Cincinnati Bengals RB Chris Evans is poised for a 2021 breakout

Geoffrey Knox
Chris Evans #9, (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Chris Evans #9, (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Look, by now, you’ve watched enough football to know how these things go. It’s rookie minicamp. There aren’t any veterans walking around, and seemingly out of nowhere, one of the guys on the field starts doing some pretty cool-looking stuff. Just like that, you have what’s called a ‘buzz’. That’s true with the Cincinnati Bengals, and that’s the case with all of the other 31 NFL franchises.

It’s understandable. Come on, the last important football game that we all saw happened in February, but even though that was only a little over three months in the not-so-distant past, it feels like it’s been a year since the game wrapped and even longer since football in Cincinnati mattered.

It feels like their season was over in late October, so forgive one of the NFL’s most loyal fan bases if they’ve been looking for something to cheer for. Here’s the good news. They may have found a reason with the addition of some gifted skill players to join Joe Burrow. They added Ja’Marr Chase in Round 1. They added three linemen in rounds two, four, and six, but don’t forget about the running back.

They scored in Round 6 with the selection of Chris Evans, and if you haven’t been paying attention, buckle up. He’s someone that you’re going to want to know.

Cincinnati Bengals have been starved for action.

Normally, after the NFL postseason wraps (again, that isn’t the case for Bengals fans), we’d turn our antennas to the NFL Scouting Combine, but there wasn’t one. That forced every fan of Cincinnati’s to dissect every prospect that would be available at a position of need until we were sick of doing so.

Just like it does every April, the NFL Draft rolled around. Every team welcomed new prospects, and here we all are, dissecting the new guys again now that they’re on our team.

The late-rounders get it the worst, and that’s where Chris Evans comes in. Typically guys taken on day three are prospects that the franchise is gambling on, but don’t worry about this young man. He’s primed for a breakout.

What’s that? No, we aren’t talking about this Chris Evans that will forever be known as Captain America. He’s already had his breakout. We’re talking about the five-foot-eleven, 216-pound tailback from Michigan.

He shined at Bengals rookie camp, and his name is one that you’ll want to write down immediately.

The Cincinnati Bengals rookie gets some well-deserved shine.’s Albert Breer touched on what he likes about Evans in the May 17th version of Monday Morning Quarterback. He mentions Evans as one of his 2021 regular-season dark horses. Here’s some of what he had to say.

"(Chris Evans is) just the fourth Michigan running back draft since 2000. (He) had a very weird college career. His first three years (2016 to ’18), he was a versatile scatback for the Wolverines, rushing for 1,722 yards and averaging 5.6 yards per carry, with 40 catches and 16 touchdowns from scrimmage… Then academic issues cost him the 2019 season, and he struggled to find his footing in a new offense during last year’s COVID-19-wracked season… The Bengals, having just lost Gio Bernard (a back with a similar skillset), bet a sixth-round pick (that Evans) can be."

Breer also mentioned that Evans is a “smooth athlete with excellent hands”, one that “fits athletically on an NFL field” and that the Cincinnati Bengals can “move all around the formation”.

In 42 games at the collegiate level, he racked up 1,795 yards on 320 totes and hauled in 49 receptions for 479 yards. He reached the end zone 15 times as a rusher and twice as a receiver. Zac Taylor is going to have fun with him.

Related Story. 3 Reasonable expectations for Ja’Marr Chase. light

His blocking will have to get better if he wants more on-field time on third downs, but he can be coached. Bengals fans have been waiting on something good to happen for a long time, and with the additions they’ve made on both sides of the ball, good things may be in store.

They may not be ready to take over in the AFC North yet, but keep your fingers crossed. Good days seem to be on the horizon.