Jordan Evans, one of the Cincinnati Bengals’ most overlooked linebackers, may deserve some additional playing time after his performance in week four.
When the Cincinnati Bengals entered the 2020 season, for the first time in a long time, they did so with plenty of options at linebacker. Josh Bynes represented a solid leader, coming from a championship-caliber team. Germaine Pratt returned for his second-year after surging down the stretch of 2019.
Then, of course, there was the trio of rookies (Logan Wilson, Akeem Davis-Gaither, and Markus Bailey) that offered plenty of potential and hope for the future. However, the one guy in the linebacker room rarely talked about came up the biggest in the week four win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jordan Evans.
There was doubt Jordan Evans was even going to make the Bengals’ roster
For quite some time, Jordan Evans appeared to be the odd guy out in the linebacker corps. After playing early and often under Marvin Lewis, Evans saw a significant decrease in playing time under the new coaching regime. In fact, he went from playing 45% of the team’s defensive snaps to participating in just 7% under Zac Taylor.
A cut-down day trade that sent special teams ace Austin Calitro to the Broncos in exchange for a badly needed defensive tackle saved Evans, however. Listed as the third-string option behind a pair of rookies, it appeared that he just barely hung on to his spot.
Jordan Evans may be in line for more playing time in the future
So far, Evans is playing just as little in the 2020 campaign as he did a season ago. However, in week four, an injury to Logan Wilson opened the door for him to see more playing time.
Evans saw 12 snaps or 18% of the defensive plays, and he certainly made the most of them. Not only did he help the club out in the turnover battle by securing an interception, but he also tracked down Gardner Minshew for a sack.
Although it’s a small sample size, this should be enough for the coaching staff to at least experiment giving him more opportunities. It’s a crowded room, but Evans put in the work to transform his body this offseason and has produced when on the field so far.
As the Bengals travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens this weekend, look out for the under-the-radar linebacker as he attempts to reclaim his lost role in the defense.