ColtPower has learned that the Indianapolis Colts worked out SEC sacks leader Willie Evans this past Saturday. The Mississippi State defensive end terrorized SEC quarterbacks last season, posting 15 sacks. That represented exactly half of his team's total sacks for the year.
That productivity was more than enough to get the attention of the team that currently boasts two of the NFL's best pass rushers, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. So they put the 6-foot-2, 270-pound Evans through the paces in a workout strictly for the Colts.
Evans is a difference-maker on the playing field who can swing the momentum of a game at a crucial time; an attribute common to many of the Colts' defensive linemen. He also has the typical build, speed and athleticism the Colts seek when draft weekend rolls around.
"He's quick. He fits that in-between sized pass rushing defensive end," said Brian Levy, Evans' agent.
But is he ready to take on offensive linemen at the pro level? You bet.
"He was First-Team All-SEC, so he certainly played against high-level competition," said Levy.
Evans has excellent technique and the ability to outwit his opponent on every play out on the football field. He enjoys playing mind games with his opponent, trying to set him up by showing a hint of what he might do on the play, using his stance or a lean to simply get his opponent to believe that he knows what Evans is about to do.
Evans dupes players into believing he's about to "zig" when all along he's about to leave them flat-footed with a "zag" instead.
Ian Rapoport of the Clarion Ledger captured Evans' overall approach to the game when he described him as "a Rubik's Cube with a swim move."
While Evans has drawn pleny of inquiries and interest from across the NFL, Levy told ColtPower that two other AFC teams are showing substantial interest in Evans as well as draft weekend nears.
And while Colts fans may bristle at the thought that Indianapolis would use a draft selection to stockpile yet another defensive end with pass-rushing ability, they shouldn't overlook the fact that Raheem Brock is likely to spend more time inside at defensive tackle this year. And both Jonathan Welsh and Josh Thomas are coming off of seasons where they were both hindered by injuries. So don't be surprised to see at least one speedy defensive end picked up in this draft by the Colts.
And with Indianapolis working him out just under the wire before draft weekend, Evans will be a name to listen for as teams send their cards up to the podium.