NAME: Evan Worthington
JERSEY: No. 6
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
WT: 205 lbs
Range – Has the necessary speed to play from a deep, single-high alignment. Great hip swivel and initial burst to attack into the sideline. Can maintain speed over a distance and time approach nicely with the onset of the football. Cheats with quarterback’s eyes but doesn’t often run himself totally out of position. Angles will get wonky at times, seemingly as a result of misjudging the football’s flight path.
Mental Processing – Can get turned around easily as the deep MoF safety. Concepts designed to stretch the middle of the field (Yankee, Mills) will get him biting forward and taking the cheese. Smart quarterbacks can move him off his spot with pump fakes. Near the line, has some perplexing lapses in run fits and will take himself out of position to make a play. At other times, sound filling downfield and can be sharp diagnosing play action and retaining position.
Zone Technique – Gains appropriate depth/width and does well to relate himself to initial concepts; rarely puts himself out of position. Upright at times in his backpedal, which delays his click and close. At his best coming downhill and using length and aggressiveness to attack catch point. Angles from deep alignment are very hit or miss. Trigger finger is too quick at times; can get pulled off of his spot.
Man Technique – Illustrates a good willingness to play with physicality in the contact window to disrupt route concepts. Stays connected down the field against tight ends, though he can get challenged by quickness out of route breaks given his own tight-hipped limitations. Attacks the catchpoint well and will hand fight or deliver a shot to disrupt the catch. Will get shaken by slot receivers and backs; wins matchups with size, not quickness.
Ball Skills – Has some absolutely tremendous interceptions on his profile with great ball tracking, in-air adjustments, and hands catches. Can high-point and outfight tight ends and wide receivers to address the football. That said, mental processing concerns and poor angles will run him out of good position to address the football as a zone defender.
Tackling – Needs technical refinement. Benefits from great size and tackle radius, as well as good explosiveness into contact to generate nice hitting power. But comes into contact too hot, especially when running the alley, and will slide off of tackles by dropping his shoulders too far down and limiting his ability to run his hips through contact. In the open field, demonstrates good awareness to break down and track the near hip — must bring that technique with him on downhill reps.
Toughness – Disappointing when blocked — will give up yardage and leverage in an effort to get clean instead of staying fundamentally sound as a cog in the defense. Fails to activate his hands and initiate contact to win initial positioning. Also comes into some tackles as an ankle-biter despite having superior size and some good hitting power. Plays too finesse for his size.
Versatility – Can fit at either deep or box safety with some development at both spots; truly a moldable project type player. Currently projects best as a deep safety given college experience there, but ideally can fit into a defense that spins or rock-n-rolls their safeties often. Generally speaking, offers great versatility, just needs to be worked on.
Functional Athleticism – Tight-hipped and upright, which limits his change of direction ability and reactionary quickness. Needs to exhibit better hip sink to unlock his hips when attempting to swivel and redirect. Can be a liability in man coverage against quicker players accordingly. Has a good burst/long speed profile and benefits from long strides. Length, height, and weight all stand out as strong aspects of his physical profile.
BEST TRAIT – Ball Skills
WORST TRAIT – Toughness
RED FLAGS – Year suspension for violating team rules
PLAYER COMPARISON –
A tricky evaluation, Evan Worthington has starting potential at both free and strong safety in most schemes for the NFL. With a pro-ready frame and the athleticism to match-up with tight ends in man coverage, some teams may like his length, ball skills, and hitting power in the box. With good speed and great adjustments to the football in the air, some teams may prefer him deep down the field. Regardless, if he develops, he has the potential to be one of the steals of Day 3 in this Draft.
But as it stands, the mental side of Worthington’s game remains underdeveloped. Worthington guesses more often than he diagnoses, which he can sometimes cover up with reactionary quickness and speed from a deep alignment, but near the line of scrimmage it runs him out of position immediately. With poor tackling technique and inconsistent angles to the football as a cover man and fill defender, you cannot trust Worthington in Year 1, and have to make an investment on him based on Year 3 upside.