Birthday: March 11, 1981
Strengths: When Lee Evans was healthy, he was a lethal combination of speed, quickness, and instincts. In 2001, he logged over 1,500 receiving yards for the season (a Big Ten record) while playing in a Badger offense that would never be categorized as “pass happy”. Evans averaged an amazing 20.6 yards per catch, and recorded Wisconsin’s two longest offensive plays from scrimmage for the year — a 78-yard catch and run against Virginia and a 70-yarder against Michigan State. He had at least one reception of 30 or more yards in nine of the Badgers’ 12 games.
Evans was named a Wisconsin team captain for 2003 despite missing the 2002 season. His teammates and coaches marvel at the intensity with which he has attacked his rehab program and generally consider him to be the hardest worker in the Wisconsin program. He has shown great perseverance in dealing with his injury and the setbacks.
Areas for Concern: Evans tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Wisconsin’s 2002 spring game. The injury was surgically repaired and Evans tried to make it back for what was to be his senior season, but that ended when swelling and irritation in the knee required a second operation last fall. Evans has been declared healthy for the 2003 season, although the Badgers are holding him out of scrimmages as a precaution. He still must prove that he has the same explosion that he had before the injury.
At under six feet tall, Evans lacks the height and the reach of the big receivers who are currently the “in” thing around the NFL. He will not enjoy the size advantage that most of the top receiver prospects have when matched up against pro cornerbacks.
Evans’ reputation as a solid citizen took a hit last fall when he was arrested for marijuana possession. Evans plead no contest to the misdemeanor and was placed on probation for a year.
How Would He Look in Steel Blue? Evans’ draft stock will rise or fall depending upon how he plays this season and how his knee survives the scrutiny of the NFL doctors at the combine. If he makes it back, he would be a welcome addition to the Texans’ offense. His work ethic would make him a Dom Capers favorite, and Chris Palmer would love to have another wideout with Evans’ speed and big-play ability. It doesn’t take much imagination to envision Evans returning kickoffs and punts as well.
(profile written by Warren DeLuca
Lee Evans’ 2001 Stats G CTH YDS AVG TD 12 75 1,545 20.6 9
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