NASHVILLE – Darrynton Evans is used to doing things fast – he was once clocked at a 4.36 in the 40 while in college at Appalachian State.
While Evans maybe didn't know it – or appreciate it – at the time, he thinks slowing down during his rookie season with the Titans in 2020 was beneficial.
And he hopes it will help him moving forward.
"Getting hurt last year was probably one of the best things for me," Evans said on Thursday. "It gave me time to sit down and reflect on everything on the field, where now I see things a lot different."
Evans found this out the hard way. The talented running back played in just five games last season because of injuries. He carried the ball just 14 times for 54 yards, with two catches for 27 yards and a score. He also contributed on special teams.
A third round (93rd overall) pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the 5-foot-10, 203-pound Evans posted 4,642 all-purpose yards at Appalachian State, with 34 career touchdowns. In 2019, Evans produced 2,064 all-purpose yards with 1,480 rushing, 198 as a receiver and 386 on kickoff returns.
"It is kind of hard to say you didn't get frustrated, definitely when you want to be out there on the field," Evans said. "You worked hard, but you aren't able to showcase anything. It is definitely tough. But at the same time, you have to be able to keep a level head, because if you don't it's not going to get any better."
The Titans want to see Evans take a big step in 2021, and it's starting this offseason.
Evans was very active in Thursday's OTA. In addition to working at running back, he also worked with the receivers in individual drills as the team explores his abilities.
Chances are the experiment was done to expand his skills as a threat out of the backfield, but as they say, the more you can do …
"I don't know where he's going to line up right now, but I know that Darrynton has been a versatile player," Titans Coach Mike Vrabel said of Evans. "I know he dealt with some injuries in his first year. I would say that he's a player that we're excited about, and (he) has some versatility. He worked (at receiver Thursday), and those are ideas that we try to have. (We) try to get him some cross training work, and a lot of those players that can handle more than one particular role, then we'll continue to add those roles to them, and I'd say Darrynton would be one of those players."
Evans plans to use the OTAs, and this offseason, as a chance to prepare himself for bigger and better things in 2021 in a running backs room that features Derrick Henry. He's asking more questions, even though he has a much better understanding of the playbook.
This time last year, because of the pandemic, Evans was working out in Florida, not with his coaches and teammates in organized team activities.
The time on the practice field this offseason should help him, no matter how he's used by the team.
"Wherever coach Vrabel tells me to go, that's where I am going to go," Evans said. "If he wants me to play tight end and get some reps there, I'm going to go there. If he wants me to go o-line, I'll end up going there.
"Really, I am just excited to go wherever I can to help the team and try and contribute – that's my main thing, to try and contribute this year and help the team advance."