- Will Compton has the inside track to start over Rashaan Evans
- Evans is battling injuries at training camp
- Who will win the battle to start at linebacker for the Tennessee Titans?
Usually, an NFL first-round pick coming from one of the elite college football programs ever should be at least pencilled in for a starting role heading into training camp.
However, that doesn’t appear to be the case for University of Alabama’s Rashaan Evans, who was taken 22nd overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Instead, he’s reportedly behind Will Compton on the depth chart in an inside linebacker battle for the Tennessee Titans.
Compton is an undrafted University of Nebraska product who scratched his way onto Washington’s roster and eventually became a starter. After five years in the Nation’s Capital, he inked a one-year deal with the Titans.
As always, oddsmakers are quick on this stuff.
Titans’ Starting Inside Linebacker Week 1
Further complicating matters is the weirdly veiled injury Titans’ coaching staff seems to be glossing over when it comes to Evans, which has left him out of practice since July 28.
The local media was getting restless.
What's the matter with Rashaan Evans? https://t.co/g4FypPqDIj
— AL.com sports (@aldotcomSports) August 7, 2018
It was announced that Evans would not be making the trip to Green Bay for the Titans’ first preseason game of the year, but new head coach Mike Vrabel, doing his best Bill Belichick impression, would only say that he is injured, and wouldn’t disclose any more.
That was on Saturday, and then on Sunday, there was a Bigfoot … er … Evans sighting.
Rashaan Evans sighting. First time we’ve seen him out here since he left practice early on the third day of training camp.
Mike Vrabel said yesterday that Evans is dealing with an injury and isn’t ready to practice, but wouldn’t disclose anything more than that. pic.twitter.com/ZbqRfjLeN0
— Erik Bacharach (@ErikBacharach) August 12, 2018
While no one has been able to actually pinpoint the injury, social media has come a long way in adding coverage to events like training camp since everyone with a phone can act as an insider.
When Rashaan Evans got injured he immediately grabbed his hamstring and limped off the field. That’s more information right there than all of the Nashville media has given.
— Robert Greenlaw (@robgreenlaw) August 12, 2018
As for Compton, he’s working hard at camp. He’d be crazy to believe, even if he is the starter, he’s not just the stopgap to Evans eventually taking over.
Unless Compton breaks out and has himself a career season – his best effort in DC was a 106-tackle, one interception year in 2016 – it’s eventually going to go the youngster, who also happens to be inked to a four-year, $11.7 million deal.
For his part, Compton is saying all the right things, and playing the role of mentor.
This battle hasn’t really materialized, with some reports that Evans is already third on the depth chart behind Compton and Nate Palmer.
Injuries and not being on the practice field, especially for rookies, is never helpful in earning the good graces of the coach and a coveted starting role.
Compton’s got 33 professional NFL starts under his belt.
It’s a safe bet to say Week 1 for the Titans will be his 34th.
Compton’s got 33 professional NFL starts under his belt. It’s a safe bet to say Week 1 for the Titans will be his 34th.
Once Evans gets healthy, however, he’s going to get a look, and if he’s as highly touted as most first round picks are, he should be starting over Compton and Palmer in short order.