Play it back

Jim Sorgi and Lee Evans had another opportunity to work as teammates Wednesday as they each worked to improve their stock for the NFL Draft

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Related - Wisconsin pro day notes


Once more, Lee Evans and Jim Sorgi competed together Wednesday, the star receiver catching pass after pass from his fellow-senior quarterback.


Sorgi rolled to his right and fired a pass along the sidelines to Evans. He dropped back, set and lofted a beautiful deep pass that Evans snagged in stride, sprinting down field. Sorgi stepped back quickly and drilled a pass to the far sideline. Evans juked to his right, cut hard to his left, reached out and plucked the pass out of the air, then turned sharply upfield, his feet dancing inches from sideline.


Of course, there was no Wisconsin game Wednesday. Those days are long gone, but for former Badger football players, UW's pro day was still as competitive as it gets. Playing in front of 70,000 screaming fans against other high caliber athletes is one thing—putting your talents on display for a cadre of about 50 NFL scouts and coaches presents its own set of challenges, ones Sorgi and Evans confronted quite well.


The passing drills concluded a nearly three-hour day of workouts and interviews at Wisconsin's indoor practice field in the McClain Center. At the behest of the scouts, Evans ran a variety of pass patterns, showing off his quickness into and out of cuts, double and triple moves to get down field and fantastic hands, while Sorgi delivered pass after pass, the NFL personnel checking his ability to throw the deep out, throw on the run and deliver the ball down field.


"I was really happy with the way I threw the deep ball," Sorgi said. "I was pretty happy with the way I threw the ball in general. A lot of zip on the ball, put it in the right spots."


Sorgi was indeed impressive Wednesday, making crisp, authoritative throws. It helped to be reunited with Evans, who has plenty of eyes charting his steps, especially after he posted the second-fastest time in the 40-yard dash of all the wide receivers at the recent NFL Scouting Combine. The various stopwatches in Indianapolis charted Evans anywhere between a 4.31 and 4.41, but the consensus was that he lit up the field at the RCA Dome. Evans also recorded a 35-inch vertical jump and 10 feet in the broad jump at the combine and chose to only participate in the quickness and agility drills in Madison.


"I think it certainly helped me to run in front of all those eyes, all those people and under their conditions," Evans said of the combine. "I think it showed a lot about me and the way I'm willing to compete in not so ideal situations or environments."


Evans strong performances may have solidified his standing as a first round draft pick.


"Growing up, when you think about being in the draft, you don't dream to go in the second round," he said. "First round is important to me…but those things are out of my hands. All I can do is play."


Sorgi, on the other hand, was not invited to the combine, so he had to make his impression felt Wednesday. He did so, recording personal bests with 4.63 in the 40, a 32 ½ vertical jump and a 10-0 broad jump. He also weighed in at 207 pounds after playing around 195 last season, all of which bodes well for his draft prospects. Most prognosticators are projecting the signal caller as either a late round selection or an undrafted free agent. Sorgi, though, is confident that he'll get a shot.


"I kind of know I'm going to be in a camp," he said. "I've talked to some teams and they've said, ‘If other teams don't draft you and we don't draft you kind of late than we want you to come to our camp as a free agent.' So I already know I'm going to be in a camp somewhere in the NFL."


Where that might be, though, remains a mystery.


"(The scouts) do a really good job of not letting you know what they're thinking," Sorgi said, echoing a sentiment widely expressed Wednesday. "It's cool because I don't want to know yet. I kind of want to just sit back say, ‘Well, I came out here and performed to the best of my ability and wherever the chips fall now they fall."


Prior to taking over Wisconsin's reigns last season, Sorgi was Brooks Bollinger's understudy for three years.


"I saw Brooks this weekend," Sorgi said of the current New York Jets backup quarterback. "I was like, ‘So what do I have to expect?' He's like, ‘Just throw the ball well, run well and you'll be fine. You'll get drafted.'"


As Bollinger did last spring, Sorgi plans to continue working out at Wisconsin and hoping for calls from NFL teams requesting additional workout sessions before the April 24-25 draft. Sorgi plans to return home to Detroit that weekend, but you won't catch him waiting by his phone or watching the draft on television.


"I told my dad I don't want to sit there and watch the draft so you sit there, watch it, hold my cell phone," Sorgi said. "I'm going to go play 18 holes of golf. If I get the phone call you call me on my brother-in-law's cell phone."

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