Through the 2013 NFL Draft from April 25-27, Florida Gators safety and 2012 leading tackler Josh Evans will be keeping fans up-to-date on his Path to the Draft via a weekly blog entry exclusively here at OGGOA.
Evans’s seventh entry covers his last two weeks, which included numerous workouts and meetings with NFL teams. There are only two more entries upcoming.
Last time we touched base was before I started taking private meetings with teams. The only team I had met with at that time was the New England Patriots and that happened at The Swamp. There was a meeting scheduled two weekends ago between myself and [safeties coach] Brian Flores where he was going to come down to Brooklyn, NY to meet with me but it never really materialized. We had an interview over the phone instead, and he told me that Coach [Bill] Belichick liked me and was going to watch even more film on me. They said they liked my film, liked how I played and that I was a guy they could see being a part of their organization.
That following Monday, I flew out to meet with the Cleveland Browns. It went great. I got a chance to see Joe Haden, and it is always good to see a former teammate in the NFL. He said he put in a good word for me and told the coaching staff that I was a good football player who never had off-the-field issues and could come in and contribute.
The coaching staff was really cool, very down to earth. It’s a whole new staff so they’re running a brand new scheme on both sides of the ball. I definitely felt a connection there with them as far as the defensive backs coach [Louie Cioffi], the head coach [Rob Chudzinski] and the defensive coordinator [Ray Horton], even the special teams coach [Chris Tabor]. They all showed a lot of love and interest in me, and I enjoyed myself.
I did not do any workouts because it was just a visit, but I did some board work. They watched my film. They drew up their defensive scheme and quizzed me on how I would be creative or how I would react in certain situations. Then they would ask me to draw up their defense after they explained it to me to see what I could retain quickly. It was a lot of talk about football, which was great.
My next meeting was with the New York Giants on Wednesday and Thursday, but I was not on my own. There were a number of other defensive backs there with me. We did positional drills, had lunch with the coaches and spent a lot of time talking about football. Any time you’re back in your hometown, you get a feel for what it’s like to be home and be surrounded by people who are familiar with you. It really went great.
I haven’t spoken to Will Hill [who plays safety for the Giants] at all but when I got there the coaches knew that he and I both lived near each other. I didn’t get a chance to meet up with him though.
Unfortunately, I had a stomach virus that Friday and had to reschedule my visit with the New York Jets. I met with them this Monday and got a chance to come in for a visit, meet the whole staff, talk to Rex Ryan, the defensive backs coach [Tim McDonald]. It was also a great experience there as well. We did some board work, and they showed a lot of interest. Rex Ryan is a good coach, man. Getting to meet him, see him be a very down-to-earth coach was something that stood out to me.
I’m having dinner with the San Francisco 49ers defensive backs coach [Ed Donatell] on Thursday night. I’m then working out with him on Friday as they are flying up this way to see me. As of right now, that is my only remaining scheduled meeting until the draft.
The possible meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers never wound up working out, but they have called to ask for my draft-day information (phone numbers, location). Some teams, instead of scheduling visits because they are only allowed so many, they do phone interviews with you and ask for that kind of information. The Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos are just a few of the other teams that have called for those types of conversations.
My agent also told me on Tuesday that he had a great conversation with the Jacksonville Jaguars. They asked about me and had plenty of good things to say.
I look forward to providing you all with one more update before the draft process officially begins next Thursday. It will be pretty crazy for me after that, but I’ll check back in at some point after I am selected to wrap up the process. Thanks to everyone for following along this far in the journey!