Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Akayleb Evans is Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s First Draft Project

 In his pre-draft presser, Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah mentioned that he had a draft crush that he hoped to be available later in the draft. “There’s somebody that I sat in a dark room with that I see more value than anybody else in the NFL,” Adofo-Mensah said. On day 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft, the first-year Vikings general manager informed the media that Akayleb Evans was that guy. 

Akayleb Evans played in four seasons at Tulsa, before transferring over to the Missouri Tigers for his final year. It was at Missouri where Evans had his best statistical year, totaling 28 tackles, and an interception on a career high 6 passes defended. While Evans was one of the few standouts on his team, he was on a Missouri defense that allowed 33.8 points per game, which finished near the bottom of all FBS teams. 

Evans is an excellent athlete, testing out with a 4.46s 40 yard dash and a 36-inch vertical. His numbers, along with his 6’2”, 192 pound frame, had Kwesi pounding the table for him. Even though Evans was a projected sixth-rounder from ESPN, Kwesi traded up for him in the fourth-round.

The Vikings showed during the draft that they want their defense to be physical and more explosive than the previous few years under the last regime. The additions of Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth Jr. will immediately help revamp the secondary, but with two forced fumbles in his last season, Evans has some of the physicality that the new staff is looking for. 


Adofo-Mensah believes that giving up a future fourth-round pick was worth the price, and it is now up to the coaching staff to develop Evans into the guy Kwesi expects him to be. Akayleb Evans is the first test to see how successful Adofo-Mensah will be at finding talent in the later rounds of the draft.

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