Don’t Overlook Chris Evans Role for Cincinnati Bengals

Don’t Overlook Chris Evans Role for Cincinnati Bengals

Nick Pedone
3 years ago
2 min read
Don’t Overlook Chris Evans Role for Cincinnati Bengals

Perhaps forgotten in the midst of a busy 2021 offseason, rookie running back Chris Evans could wind up having a major role for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Granted, there’s reason for tempered expectations, given his sixth-round selection. Further, Evans didn’t really put up massive numbers during his four-year career at Michigan. He compiled 1,795 rushing yards on 320 attempts and scored 17 touchdowns for the maize and blue.

Despite the solid but underwhelming numbers, it seems like Jim Harbough found the best usage for the versatile Evans.

Pass-Catching Ability

Throughout OTAs and minicamp, Evans shifted out of the backfield and took meaningful snaps as a receiver. After all, Evans did haul in 49 catches for 479 yards for an average of 9.8 yards per contest for the Wolverines.  

With the clever play-caller in head coach Zac Taylor working with the team’s heady young quarterback, Joe Burrow, this is quite the development for Evans and the offense.

Seemingly, in Cincinnati, he’s already being used as a direct replacement for since-departed running back Giovani Bernard. While Evans doesn’t bring the pass blocking excellence Bernard brought, it’s also worth mentioning that Evans really
didn’t get much of an opportunity during his senior season.

Underwhelming 2020 Season

In 2020, Evans appeared in just six games. While he only took 16 hand-offs for 73 yards, he started to show added value as a receiving threat, grabbing 9 catches for 87 yards. Seemingly, Harbaugh should’ve tried to get more out of Evans in the midst of a 2-4 campaign.

Already, Evans is proving to be worth more as a professional player than what he showed in his 42 games at Michigan. He’s received praise from Taylor and was mentioned as a fun dark horse candidate by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.

Promising Career in Cincy

As Cincinnati continues to concoct a unique offensive attack around Joe Burrow, Evans’s ability to be a change-of-pace from Joe Mixon is certainly valuable.

Especially given Mixon’s injury history, having a quick-developer like Chris Evans coming through the pipeline could be a major bit of news for this team. While Evans certainly still needs time to grow, the team’s return-on-investment could be realized quickly.  

Right now, there’s a good chance for Evans to become the team’s third-string running back but play meaningful third-down snaps. Mixon and Samaje Perine will lead the depth chart, but there’s no reason Evans will be far behind.

Given Evans’s ability to play a role in the passing game and possessing some serious shiftiness, he could become a nice target for Burrow in a hurry.   

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