Jerod Evans watched as Dak Prescott surprised everyone, including the Cowboys, last season. Prescott proved that it doesn’t matter when a player is drafted.
Despite being a fourth-round choice, Prescott arguably had the best rookie season by a quarterback in NFL history.
“To come in in the fourth round, Dak has blown it up,” Evans said. “I keep hearing the comparisons. It’s an honor to get compared to someone who’s doing so great in the league, especially as a rookie, but he didn’t start [low-round picks making good]. It was definitely started way before him.”
Evans, a Mansfield product, pointed out Tom Brady’s journey from sixth-round draft pick to a five-time Super Bowl champion.
Evans projects as a fifth- or sixth-round choice after quarterbacking Virginia Tech for one season. CBS draft analyst Dane Brugler ranks Evans as the eighth-best player at his position.
“He would have benefited from returning for his senior season,” Brugler said. “But Evans is the type of competitor comfortable betting on himself. He checks boxes for his size [6-foot-3, 232 pounds], athleticism and arm strength, but the mental conversion from what he was asked to do in college to what is expected of quarterbacks in the NFL is a considerable leap. Although he might be able to mask his inconsistent footwork and mechanics as a pro, his erratic accuracy and decision-making are the two main reasons he won’t see the field early in his career.
“Overall, Evans is wired right for the NFL game and he has an intriguing ceiling once coached up. But it will require a patient coaching staff. A possible down-the-line starter who might not give the job back once he gets on the field.”
Evans has taken a winding road from Mansfield to the NFL. He spent two seasons at Trinity Valley Community College after leaving the Air Force Academy. Evans then became Justin Fuentes’ first commit to the Hokies after Fuentes left Memphis.
Evans won the starting job, and, in 2016, only Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson had better seasons in the ACC. Evans completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 3,546 yards with 29 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Now, it’s on to the NFL.
“I feel like I can step into any system and produce,” Evans said. “If you look at my journey, I’ve been to the Air Force Academy, to Trinity Valley where it’s a spread offense, and I went to Virginia Tech. My high school was an I-formation. So I think I can play in any system.”
It is an average year for the position. Four quarterbacks could go in the first round, but it is lacking a clear blue-chip, can’t-miss prospect. A few starters should come out of this group, but it lacks depth.
The Cowboys drafted Dak Prescott in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. All he did was produce the best rookie season in NFL history. He won offensive rookie of the year over teammate Ezekiel Elliott by going 13-3 with a 67.8 completion percentage, 3,667 yards, 23 touchdowns, only four interceptions and a passer rating of 104.9. Tony Romo, who missed the first nine games with a compression fracture in his back, will not return as Prescott’s backup. Kellen Moore, who missed the 2016 season after breaking his right leg during training camp, re-signed. The 27-year-old veteran is a favorite of offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. The Cowboys will draft a quarterback in the middle rounds to groom behind Prescott and Moore.
Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina, 6-2, 222, 4.67. A one-year starter, he went 8-5 last season.
Deshaun Watson, Clemson, 6-2, 221, 4.66. Heisman runner-up went 32-3 as a starter with a national championship.
Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech, 6-2, 225, 4.80. He joined Case Keenum as the only FBS quarterbacks to account for more than 5,000 yards of offense twice.
DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame, 6-4, 233, 4.83. He looks the part, but has many questions, including his inconsistency and his 12-11 record as a starter.
Davis Webb, California, 6-5, 229, 4.79. The Prosper product, his stock rising, started 14 games in three seasons at Texas Tech and 12 games last season at Cal.
Alek Torgersen, Penn, 6-2, 218, 4.91. A three-year starter, he has shown some NFL skills but is a developmental prospect coming from the Ivy League.
Top Texas ties
Jerod Evans, Virginia Tech, 6-3, 232, 4.80. The Mansfield product, projected as a fifth- or sixth-rounder, has only one year of FBS experience but had 41 total TDs.
Seth Russell, Baylor, 6-3, 213, NA. The Garland product, projected as a priority free agent, made 17 career starts after season-ending injuries each of the past two seasons.
Source: Heights, weights and 40 times came from CBS Sports analyst Dane Brugler.
82nd NFL Draft
Thursday through Sunday
Museum of Art, Philadelphia
Selections: Round 1, 7 p.m. April 27; Rounds 2-3, 6 p.m. April 28; and Rounds 4-7, 11 a.m. April 29
TV: ESPN/ESPN2 and NFL Network
1. Cleveland Browns
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Chicago Bears
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
5. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams)
6. New York Jets
7. Los Angeles Chargers
8. Carolina Panthers
9. Cincinnati Bengals
10. Buffalo Bills
11. New Orleans Saints
12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia Eagles)
13. Arizona Cardinals
14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota Vikings)
15. Indianapolis Colts
16. Baltimore Ravens
17. Washington Redskins
18. Tennessee Titans
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
20. Denver Broncos
21. Detroit Lions
22. Miami Dolphins
23 New York Giants
24. Oakland Raiders
25. Houston Texans
26. Seattle Seahawks
27. Kansas City Chiefs
28. Dallas Cowboys
29. Green Bay Packers
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
31. Atlanta Falcons
32. New Orleans Saints (from New England Patriots)