Ravens considering another two-way player: Iowa’s Joe Evans

OWINGS MILLS  — Ravens coach John Harbaugh is encouraged by the versatility of Joe Evans, an undrafted free agent from Iowa.

Evans made his mark as a defensive end for the Hawkeyes, finishing last season with 46 tackles, 10 quarteback pressures, 13 1/2 tackles for a loss, and 9 1/2 sacks.

At 6 feet 2, 246 pounds, he could also play on the other side of the ball at tight end or fullback. The Ravens have another player on the roster, Pat Ricard, who can play on the defensive line and as a fullback, so the team is open to the idea of a two-way player.

Harbaugh is keeping his options open with Evans.

“It’s probably all a work in progress, kind of figuring that out,” Harbaugh said. “Joe looked good. We were playing him at outside linebacker in this minicamp, and he looked good, quick, fast. I could see where he could be a move-tight end or more of a fullback-type of guy, also.

Evans was a walk-on at Iowa and became a strong defensive player, earning third-team All-Big Ten by league media and honorable mention All-Big Ten by league coaches. His 28 career sacks ranks fourth most in program history.

Now he has an opportunity to make an NFL roster.

“This is everything that I’ve dreamed of,” Evans said on Iowa’s Pro Day. “When I was a little kid, my dream was to be an Iowa Hawkeye, and I’m a guy that sets goals for himself. I think in middle school I set that goal. Once I reach goals, I just keep pushing them forward, and my next goal is to play in the NFL.

“This is a dream. I’m really excited to have this opportunity.”

Evans faces fierce competition to make the Ravens’ final roster. The team does have a number of success stories for undrafted players that made an impact on the team. Those players includes defensive coordinator Zach Orr, kicker Justin Tucker, defensive tackle Michael Pierce, running back Keaton Mitchell and Ricard,.

Evans wants to add his name to that list. He has already caught Harbaugh’s attention.

“The more he can do, obviously he’s going to be a special teams factor as well,” Harbaugh said. “So, he looked good out there. He’s also a guy that you think when the pads come on, you’re really going to see even more.” 

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