NASHVILLE – The Titans believe they've found a perfect running back to pair with running back Derrick Henry.
Appalachian State running back Darrynton Evans was selected by the Titans in the third round (93rd overall) of Friday night's NFL Draft.
Evans is a big fan of the NFL's leading rusher from a year ago, and he wants to do his part to help to help the Titans.
"(Derrick) is a big back, and he has some speed on him, too," Evans said. "A lot of people, when they try and tackle him, they have to make a business decision on if they want to (hit) him high or hit him low. Add me to that, and I can change the pace of the game … if you need a quick play, any kind of explosive play, I feel like I can get the job done, and we can be a great combination. I feel like I can help take the load off (Derrick) a little bit and help add my twist to the game as well.
"He does a lot of great things, and I can't wait to learn (from Derrick). I want to talk to him and pick his brain and just try and compete and be the best that we can be for the Titans."
Evans (5-10, 205) 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
Evans is a speedster – he ran a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, which was second among all running backs. Evans said he was once clocked at a 4.36 while on campus at Appalachian State.
Titans General Manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel said they like the thought of using Evans in a number of ways, from running the ball to playing him in the return game.
"He is certainly good with the ball in his hands," Robinson said. "He is a different style runner obviously than Derrick, but he is certainly good when you hand him the ball. He's got make-miss (ability), he gets through a hole quick and he has explosive speed. … He is a speed back, catches out of the backfield, has some return value."
Evans was a two-time Sun Belt Championship Game MVP and MVP of the 2019 New Orleans Bowl. He was also a two-time All-Sun Belt first team and was the Sun Belt's Offensive Player of the Year in 2019 after leading the league in rushing in 2018. He also returned three kickoffs for touchdowns, and he racked up 1,439 yards on kickoff returns in his career, along with 319 yards as a receiver.
He totaled 11 runs of at least 50 yards in his final two seasons.
"The thing that helps me is my elusiveness and my speed," Evans said. "I'm hard to tackle in the open field."
Evans also set school records for most career rushes without a fumble (482) and single-season rushes without a fumble (255 in 2019).
The Titans hosted Evans on a pre-draft visit at Saint Thomas Sports Park before visits across the league were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"He's a guy that we really liked from a character standpoint and a skill-set," Vrabel said of Evans. "What his role will be and how we'll use him will all be defined by the player and how much they can handle.
"But this is a guy we met with and brought in and everybody in the building really liked what he was able to do in conversation and on the board and in the learning process. And then obviously watching the film we thought the skill-set (could allow) us to use him out of the backfield and being able to be a change-of-pace and one-cut runner. So we'll see what he can handle and we'll give him as much as we can handle."
The Titans select Appalachian State RB Darrynton Evans in third round (93rd overall) of 2020 NFL Draft. (AP Photos)