CINCINNATI — The Bengals have focused on the trenches for most of the 2021 NFL Draft, adding three offensive and three defensive linemen in their first seven picks.
They switched gears by selecting Michigan running back Chris Evans in the sixth-round (202nd overall).
Evans tallied 1,795 yards on 320 career carries (5.6 yards-per-carry) and 15 touchdowns. He's also a capable receiver out of the backfield. He had 49 receptions for 479 yards and two more scores.
"Chris brings an element as a natural pass catcher that was a need for us," Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said. "He's got really natural hands. He's a really good route runner and really every time you watched him at the Senior Bowl he kept beating people one-on-one. That was really a determining factor for him. He's extremely intelligent so he's one of those guys that'll probably excel picking up pass protection schemes. I'm excited about Chris, very much so."
It sounds like a perfect long-term replacement for Giovani Bernard, who was released last month.
"He is a good-sized athlete with play quickness and dependable ball skills, although his pacing and patience need work," NFL Draft analyst Dane Brugler wrote. "Evans is a prime candidate to be a better pro than college player due to his impact in the passing game, and he projects as a versatile weapon who can line up in the backfield or detached."
Evans tested extremely well and appears to have plenty of upside. He joins a backfield that includes Joe Mixon, Samaje Perine and Trayveon Williams.
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