It should come as no big surprise that the Ravens acquired veteran wide receiver Lee Evans from Buffalo today in a trade. I posted last night on Twitter that this was my guess as the Ravens lack experience at the wide receiver spot after dumping Derrick Mason and failing to land Malcom Floyd. Before the trade the Ravens only had rookies Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss to go along with Anquan Boldin, so the move was not hard call.
The Ravens will attempt to use Evans much in the way the Steelers use Mike Wallace. He is a vertical threat receiver used to strike for big plays and take the top off of coverages. Evans has a career 15.7 yards per catch average, but has only caught 55 or more passes 3 times during his 7 years in the league. It is a good move for the Ravens, but not necessarily one the Steelers should fear.
In his three career games versus the Steelers, Evan has been targeted 20 times with 5 catches for 89 yards and 0 touchdowns. As the table below shows, his last two years have been pretty blah since his 1,000 yard season in 2008. I have listed his yearly DVOA and DYAR numbers from Football Outsiders, AV numbers from Pro Football Reference and his rating by Pro Football Focus in the table below from the last three seasons as a quick snapshot. Click on the link headings to see each in more detail.
Evans is by no means washed up, but has been pretty much a one trick pony since he entered the league. It should also be noted that he suffered through numerous quarterback changes in Buffalo to go along with 5 different offensive coordinators.
Evans will likely line up on the outside against either Ike Taylor or Bryant McFadden when they play the Steelers and the safety play of Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark will be tested on the deep balls, but it is not like the Steelers don\’t face this everyday in practice when they go against Wallace. It is a good signing by the Ravens, but does not strike that much fear in me as a Steelers fan. We will know very quickly if I am correct in this assertion as the two teams square off against each other in week 1.