Titans running back Darrynton Evans is headed to the injured reserve list again, per a club announcement. This time, he won’t be able to return.
Evans spent the first six weeks of the season on the IR list before returning to face the Chiefs on Sunday. Unfortunately, he re-aggravated his knee injury after just two carries and two catches. Injuries have plagued the 23-year-old throughout his pro career.
The Titans had high hopes for the third-rounder in 2020, but he was limited to just five games as a rookie. Now, he’ll head into 2022 with little pro experience and an uphill battle to make the final cut.
Stocker, who has put together a 10-year career thanks to his blocking ability, rejoined the Titans this offseason after Jonnu Smith joined the Patriots. The move was a bit of a homecoming for Stocker; the tight end went to college at Tennessee and played for the Titans for two seasons. With the veteran out of the picture, Tommy Hudson will likely serve as the team’s third tight end behind the Geoff Swaim/Anthony Firkser platoon.
The Titans are experimenting with using Darrynton Evans as a wide receiver, head coach Mike Vrabel says (via The Tennessean). Evans, a running back by trade, could give the team some much needed depth at the position.
“Those are ideas we try to have and try to get him some cross-training work,” Vrabel said. “A lot of those players that can handle more than one particular role, then we’ll continue to add those roles to them. And I’d say Darrynton is one of those players.”
The Titans used a third-round pick on Evans last year, but the Appalachian State product was limited to just eight games thanks to injuries and a few healthy scratches. All in all, he ran for 54 yards on 14 carries.
The Titans did take note of his soft hands, however, and he played some WR in college, catching 39 passes for 319 yards and five scores. Of course, it was his RB work that put him on the pro radar — he rushed for 1,480 yards and 18 touchdowns in his final year on campus. But, with a fairly crowded room behind starter Derrick Henry, WR may be his best path to the field in 2021.
Outside of A.J. Brown, the Titans’ WR group is fairly thin. Corey Davis is out, Josh Reynolds is in, and the rest of the bunch won’t do much to take attention away from Brown. Evans will have a chance to get himself into the mix, but don’t be surprised if the Titans explore cap casualty veterans over this summer.
The Titans are steadily seeing key players return to action after the team’s coronavirus outbreak. Top defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons is now back on Tennessee’s active roster after testing positive for COVID-19. This move follows the Titans’ activations of DaQuan Jones, Kristian Fulton and Adam Humphries.
Simmons landed on the Titans’ COVID list Oct. 3 but is now on track to play in Week 6. He will have missed only one game, with the Titans’ scheduled Week 4 contest against the Steelers having been converted to a bye week after the team’s issues with the virus.
Tennessee selected Simmons in the 2019 first round and saw the Mississippi State product bounce back quickly despite tearing his ACL before the ’19 draft. Likely a top-10 pick prior to the injury, Simmons has flashed as an interior defender in his limited time as a pro. In his most recent game, Simmons registered three QB hits and recorded a sack.
However, the Titans will be without one of their backup running backs for at least three weeks. They placed Darrynton Evans on IR to make room for Simmons’ return to the 53-man roster. A hamstring injury will sideline Evans, a rookie third-rounder out of Appalachian State. Drafted after the Titans cut Dion Lewis, Evans has just five carries this season. Jeremy McNichols resides as the only other back on Tennessee’s active roster, making it likely the team will make a move to add another player at this spot by Saturday’s transaction deadline.
Here are the latest draft pick signings. With rookies set to report to teams’ training camps this week, teams are busy on this front.
The Vikings were the busiest team in the draft, making 15 picks this year. They have been active signing them Wednesday. Beyond first-rounder Justin Jefferson, Minnesota has agreed to terms with second-round tackle Ezra Cleveland, fourth-round linebacker Troy Dye, fourth-round defensive tackle James Lynch and seventh-round offensive lineman Kyle Hinton. Cleveland, rumored as a possible late-first-round selection, will be groomed to become a near-future starter for the Vikings.
The Broncos began signing some of their picks, most notably getting third-rounders Michael Ojemudia and McTelvin Agim under contract. A cornerback, Ojemudia is set to compete for a starting job opposite A.J. Bouye; Agim profiles as D-line depth behind established starters this season. Denver also signed fourth-round tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, a Mizzou alum set to rejoin his former quarterback (Drew Lock) in the Mile High City. The Broncos also reached an agreement with seventh-round outside linebacker Derrek Tuszka.
Despite having T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree under contract, the Steelers used a third-round pick on outside linebacker Alex Highsmith. The Charlotte alum agreed to terms on his four-year rookie deal. Highsmith recorded 15 sacks at the mid-major program last season.
Packers third-round pick Josiah Deguara also agreed on his four-year rookie contract. Green Bay eschewed its wide receiver need throughout the draft, using Day 2 to add a running back (A.J. Dillon) and Deguara, who profiles as a tight end/fullback. The Cincinnati product surpassed 900 yards between his final two college seasons, totaling 12 touchdown grabs in that span.
Tennessee third-round running back Darrynton Evans signed his rookie deal as well. Evans looks set to replace Dion Lewis as the Titans‘ Derrick Henry change-of-pace back. The Appalachian State alum rushed for 1,480 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. He added five receiving TDs.
The Giants used first- and third-round picks on tackles. The latter selection, UConn’s Matt Peart, agreed to the terms of his rookie deal Wednesday. Peart profiles as a developmental lineman, working behind expected starters Nate Solder and Andrew Thomas. He stands to join Cameron Fleming as depth for Big Blue.
Washington has agreed to terms with third-round running back/wideout Antonio Gibson, fourth-round receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden and fifth-round center Keith Ismael. Gibson and Gandy-Golden figure to be key parts of a Washington offense that is limited, beyond Terry McLaurin, in the passing game. Gibson totaled 1,104 yards from scrimmage at Memphis last season, while Gandy-Golden caught 20 touchdown passes in two years at Liberty.
Fourth-round Cowboys pick Reggie Robinson agreed to terms as well. The Tulsa cornerback joins a Cowboys team that lost Byron Jones in free agency. Dallas was active in an effort to replace the Pro Bowler, drafting Trevon Diggs in Round 2 and signing Daryl Worley.
Sixth-round Chargers safety Alohi Gilman, a Notre Dame alum, signed his Chargers contract Wednesday. Gillman joins a deep Bolts safety corps.
The Buccaneers drafted two running backs this year. On Wednesday, they agreed to terms with the second of those picks — seventh-rounder Raymond Calais. In addition to his work as a running back at Louisiana, Calais was a four-year kick returner for the Rajin’ Cajuns.