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-   -   Taking WR Early is a Gamble (http://www.thewarpath.net/nfl-draft-central/23175-taking-wr-early-is-a-gamble.html)

KB24 04-13-2008 04:43 PM

Taking WR Early is a Gamble
 
Some food for thought:

[url=http://www.buffalonews.com/sports/billsnfl/story/322332.html]The Buffalo News: Bills & NFL: Taking WR early is gamble[/url]

Wide receiver is usually one of the deepest positions in the draft, and also one of the hardest to project.

Six wide receivers were selected in the first round last year, but their overall impact was marginal. Dwayne Bowe, the 23rd overall pick and the third receiver taken, led all rookies with 70 receptions, 995 yards and five touchdowns for Kansas City. Calvin Johnson, the second overall selection and widely considered the best player in the 2007 draft, had more modest numbers — 48 receptions for 765 yards and four touchdowns.

There were 30 receivers drafted before New Orleans grabbed Marques Colston in 2006, yet the seventh-round pick has been most productive by far to this point.

Several receivers will be taken in the first round this year, but disappointing high picks like Ted Ginn Jr. (ninth overall last year), Troy Williamson (seventh in 2005), Mike Williams (10th in 2005). Charles Rogers (second, 2003) and David Terrell (eighth, 2001), among others, have forced teams to rethink the value of taking wideouts too early.

“It has the biggest mortality rate of any position percentage-wise,” Gil Brandt, the former Dallas personnel executive and current NFL.com analyst, said at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. “It’s a very hard position to learn. Second-hardest other than being a quarterback. So buyer beware.”

No wide receiver is expected to go in the top 10. A lot of pre-draft projections had the Buffalo Bills taking a wideout with the 11th overall pick, but that appears unlikely.

There is some good talent in the draft, though opinions vary on who is the best. Some people around the league favor Devin Thomas of Michigan State, while others like Malcolm Kelly of Oklahoma, DeSean Jackson of California or Limas Sweed of Texas.

Indiana’s James Hardy, Houston’s Donnie Avery and LSU’s Early Doucet also figure to be early-round picks.

“There might be three or four first-rounders this draft, but I’m not convinced there is a true first-round wide receiver,” said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock. “If you look at the history of the top 10 picks at the wide receiver position, it takes them two to three years to transition into productivity. I think there’s some depth. I think you look at the second, third and fourth round and there are definitely some players.”

The trend toward big receivers will continue in this draft. Thomas, Kelly, Hardy and Sweed are all above 6-feet and over 200 pounds. They possess the ability to win jump balls and be a presence in the red zone.

Thomas left Michigan State after a junior year in which he caught a school-record 79 passes for 1,260 yards and eight touchdowns. He can be a game-breaker with his ability to run after the catch and he doubles as a kickoff returner.

“I felt I proved enough,” Thomas said of his decision to leave school early. “I had a solid season and there’s a lot more I can improve on. I have the ability and potential to improve my career in the NFL.”

There is no questioning Kelly’s productivity. He started 34 games and caught 144 passes for 2,285 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Sooners. But his lack of speed might become an issue after running a 4.68-second 40-yard dash at an on-campus workout last week.

He also has to overcome his health issues. He didn’t work out at the combine or Oklahoma’s Pro Day because of a slightly torn quadriceps tear. He also tore the anterior cruciate ligament in a knee in junior high school and had arthroscopic knee surgery during his sophomore year at Oklahoma. Kelly’s agent and doctor tried to reassure everyone that he is fully healthy by sending a letter to every NFL team.

“The medical is the key for him,” an AFC scout said at the combine. “If everything checks out and he works out well, he might be a top-15 pick. If not, he could slip to the bottom or out of the first round.”

Jackson is one of the smallest receivers in the draft (5-foot-9, 169 pounds), but he is attractive because of his blazing speed. His 4.35-second 40-yard dash was the fastest among wideouts at the combine. He also was one of the premier punt returners in college football. To improve his chances of making it in the pros, Jackson went through an intense 10-day training regimen under the guidance of future Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.

“It was a great opportunity for me to be able to work out with him,” Jackson said. “I worked out with him pretty often. Through this whole process I was definitely in the books with him, talking to him, just hanging out with him, just trying to pick his mind and do the best things I could do and learn from him.”

Doucet seems to be flying under the radar a bit, but he put up excellent numbers (160 career catches for 1,943 yards and 20 touchdowns) against big-time competition in the Southeastern Conference. The 6-foot, 203-pounder lacks elite speed and struggled with some injuries, but he plays bigger than his size and could be effective as a slot receiver in the NFL.

SouperMeister 04-13-2008 05:21 PM

Re: Taking WR Early is a Gamble
 
We needn't look much further than the Desmond Howard / Michael Westbrook busts in the 90's to remember how difficult it is to project WRs adjusting to the NFL. I've said that we should go D-line in the first round and worry about WR in rounds 2 or 3 in the upcoming draft.

EARTHQUAKE2689 04-13-2008 05:57 PM

Re: Taking WR Early is a Gamble
 
if Devin Thomas is available i say take him if not go with d line

freddyg12 04-13-2008 05:57 PM

Re: Taking WR Early is a Gamble
 
[quote=SouperMeister;439386]We needn't look much further than the Desmond Howard / Michael Westbrook busts in the 90's to remember how difficult it is to project WRs adjusting to the NFL. I've said that we should go D-line in the first round and worry about WR in rounds 2 or 3 in the upcoming draft.[/quote]

agreed, to take one of these wr's in the 1st is a luxury. Dallas, e.g., has the luxury of taking a chance on one as they have a deep roster & 2 1st round picks. As vinny said, we need quantity & quality in this draft.

DE's are also a pretty high bust risk. DTs seem less so, but GMs & media are always saying there's a lack of good ones. O linemen, LBs and db's seem to be the safest picks.

SmootSmack 04-13-2008 06:04 PM

Re: Taking WR Early is a Gamble
 
Well the article mentions it, and I've been kind of wondering about it too...why is Doucet flying under the radar so much lately? Maybe taking WR Early isn't a gamble :)

EARTHQUAKE2689 04-13-2008 07:33 PM

Re: Taking WR Early is a Gamble
 
[quote=SmootSmack;439394]Well the article mentions it, and I've been kind of wondering about it too...why is Doucet flying under the radar so much lately? Maybe taking WR Early isn't a gamble :)[/quote]


The main gripe about Doucet is that he doesnt have supreme game speed but if you watch LSU he is actually in my opinion is better than Dwayne Bowe coming out, the only thing is he is only 6 feet tall.

Nice Pun though

Dirtbag59 04-13-2008 09:40 PM

Re: Taking WR Early is a Gamble
 
Douchet isn't a small reciever per say. He has a similar build to Anquan Boldin (The messiah of big slow receivers). In other words he's very bulky and he's over 6'0, albeit 6'0 1/2. Either way Vinny claims a reciever over 6'0 fits the bill and Douchet is technically over 6'0. Another interesting tidbit on the guy is he was the nations top reciever in the nation coming out of high school.

Personally I like him, though I don't think I would take him over Jordy Nelson. Still he's an intriguing prospect with a good build, great intangibles, and solid route running making him more then capable of filling the teams desire to add a split end.

rypper11 04-13-2008 11:52 PM

Re: Taking WR Early is a Gamble
 
The list of 1st round wr busts in the last 20 years is much longer than 1st round success stories. Please no WR until at least the 3rd round! DE, CB, OL or LB before a WR. The Sweed talk scares me!

WaldSkins 04-14-2008 12:09 AM

Re: Taking WR Early is a Gamble
 
Redskins- packers game is on NFL Network right now. Moss sure stinked it up that game. It sure is sad to watch Sean Taylor running around on the field.

SmootSmack 04-14-2008 12:27 AM

Re: Taking WR Early is a Gamble
 
[QUOTE=WaldSkins;439437]Redskins- packers game is on NFL Network right now. Moss sure stinked it up that game. It sure is sad to watch Sean Taylor running around on the field.[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the heads up. Damn, this is still really difficult to watch (not the game, but ST)

freddyg12 04-14-2008 09:36 PM

Re: Taking WR Early is a Gamble
 
Riggo on the nfl network mock draft sees wr as a possibility:

[url=http://www.nfl.com/videos?videoId=09000d5d807b54b5]NFL Video Galleries[/url]

goodolddb 04-15-2008 11:13 AM

Re: Taking WR Early is a Gamble
 
Skins should not address a WR in the first round. The talent is not there this year and drafting a WR in the 1st is always hard. We wait untill round 2-3 and draft a good route runner with size and smarts. My choice would be Jordy Nelson, this kid can play! Check out some jordy nelson clips on you tube

BenBoomZ 04-15-2008 06:25 PM

Re: Taking WR Early is a Gamble
 
you're right, we shouldn't take a chance on Early Doucet! We should take Limas Sweed because John Riggins said so!

prinzeofmoval 04-15-2008 07:52 PM

Re: Taking WR Early is a Gamble
 
Taking a reciever isn't a gamble..You show me where a reciever was a bust and i show you a horrible offensive line or crappy qb. Barring a injury a good reciever is a good reciever.


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