Josh Evans – Path to 2013 NFL Draft: Jacksonville

The 2013 NFL Draft is now in the books, and Florida Gators fans saw eight players – one shy of the school record in a seven-round draft – get selected from Thursday-Saturday. Safety Josh Evans, Florida’s leading tackler in 2012, patiently waited for his name to be called and eventually saw his dream come true late on Saturday when he was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the No. 169 overall pick, the first of the sixth round of the draft. Below is Evans’s final entry as his Path to the Draft has finally come to a close. OGGOA thanks him for keeping his fans up-to-date on his experiences over the last four months in this exclusive blog.

The whole draft process was pretty crazy. It really is unlike anything else I have experienced or will probably experience again in my life. Though I knew I would not be drafted during the first round on Thursday, there were indications that I could go during the second day on Friday.

Personally, I thought I would be going anywhere from the third or fourth round on down. The Dallas Cowboys had actually called me twice on Thursday – in the morning and at night – and told me they were looking to pick a safety on Friday or first thing on Saturday. They wound up taking somebody else [J.J. Wilcox - No. 80 overall], so I just stayed humble and hungry and waited for that phone call from another team.

When I did not get selected on Friday, it was not a major concern. I wondered what was going on and how things would play out, but I kept my faith in God and figured that something good would happen. No matter what, I was going to make the most of whatever opportunity a team decided to give me.

During the fifth round, the Buffalo Bills called me and told me that they were interested. When they didn’t select me, the next team I heard from was the Jacksonville Jaguars, which called me about a minute before they drafted me.

As I wrote here last time, the Jaguars spoke with me and my agent three times over the last week, so I knew they were interested…but I did not know I would end up there.

When they called, they asked if I was “ready to be a Jacksonville Jaguar.” I said, “Absolutely,” and then my name popped up on the TV a minute later and then my family and everyone around me got excited.

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Jaguars choose Gators S Josh Evans in seventh round of 2013 NFL Draft; Bucs trade for Demps

Round 6 – No. 169 (overall)
Josh Evans, S
Jacksonville Jaguars


Height: 6’1″ – Weight: 207 lbs.
Age: 21 – Class: Senior

Just moments after a pair of Florida Gators were selected at the end of the fifth round, safety Josh Evans received a phone call from the Jacksonville Jaguars as the team decided to make him the No. 169 overall selection – the first of the sixth round – in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Jacksonville had been after Evans for quite some time and even contacted both him and his agent on three separate occasions in the week leading up to the draft. Evans, who penned a Path to the Draft blog exclusively here on OGGOA, said he felt “a lot of love” from the Jaguars throughout the process.

“I just want to say it’s an honor and privilege to be in this situation and be a part of a great organization like the Jaguars,” Evans said. “I’m somebody who’s committed whether it’s special teams, defense, wherever I’m needed I’m coming out there to make the best of my opportunity, to go out there and be able to compete.”

Though Evans may have been overshadowed a bit by Matt Elam in the back of the Gators’ secondary, NFL teams took notice of his ability over the last few months. He showed out in a big way at the 2013 NFL Combine and earned some added attention with an impressive performance at Florida’s Pro Day.

Evans improved in each of his four years with the Gators and showed some promise as a junior after head coach Will Muschamp took over the team and began personally coaching the safeties. He played in all 13 games and made eight starts in 2011, ending the year with 51 tackles (fifth-most on the team), a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery. He took an even bigger step in his development during his senior campaign as he started all 13 games and led Florida with 83 tackles (4.5 for loss), registering two sacks, three interceptions and three pass defenses.

“It helped me a lot,” Evans said of Muschamp’s tutelage. “Having those guys a part of my life my last two years at Florida really changed my career and it helped me for the next level as far as being able to anticipate certain calls and being in different situations at game time. Checking definitely on the back end with the safeties, pretty much being the quarterback of the defense.”

The eighth Gators player drafted by the Jaguars in franchise history, Evans is the first to be selected by Jacksonville since Derrick Harvey (No. 8, 2008) but the third defensive back that has been chosen by the Gators in the last eight years. Dee Webb (No. 236, 2006) and Reggie Nelson (No. 21, 2007) are no longer with the franchise. It is the first time Florida has had two safeties have been selected in the same draft.

The New England Patriots on Saturday traded former Gators running back Jeff Demps to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for RB Legarette Blount and a seventh-round draft selection. Demps, who informed the Patriots that he wished to run track and would likely miss at least training camp (if not a few games), was jettisoned by New England to the team that wanted him most as an undrafted free agent last offseason. The Buccaneers will likely give Demps an opportunity to contribute to the team though it is unknown how his track desires will affect his ability to make the squad.

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Josh Evans – Path to the 2013 NFL Draft: Meetings

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.

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SIX BITS: Masters, Brissett, Booth, Tebow, PIT

1 » Only one of the two Florida Gators golfers competing in the 2013 Masters moved on to weekend play. After hitting an even 72 in the opening round on Thursday, Brian Gay shot a +2 (74) on Friday and is currently tied for 37th, three strokes above the cut line. Senior T.J. Vogel, who earned a spot in the major as an amateur event winner, was not as fortunate. He shot a +5 (77) on Thursday but was able to bring his score down with a +3 (75) on Friday. Vogel missed the cut by four strokes, ending his special weekend earlier than he would hoped. “I just had a good time,” he said Thursday after his first round. “This experience, I can’t even explain even in words. I’m just having such a great time playing in front of so many people and it’s just a really cool feeling when you know you hita great shot and you got people cheering for you. And I’m not used to that yet. It’s just really cool.”

2 » Former Florida QB Jacoby Brissett sounds more than slightly perturbed that he lost the starting job to Jeff Driskel last season. In a feature penned by Jeremy Fowler of CBSSports.com, Brissett indicates that he did not receive a fair shot to start for the Gators before throwing a barb at Driskel for his performance in the last game of the season. “It wasn’t right,” he said of the competition. “In the saying that God don’t like ugly, it came up to us in the Sugar Bowl when we couldn’t throw to save our life.” He then took a second shot at Driskel, basically questioning his former teammate’s work ethic while explaining why it was Brissett who should have started at Florida. “Just my competitiveness, I don’t think it was matched with that other guy,” he said. “The willingness to put in that extra work to win.”

Read four more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Masters, Brissett, Booth, Tebow, PIT

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FOUR Tebow BITS: Elway, book, support, Vatican

1 » Interviewed Thursday on the Boomer & Carton radio program up in New York, Denver Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway spoke at length about quarterback Tim Tebow and his NFL career. Asked first if he thought Tebow could succeed in the league long-term, Elway admitted that it was a possibility. “I think in the right situation – he wants to and his drive to play and that’s what he wants to do – in the right situation, I think it’s a possibility. He’s got to be in the right situation,” he said. Furthermore, Elway addressed Tebow’s immense fan support and said that he had to push that aside when deciding what was best for Denver going forward. “Tim has a loyal fan base behind him. It’s a lot of people that really want to see him,” he said. “I think Tim Tebow has a lot of fans. … I went with what was best for the Denver Broncos, and Peyton Manning was best for the Denver Broncos.”

Elway was also asked about the report that the Broncos gave Tebow the option to choose his trade destination. He confirmed that the situation was reported accurately but also praised Tebow for what he did during his time in Denver. “We had two options – Jacksonville or the Jets. We laid it out to time and said, ‘It’s up to you.’ I’m not going to tell you which deal I liked better, but I will tell you that we did give him the option. He ended up picking the Jets, thinking that was the best opportunity for him,” Elway said. “As I’ve said about Tim, he’s a good kid and he works his tail off. He did a lot of good things for us in 2011. We were 1-4; when he came in, we won seven out of eight games after that, won a playoff game. So, he did a lot of good things for us.”

2 » The Nielsen Company this week released “State of the Media: 2012 Year in Sports” which, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, included plenty of mentions of Tebow. Per the Nielsen list, Tebow had the best-selling sports biography of the year with his “Through My Eyes” selling 116,000 copies (not including sales through Wal-Mart) or more than three times the next person on the list (R.A. Dickey – 39,600 copies). Tebow also checked in with an N-Score (endorsement potential rating) of No. 4 among mothers and No. 2 among people 65 years of age or older.

3 » It’s always interesting to see which random athletes support Tebow. Enter Philadelphia 76ers point guard Jrue Holiday, who told 94WIP radio in Philadelphia, PA that he is a big fan of the player. “I mean, how can you not [like him] though? His trophies. I guess everybody says he’s not a quarterback, but when he’s played quarterback even for the Broncos, he’s won games which is all that matters,” Holiday said. “I don’t know man, it’s about winning games right? I’m not saying skill-wise he’s the best one, but he got the wins. Well, he used to get the wins.”

4 » According to the Catholic News Service, the Vatican has asked Tebow and Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin to appear at a sports conference with the hope of encouraging athletes to compete in a moral manner. The sports conference, titled “We Believe in Sports,” is being put together by the Pontifical Council for Culture. “We want to work with the big sports bodies to give new value to sports,” Monsignor Melchor Sanchez de Toca Alameda said. “[We want] to help put healthy values back into sport and counteract the current market logic, because if the current state of affairs continues, all is lost.” As noted by the Christian News Network, neither athlete has yet to accept the invitation and it is unknown if either will as “some Christians refuse to work with the Vatican because they believe that its traditions and teachings are unBiblical.”

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FOUR BITS: Quinn, Tebow, bowls, Fisch

1 » According to ESPN insider Adam Schefter, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s new contract with the Seattle Seahawks is for three years and $5.7 million, or approximately $1.9 million per season. Quinn was set to earn just over $500,000 with the Florida Gators in 2013 though he likely would have received a raise.

2 » It has long been known that quarterback Tim Tebow will not be with the New York Jets next season. Even with that being the case, everyone involved with the decision to bring him in continues to do whatever is in their power to distance themselves from him. According to ESPNNewYork.com, team owner Woody Johnson – who fawned over Tebow when the franchise first acquired him from Denver – is the latest to pull this maneuver. He reportedly told former Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist, who interviewed for the Jets vacancy, that the trade was “forced” on him and that he only “jumped on board” after the football personnel department convinced him it was a good idea. “They realized it was divisive and hard on the locker room, and they wanted an exit strategy,” he said.

3 » Former Florida safety Josh Evans and kicker Caleb Sturgis competed in the 2013 East-West Shrine Game over the weekend. Evans played sparingly on defense and special teams, but Sturgis accounted for seven of the East’s 13 points in the 28-13 loss as he connected on an extra point as well as field goals from 48 yards and 38 yards. Linebacker Lerentee McCray was invited to the game but chose not to participate as he continues to heal from the 2012 season. Similarly, LB Jon Bostic pulled out of the 2013 Senior Bowl set for Saturday at 4 p.m. Running back Mike Gillislee and left tackle Xavier Nixon will be the only two Gators participating in the game.

4 » Though two former Florida players have already lost their NFL head coaching gigs this offseason, another person with ties to the Gators has picked up a new job. Jedd Fisch, a graduate assistant at Florida from 1999-2000, was named the offensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday. Fisch has been coaching since starting out in the high school ranks in 1997 and was most recently the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Miami (FL).

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“Strong possibility” Dan Quinn leaves for Seattle

UPDATE: Dan Quinn leaves Florida for Seattle Seahawks

Could the Florida Gators be in line for their sixth new coordinator in five seasons?

On Thursday, Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley was hired as the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Immediately thereafter, Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s name popped up both as a potential replacement for Bradley in Seattle or as his hire for defensive coordinator in Jacksonville.

According to ESPN insider Adam Schefter, “there is a ‘strong possibility’” that Quinn “will return to Seattle to replace Gus Bradley.” He also noted via Twitter that the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles are interested in Quinn.

One year ago, after a season in which he led the Gators to a top-10 defense in his first year at the helm, Quinn reportedly turned down an offer to coordinate the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ defense after Greg Schiano was hired as head coach.

Continue Reading » “Strong possibility” Dan Quinn leaves for Seattle

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Jaguars GM “can’t imagine” acquiring Tim Tebow

Despite reports to the contrary at the conclusion of the 2012 regular season, new Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell all but slammed the door shut on quarterback Tim Tebow joining the team next season.

“As far as Tim goes, he is a member of the New York Jets. I can’t imagine a scenario where he would be a Jacksonville Jaguar,” Caldwell said Thursday in his introductory press conference, affirming moments later that would remain the case should he be a free agent. “I can’t imagine a scenario where he would be a Jacksonville Jaguar…even if he’s released,” he added. [Video]

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported on Dec. 23, 2012 that it was a “virtual certainty” Tebow would wind up playing for Jacksonville in 2013.

One day later, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport released a similar report, stating emphatically that Tebow “will be a Jaguar” in 2013 and that the team would even consider trading for him in order to assure that they acquire his services.

Though neither Mortensen nor Rapoport’s reports were linked to Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, he stated one year ago that he would have had no problem trading for Tebow and would have “absolutely” drafted Tebow if he was owner of the team back in 2010.

It now appears as if Khan has decided (or Caldwell has convinced his owner) to forget about acquiring Tebow this season despite the fact that Jacksonville will have an open competition at quarterback.

With NFL starting jobs now likely off the table for 2013, the Tebow watch now centers on whether any team will even give him an opportunity to compete for a back-up role should he be released from his contract with the Jets as expected.

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