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Posted Feb. 17, 2009

Crabtree Not Elite

The cliche thing to do on big boards is put Michael Crabtree as the top dawg in the 2009 NFL Draft.

This is something I just could not disagree more with, and when I see the same cliché opinions everywhere, I have no problem calling it out when I do not see eye-to-eye.

Crabtree is a very good receiver. I am not saying he is not worthy of a top-10 pick; just that he has some weaknesses in his game that do not put him near Calvin Johnson's level coming out of Georgia Tech.

In fact, I gave Crabtree a 4.5-star, top-eight grade.

Now you are saying, "Stop beating around the bush, why is Crabtree not elite?"

I feel like the biggest issue surrounding Crabtree is he never ran pro routes at Texas Tech. Most of what he did was within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage and a lot of his production was generated after the catch. He mainly ran screens and crossing routes at Texas Tech; rarely deep comebacks, speed outs, or deep posts. Route running, in my opinion, is so important for the wide receiver position, and therefore I do not think he is elite.

He has the capability to do it in the NFL, but he never had the opportunity to do it at Texas Tech. With those doubts, I have to drop Crabtree slightly on my big board.

Another issue with Crabtree is he struggles to separate from press man and off man coverage. He generates yards after the catch, but he does seem to lack explosion off the line of scrimmage and coming out of his breaks. This is legitimized when it was reported that Crabtree does not plan to run the 40 yard dash at the Combine.

Granted, Larry Fitzgerald and Jerry Rice have become elite NFL receivers despite 4.6 speed, but there are so many receivers that have busted who did lack this important skill. I do not think this is nearly as important as his route running, but it is a weakness nonetheless. Fitz might have had similar athleticism coming out of Pittsburgh, but he also ran elite routes. Crabtree has not.

Lastly, a somewhat famous draft analyst in Mobile told me he has spoken with Crabtree, and Crabtree does not come across as the sharpest tool in the shed. If intelligence is a concern, it will be seen in interviews at the Combine.

When a receiver does not run elite routes and has speed concerns, then it is a joke to me when people talk about him as the top player in the 2009 NFL Draft. He is very good, but let's stop it with the Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson comparisons.



Matt McGuire's Recent NFL Draft Blog Entries:

Analyzing Andrew Luck's Decision - 1/7
Luck vs. Locker - 9/15
Top 10 Quarterback Busts - 7/7
NBA Draft vs. NFL Draft - 6/27
Six Sophomores Who Need to Step Up - 6/2
Kentucky 2010 NBA Draft Prospect Blog - 6/1
Brett Favre Retirement Conditions - 5/30
2010 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year - 5/24
2010 NFL Power Rankings Tier - 5/21
2010 NFL Power Rankings - 5/18
NFL Mailbag: C.J. Spiller and Buffalo Bills Reaction - 5/14
LeBron James Game 6 Reaction - 5/14
The Buffalo Bills - 5/13
LeBron James: Celtic Pride - 5/13
The JaMarcus Russell Lesson - 5/11
Most Productive 2010 NFL Rookies - 5/6
Double Down - 4/30
2010 NFL Draft Observations and Telecast Blog - 4/26
2010 NFL Draft Grades: Day 3 - 4/25
2010 NFL Draft Grades: Rounds 1-3 - 4/24
2010 NFL Draft Grades: First Round - 4/23
2010 NFL Draft Trade Analysis - 4/23
Random Round 1 Thoughts and Analysis - 4/23
2010 NFL Draft Class Predictions - 4/22
2010 NFL Draft Trades - 4/21
Response to Mike Mayock's Redskins-Trent Williams Comment - 4/8
Teams Misevaluating Their Own Quarterbacks - 4/6
Where Will Jimmy Clausen Go? - 4/5
2010 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Picks - 3/25
Gerald McCoy's Draft Range - 3/12
NFL Draft Picks Are Business Investments (Anthony Davis) - 3/11
Offense Matters - 3/9
Mel Kiper vs. Todd McShay Debate Revisited - 3/8
Taylor Mays - 3/3
"He's a Winner" ... Not Really - 3/2
Quarterback Height (Jimmy Clausen) - 2/25
The Top Five Reasons the Redskins Won't Pass on Jimmy Clausen - 2/22
2010 NFL Draft: All-Overhyped and Underrated Teams - 2/18
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Prospect Case Study: Tim Tebow - 2/11
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Tim Tebow at the Senior Bowl - 1/14
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2010 NFL Draft Prospect Updates - 12/21
The Michael Oher Lesson - 12/20
Cameron Heyward's Ceiling - 12/17
Jake Locker to Return for Senior Season - 12/15
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"Suh" is Elite - 12/7
Carlos Dunlap Update - 11/11
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2010 NFL Draft Mailbag - 10/28
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Mays-Clausen and Gaines Adams - 10/17
Mr. Overrated - 10/14
2010 NFL Draft Cursed? - 10/8
Conservative Carroll - 9/22
The Crabtree Lesson - 9/21
Scouting Notes: Weeks 2-3 - 9/20
Terrelle Pryor - NFL QB? - 9/15
Jay Cutler Trade Evaluation - 9/14
THE Choke State University - 9/13
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2009 College Football Predictions - 9/3
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Why Vick Hasn't Signed - 8/12
The Vince Young Lesson - 8/10
Vegas NFL Power Rankings - 8/9
Dorsey Fat - Chiefs Stupid - 8/7
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Predicting Future Needs Part II - 8/4
NFL Draft Moved - 7/24
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