This years receiver class is kind of weak. There’s depth to be had in the second and third rounds. But the big guns of this years draft? They have been epic fails in this new year. But still? There’s a lot of neat options.
AFTER THE JUMP!
1. Limas Sweed (Texas)
6’4″ 215 4.54
He’s a Roy Williams clone, with the injury-prone. He plays faster than his timed speed. He has good hands and body control. He’s clutch. When healthy. The problem is? He’s not healthy. He does not have a good ability to post up smaller defenders. And he’s not any sort of a vertical threat. But he is someone who can only improve. He works hard and plays hurt. I say he’ll be the best pro.
2. Early Doucet (LSU)
6’0″ 209 4.56
Fearless. He’s thickly built and he’ll go over the middle and take the hit. He works hard and plays smart. He can snag the ball out of the air and sidestep a defender. But he’s not a great route-runner, and is a bit pencil thin. He won’t go and hit the vertical route. And he’s got an issue of getting seperation from press coverage. The issue? He was never the man. You may be wasting a late 1st-early 2nd rounder on a #2 receiver.
3. Devin Thomas (Michigan State)
6’2″ 216 4.46
I know he’s likely the first receiver off the board. I get it. His upside is spectacular, and Doucet and Sweed have been to be inury prone. Thomas could be a very sexy, if he gets to 80% of his upside.
I mean, he’s got the size-speed ratio and fine vertical skills. He’s a home run hitter who can take a reverse, a return, or a slant to the house. But the fact is? He doesn’t have all the pass routes in his repitoire, and he could stand to refine his route running. If you’re patient? He could be spectacular. Don’t expect it in the next two years though.
4. DeSean Jackson (Cal)
5’10″ 169 4.39
West Coast Ted Ginn Jr. He has the same sort of home run threat. He’ll make a circus catch and he can go all Devin Hester on punt returns. But he has no polish as a receiver and he has all the mishagoes that being a small receiver can provide. The odd thing? His ability to return kicks may be the thing that decides wether he’s a bust or not.
5. James Hardy (Indiana)
6’5″ 217 4.54
He’s an immature character risk. He will try and get by on his native skill set. But you know what? You may not want to kick him out of bed for eating those crackers. He can be damn nigh unstoppable in the red zone with that sort of size and agility. A good quarterback may be able to play I’ll throw it up, and you get it with Mr. Hardy. If he learns how to separate from pressing corners? He’ll make 100 million dollars in this league.
6. Malcolm Kelly (Oklahoma)
6’4″ 224 4.71
He failed his pro day. He was going to be the top of the pops, but his pro day went badly. (Which should never happen). Still, he could very easily be the next Anquan Boldin. he can create mismatches with his size and wingspan. He has outstanding hands and when he’s on? He dominates. But if you guess he can disappear? Gold star from the teacher! He’ll get cranky if he doesn’t get the ball, and can get handled if they play to double cover him. He could easily go out like a punk.
7. Andre ‘Bubba’ Caldwell (Florida)
6’0″ 204 4.39
A natural athlete with explosive speed, Caldwell is another of the quicksilver receivers who can create magic when he gets his hands on the ball. He got open consistently as a Gator, and that will translate. Problem? He isn’t durable. Other problem? Oddly enough, he doesn’t have great run after catch ability. Put it this way, if he tightens his hands and stays healthy he can do good things.
8. Eddie Royal (Virginia Tech)
5’10″ 184 4.45
Pound for pound? Don’t question his game. He can catch in traffic and take the 5-yard slant to the house. He’s got a pretty good ability to get open. But he’s tiny and won’t separate. He won’t block, he won’t break tackles, and he’ll develop cases of the drops. He’ll stick. He’ll play Devin Hester lite.
9. Mario Manningham (Michigan)
6’0″ 181 4.62
Manningham was supposed to be one of those who resides in the upper echelon. But this is a man who has Epic Failed the job interview portion. He ran a 4.6+ 40 and has been known partake in the giggling green right before drug tests. Also, he lied about it. And he had a classically bad radio interview.
But on the field? He plays faster than he times and he can seperate with a silky smoothness. He has good ball tracking skills and hit a home run. He does not have a strong heart to break a tackle, and he is a poor route runner. And he’s got durability issues to go along with his character problems. I’d rather have the three dudes below him.
10. Jordy “LaForge” Nelson (Kansas State)
6’3″ 217 4.54
If you’re looking for James Jones with a BCS Pedigree? You come to the Forge. He has hands that can catch everything. He has good size, and enough east-west elusiveness that could mean you could have him return punts. But he will never be a burner. And he does not have a complete polished set of routes. Nevertheless, he developed into K-State’s go-to guy. There’s a lot to like here.
11. Earl Bennett (Vanderbilt)
6’0″ 209 4.51
He has very good hands and has the run power to make some run after catch mojation, even if he doesn’t have the verticality. Vandy used him on a lot of short routes, and on those routes, his wheels are good. He can make great plays in traffic, but he can’t get open or seperate. He could use some route running polish, but he’s a perfect West Coast offense receiver. Someone in Round 3 will be very happy.
12. Dexter Jackson (Appalachian State)
5’10″ 182 4.38
A Steve Smith clone without the crazy. He’s great on the short routes and he has the requisite quicksilver verticality. He’s a home run threat on returns and in big games as well. He will work hard and find a way to get better. Only problem? His hands are inconsistent. But point of fact? He’s a supersleeper.
Three draft posts left.
Good things are coming!