The Falcons are stuck in a bad spot of not only trying to improve a bad 2021 team but also replacing players it couldn’t afford to keep around. Foye Oluokun left for a big payday with the Jacksonville Jaguars, resulting in yet another hole in the defense.
General manager Terry Fontenot will need to perform a heroic feet in the NFL Draft to restock the team. Free agents will be limited thanks to cap restrictions. The Falcons can try to reclaim players who fell out of favor with past teams thanks to injuries or ineffectiveness.
Replacing Oluokun, head coach Arthur Smith and defensive coordinator Dean Pees may be going back to a player the two were familiar with in Tennessee: former first-round pick Rashaan Evans.
Free-agent linebacker and former Titans’ first round pick Rashaan Evans is visiting today with the Falcons, per source. Falcons’ HC Arthur Smith and DC Dean Pees coached him in Tennessee with the Titans.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 29, 2022
Evans is interesting as he was considered a versatile and speedy linebacker coming out of Alabama in 2018. The Falcons reportedly wanted to draft him back then before Tennessee selected him at 22nd overall. Atlanta instead drafted Calvin Ridley.
The linebacker fell out of favor in Tennessee despite typically coming away graded well according to Pro Football Focus. He was a healthy inactive in Tennessee’s last playoff game. He met with Jacksonville but has otherwise not seen much interest.
The 6-foot-2, 232-pound linebacker had the sideline to sideline speed teams love, and is seen as a solid tackler. However, the Titans shifted his responsibilities throughout his career and he did deal with some nagging injuries. The Titans reportedly planned to sign Evans to a contract extension after declining his fifth-year option. That plan went up in smoke after a down 2021 season.
Now Evans is available. He fits Fontenot’s mold of cheap with high-level potential. Evans has the opportunity to start and cash in next season with a bounce-back performance. His experience with Dean Pees in 2018 and 2019 should help land him in Atlanta and produce quick results.