still growing, developing his overall body strength, conditioning and fundamentals and remains somewhat raw.  Is better with his initial surge than redirecting.  Plays too high at times and isn’t always that instinctive.  Is still somewhat raw and is slow to read and react at times; best if he can be “turned loose.”  Lets up at times, especially in backside pursuit.

Summary:  If he responds to the veteran leadership in the Vikings locker room and stays out of trouble off the field, Evans has a very good chance to provide some quality snaps behind Pat Williams and Kevin Williams on the defensive line.  He also has the ability to eventually push for a starting position if he proves his foolishness is behind him.  With the two quality, Pro Bowl veterans in front of him, and an exceptional line coach in Karl Dunbar, he couldn’t have landed in a better spot for finding potential redemption.

What they said:

“From everybody that you talk to, [Evans] was a guy that made a mistake and was paying for it.  Somewhere, you make a decision based on what you see, what you know, people you talk to in this business, our coaches spending time with him, and our coaches talking to people that have interacted with him.” – head coach Brad Childress

“We need a quality backup to Pat for sure.  We think he can spell both positions and do well.  [But] we really need a guy, when Pat is out of the game, to be able to hold anchor for us.” – defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier

“I'm very thankful.  The coaching staff and the player personnel department really wanted me to be part of this team.” - Evans

“Developmental prospect with enough raw ability to be molded.” – Nolan Nawrocki, Pro Football Weekly

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