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#2615   2018-10-06 02:05 GMT        
Linebacker Rashaan Evans couldn't be happier after the Tennessee Titans drafted him with the No. 22 pick Brandon Saad Jersey , a selection predicted by his friend Derrick Henry.

The former Alabama teammates had discussed how much they wanted to play together in the NFL. Henry, a Heisman Trophy winner at Alabama in 2015, called Evans once the pick was in.

"Everything worked out as we talked about," Evans said.

New Titans head coach Mike Vrabel got an inside linebacker for his first draft selection, even trading up three spots with Baltimore to nab Evans.

Vrabel, a former linebacker himself who played 14 NFL seasons, has been spending plenty of time with the Titans' linebackers already. Evans now is in position to replace Avery Williamson, who left in free agency for the New York Jets after starting 59 of 63 games with Tennessee.

The Titans see Evans giving them flexibility with his instincts, speed and power. Vrabel noted Evans started as a defensive end at Alabama before developing into an inside linebacker.

"You see a lot of those instincts in the run game and obviously ... the versatility to play at the line of scrimmage and do some things to allow us to be multiple," Vrabel said.

The Titans went into the draft Thursday night slotted at No. 25 Youth Matt Nieto Jersey , which would have been their latest first-round pick since 2009 when they selected wide receiver Kenny Britt at No. 30. They moved up even higher, swapping first-round slots with the Ravens along with their fourth-round pick at No. 125 for Baltimore's selection at No. 215.

Tennessee is coming off consecutive 9-7 seasons and its first playoff appearance in 14 years. That wasn't enough to keep Mike Mularkey on the jo b, and the Titans replaced him with Vrabel .

General manager Jon Robinson added linebacker Will Compton in free agency. But the Titans needed more help alongside veteran Wesley Woodyard. Robinson said they were impressed by Evans' leadership and how other Alabama players reacted around the linebacker during a meeting after his pro day.

"He kind of had an old soul feel about him," Robinson said. "A guy that really loves football loves sitting there watching the film and talking through the responsibilities that he had, the front had and that the DBs had."

The 6-foot-3, 234-pound Evans was first-team All-Southeastern Conference as a senior, and he finished his career with 152 tackles and 15 sacks. But Evans did not run the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine or at Alabama's pro day, listening to a doctor's advice to protect himself from a nagging groin injury.

The linebacker says he's completely healthy now. Evans, who grew up testing himself alongside his brother by racing horses on their family farm in Auburn, Alabama Authentic Shea Weber Jersey , insists he's plenty fast.

"It's funny that people question my speed," Evans said on a conference call. "I'm like, if I can catch a horse, there's no reason for you to question the speed."

Evans joins a defense that ranked 25th against the pass last season giving up 239.3 yards per game and 17th giving up 22.3 points a game under coordinator Dick LeBeau. Vrabel brought in Dean Pees to run his defense as coordinator after the veteran coach had retired from the same position with Baltimore.

This is a rare first-round pick on defense for the Titans.

Robinson took cornerback Adoree Jackson at No. 18 overall last year after making wide receiver Corey Davis the team's first pick at No. 5 overall. Evans is the first defensive player taken with Tennessee's first overall pick since linebacker Derrick Morgan was selected at No. 16 in 2010 and the first inside linebacker since Keith Bulluck in 2000.

Australia assistant coach and former NBA star Luc Longley has accused Philippines coach Chot Reyes of inciting the violence that marred a World Cup qualifying match between the teams on Monday.

The former Chicago Bulls player described the bench-clearing brawl which saw 13 players, including four Australians, ejected from the match as the worst thing he had seen on a basketball court.

Longley, who has been praised for his efforts to protect Australian player Chris Goulding from a large group of Philippines players, said Reyes had called on his players during a time out to ”hit somebody, put somebody on their …”

Reyes has defended the comments, which were picked up by television microphones Womens Derek Dorsett Jersey , as a routine instruction to his players to foul on fast breaks.

Speaking to media on Wednesday, Longley rejected Reyes’ comments and criticized the Philippines players for posing for a group selfie after the brawl had abated. Basketball Australia has sought to limit further comment on the brawl which is being investigated by world governing body FIBA.

But Longley was eager to speak, condemning what he called the ”gangster” behavior of some Philippines players.

”I do believe their coach Chot Reyes incited them to come out and thug us,” Longley said. ”There’s video evidence of that.

”Then he substituted a thug out there who took three or four cheap swings at (Goulding). This is out of the party line but I’m most disturbed with their head coach. I think he was embarrassed by the way his team was playing. I think he was embarrassed by the shape they were in. I think he was embarrassed by how they fought.

”He wouldn’t look me in the eye at the end of the game when I shook his hand. I think he was embarrassed and that’s where a lot of it came from. I’m upset with him more than anybody. To let his team take gangster selfies on the baseline after something like that, that shows a total lack of control and respect.”

Longley said he felt he had no choice but to come off the bench to defend Goulding when he saw the Australian pinned under a pile of Philippines players.

”Those are the sorts of images you hope you never see, one guy lying on the ground covering up his head and being kicked and beaten by the other team, players and officials and guys from the crowd,” he said. ”It was horrifying. I wasn’t supposed to come off the bench. It was really disturbing.

”I went onto the court to protect our guys, with the idea of not hurting anyone, just putting my big body in the way.”

Basketball Australia was expected to make Goulding available to speak to reporters Wednesday but withdrew him Corey Perry Jersey , saying he would speak ”at a better time.”

Australian veteran Daniel Kickert who was seen to elbow a Philippines player in response to a foul on Goulding before the brawl erupted, described the violence as ”regrettable.”

”I was put in a position where I made an action that was unfortunate,” he said. ”I think I overstepped a little bit in my response to the escalation in the game.

”I’m going to let FIBA do everything they need to do and come to the answers they see fit.”

Australia coach Andrej Lemanis said he feared the brawl would make it more difficult to call on Australian NBA players for international duty.

NBA teams are often reluctant to release players as it is for the two FIBA windows, in June-July and September, that fall in the league’s off-season.

Two current NBA players, Milwaukee Bucks pair Thon Maker and Matthew Dellavadova, were on Australia’s roster for the match. Maker is facing a possible FIBA suspension after he attempted numerous fly-kicks on Filipino opponents.

”Obviously that’s one of the concerns … what it means generally in terms of players willingness to participate and put their hand up,” Lemanis said.

”We’ll see. Hopefully there’s good learnings out of this for everybody in terms of the safety and security required around the game.”

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