With the 118th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings have selected Akayleb Evans, the cornerback from the University of Missouri.
Evans played his first four seasons at Tulsa before transferring to Missouri as a graduate transfer. He’s a much larger cornerback at 6’2” and 200 pounds and has had some injury issues in the past, but his size and his athletic traits must have been intriguing for the purple.
Dane Brugler of The Athletic has Evans as the #16 cornerback in this year’s class and had him projected as a fourth-round pick, so this appears to be right around the place he should have been taken. Here’s what Brugler had to say about Evans:
A one-year starter at Missouri, Evans was an outside cornerback in former defensive coordinator Steve Wilks’ man-zone scheme, seeing occasional snaps in the slot. After four years at Tulsa, he transferred to the Tigers for the 2021 season and showed zero decline in performance against SEC competition and his ball production only increased, including his first career interception. A physical, long-armed athlete, Evans has plus speed and transition movement skills to press or play from depth. His eye discipline needs to be better to help mask his lack of short-area twitch and control when attempting to constrict passing windows. Overall, Evans doesn’t have the résumé or reaction quickness of a playmaking corner, but he has an enticing combination of size, length and speed to hold up in man or zone coverage. He projects as a rotational corner in the NFL with starting upside.
Evans joins Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth as new members of the Vikings’ secondary, helping to give them a sorely-needed injection of talent.
Welcome to Minnesota, Akayleb Evans!