New report says Patriots never considered drafting Rashaan Evans in Round 1
USA Today Sports
When the Tennessee Titans traded up to the 22nd pick (one ahead of the Patriots) to snag Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans, may around the league assumed they were moving up to beat out New England. With a former Patriot head coach in Mike Vrabel and a laundry list of former Pats on the team roster, Tennessee has worked harder than anyone else in the league recently to copy New England's success. However, ESPN's Mike Reiss recently reported that the Evans selection wasn't about the Patriots at all, and that Bill Belichick was never going to pick a linebacker anyways:
Leading up to the draft, I wrote that Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans would be a good fit for the Patriots, but I’ve since learned that he wasn’t a serious consideration for them in the first round. Once Leighton Vander Esch was off the board in the first round (No. 19, Cowboys), the Patriots knew they weren't going with a linebacker with their No. 23 pick.
That's an interesting perspective, especially given (as Reiss acknowledges) how many analysts predicted Evans would be a Patriot target before the draft. But with the offensive talent still available (especially Georgia's Isaiah Wynn, who the Pats eventually selected at #23), a linebacker might not have been the most valuable pick anyways.