Badgers in the Draft: Lee Evans

After two years of waiting, former Wisconsin star will hear his name called early Saturday

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Saturday afternoon, Lee Evans will be at home in Bedford, Ohio, waiting for the phone call that reveals his NFL future.

 

The day Evans has planned—barbequing with family and friends, trying to relax and hoping to hear his name called in the first round—could easily have happened two years ago.

 

But, in a story that has been told many times, Evans chose to stay at Wisconsin following a fantastic junior season. On draft day 2002, he blew out his knee in the Badgers' spring game and was forced to take a medical redshirt the following season.

 

Evans met members of the media outside the Wisconsin locker room Wednesday afternoon and laughed after being asked if he made the right decision two years ago.

 

Was it worth the wait?

 

"Well it's two years later," Evans said. "I only expected a one-year thing but it's been two. It will all pan out in the end. I certainly don't know what is going to happen this Saturday but at that time I thought I made the right decision and hopefully on Saturday it will prove right."

 

After spending more than a year rehabbing, Evans responded with a stellar senior season. Many pre-draft articles have questioned the status of Evans' knee, but he is convinced that teams know he is healthy after thoroughly inspecting the knee at the NFL's scouting combine in February.

 

"It's not a question," he said. "Down at the Combine they tested it, pulled on it, yanked on it and everything. I still tested well, ran well. So that probably should be behind me. It is just now about when a team is going to pull the trigger.

 

"I know the people who make decisions know that it's not an issue," Evans added. "But obviously it is something that has happened in the past and, you know, probably will be brought up until mini-camp or until I play my first season in the league…Some people still think it's a concern but I think most of the people who make the decisions don't."

 

Following his senior campaign at Wisconsin, Evans performed well in pre-draft workouts, seemingly doing everything he could to solidify his chances of becoming a first-round pick. Evans ran a blistering 4.31 40-yard dash at the Combine and also did well at Wisconsin's pro day.

 

"I guess things can always go better but I think they went very well," Evans said. "I think I surprised a lot of people in some of the things that I did. And in my personal workout, I didn't drop any balls. So that's definitely a starting point and something that I certainly expected of myself. So a lot of things went well, went very well but we'll see when the decision-makers pull my name out of the hat on Saturday."

 

Depending on how the chips fall, Evans could go anywhere from the middle of the first round to early in the second.

 

"You just never know what's going to happen," he said.

 

In a normal draft, Evans would be a sure-fire first-round pick and potentially the first receiver taken. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Evans, though, has taken a back seat to an assortment of larger receivers in most draft projections.

 

"Of the top 6-8 receivers or so I'm probably the only one under six feet," he said. "I think in certain situations that will help me ‘cause not all offenses are looking for the big, tall receivers. Some already have one and some are looking for a smaller type receiver who can get deep and stretch the field vertically. I think it will play to my advantage in some cases."

 

"My basic (goal) is to try to get into a situation where it's a good fit for me and where I can come in and be productive," Evans added. "Wherever that may be, I don't know."

 

The wait is almost complete.

 

Lee Evans' NFL.com profile

 

The Insiders' Lee Evans scouting report


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