There was uncertainty about whether Lee would declare for the NFL draft or stay for his final season with new coach Scott Frost coming in to lead the Cornhuskers. And despite playing one season in Nebraska after transferring from Tulane, Lee felt the time was right to set off on his NFL adventure.
“I think I have a skill set that’s ready for the NFL,” Lee told Land of 10 after the Senior Bowl on Saturday. “I’ve played a ton of college football and learned a lot of offense. I’ve been in many leadership positions on my teams. I’ve been a three-time captain, and I think I’m ready to take that next step in my career. I’m just chasing success and chasing my dream, and this is the next step.”
The choice to leave Nebraska with a year of eligibility remaining appeared even more dicey when Lee wasn’t among the initial invites to the annual all-star game. However, he earned a roster spot on Jan. 17 when Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph withdrew.
The decision to have him replace Rudolph granted him a week of access in front of NFL scouts that he wouldn’t have otherwise had. That included 6 hours of practice time, almost two quarters of playing time during the game and several individual meetings with NFL teams at night.
“Not being here, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to get in front of the scouts,” he said. “I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to do the interviews and a lot of the process. I think it was just an incredibly humbling and honoring experience for me as a whole. I was extremely lucky to have this and definitely got a lot out of it. I built a really good relationship with the [Denver] Broncos coaches who were coaching us this week. I think I put a lot of good things on tape and performed well. The coaches were pleased with how all the quarterbacks played, so it was a fun week.”
Lee turned in an up-and-down performance in practice and during the game. He showed off a big arm and good touch at times, but also finished the Senior Bowl having completed 8 of 19 passes for 86 yards and an interception.
Despite some struggles, he thinks he is in a better position to make his NFL bet pay off than if that Senior Bowl invite had never come.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “It was a great opportunity to come out here and compete, and I got to meet a lot of good guys. [Saturday] was a lot of fun. I think we did a lot of good things in our offense. Obviously, we didn’t win the game, but I think we executed our offense well. We had a few plays here and there, obviously, that were tough, but we were still executing the plays the way they were supposed to be and just didn’t complete the ball on a couple.
“The exposure is huge for anyone who is here. It’s a big deal to get invited to this, so I definitely wanted to make the most of it. Just being here at all was a great experience and great opportunity and can benefit me in a ton of different ways.”