This is Matt McGuire's NFL Draft blog, where he'll talk about the NFL Draft, anything that has to do with football and whatever else is on his mind. Send Matt an e-mail here: [email protected].
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: [email protected]
Posted Feb. 24, 2009
Crabtree Not Bust-Proof
One of the biggest criticisms I have of football analysis on television is that it's way too positive and poorly researched by all of the "experts."
The "elite" receiver in this years' draft is Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree. You already knew this, but I am going to take you into some draft research you simply are not getting on ESPN or the NFL Network.
It is obvious to me which analysts do their research and which do not - and by research I do not mean reading news or Internet clippings. I am not going to call anyone out, but will just present my point of view to set everything in perspective.
I have studied NFL Draft history as if my life depended on predicting these prospects.
Occasionally, players bust because they do not have size. Some players make a huge impact in the league despite their size. Some quarterbacks overcome a weak arm, and some never get a chance in the NFL simply because they lack the talent. Some players with questionable intangibles became cornerstones for their franchises, and others were never worth drafting in hindsight.
Wide receivers can occasionally overcome a lack of speed, and sometimes they can flat out bust.
America loves an underdog. We know this. America also falls into the ESPN hype, a la the Reggie Bush-Mario Williams saga in 2006.
Michael Crabtree is said to have had very questionable speed in separating from defensive backs. His 40 is potentially in the mid-to-high 4.5 range.
This would not be the first time the media pumped up a receiver with questionable speed. The media and most draftniks make Crabtree out to be the next Jerry Rice. According to some, he has a zero-percent chance of busting.
I am not saying I hate Crabtree. His top-8, 4.5-star grade will stick no matter what he runs at his Pro Day in Lubbock. I think he is a talented receiver, but I do think there is a possibility he could bust.
All you are being fed from the media is Crabtree is a no-bust type player. No chance that happens according to the consensus opinion.
When a receiver has questionable speed, there are certain players brought up into EVERY discussion: Jerry Rice, Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, Chad Johnson, etc. It's as if every receiver with questionable speed will overcome it.
My research says that is not the case.
If you say every receiver with questionable speed can make it in the NFL, then you have absolutely no credibility. The problem is these draft analysts on television never take the devil's advocate stance and say, "You know what, there have been hundreds to thousands of receivers that tried to make it in the NFL and simply couldn't because they lacked the speed."
You never hear about the mid-to-late round and free agent players that never made it in the league with bad speed, or even bad size.
Here is my list of players that have busted in the NFL with bad timed speed and questionable game speed when they were prospects:
Troy Edwards (1999)
Peter Warrick (2000)
Jabar Gaffney (2002)
Bryant Johnson (2003)
Reggie Williams (2004)
Michael Clayton (2004)
Rashaun Woods (2004)
Braylon Edwards (2005) - Not a total bust, but has not lived up to expectations
Mike Williams (2005)
Maurice Stovall (2005)
Dwayne Jarrett (2007)
It is not like there has ever been a player with all of the ESPN-Internet hype that did not bust in the NFL. There were not many people that questioned the draft picks of JaMarcus Russell, Alex Smith, Pac Man Jones, Cedric Benson, Reggie Bush, David Carr, Tim Couch, etc.
People feel like there is no way the prospects they love will not bust. Even I realize I will get some of my projections dead wrong. It's impossible to avoid.
However, I am not going to sit here and just buy into the Internet-Crabtree hype. I think he is a very talented player, but he is a talented player who could potentially not live up to expectations in the league.
@Black&Gold Problem is that you see Eli and Cobi as solid backups. Truth is that Eli is number 2 and Cobi is our number 3. They aren't backups, but starters. So what you're saying is that we have no true number 2, but see no need in drafting a receiver? What D line depth are you thinking? DE or NT? Have you seen what LT Walton has done? Remember he's only in his second year.
@Steelr Fan 3:16 Coates was supposed to be plan B at number 2 with the uncertainty of Bryant. You make the case that he's a one trick pony and not a 50 catch per season wide-out, so does that scream out as a option for number 2? What gives you hope about Green? I hope he does end up staying on the field, but so far in his career he hasn't be able to do that. I like James, but if he goes down you trust Grimble? He can't block, and hasn't been reliable in the pass game. He did mess his ribs up with a nice touchdown reception a few weeks ago. That still doesn't mean he can pick up and be an impact if James would not be able to go. We have 7 picks in this draft. The first I hope goes OLB. We are good at CB with Burnes and @[email protected] will be challenged hopefully by Golson. Loser of the battle would be a good slot corner. Golson lacks length so they may throw him in the slot role anyways. LT Walton has been more than solid at DE. If Heyward or Tuitt can't go a few weeks during the season then I have faith in LT to get the job done. I like Chickillo and Moates at OLB. They have started and played solid. Williams and Dirty Red at backup ILB is good depth that any team would love. Safety we have Golden and Dangerfield. Both have started any didn't miss a beat. Offensive line? Yeah, we're good there. You say we're good at tight end and WR, so with or final 6 picks we're going what exactly? A RB would be nice with Williams age. A backup that won't see the field unless God forbid Bell gets hurt is a wasted pick anywhere in the top 4 rounds. Maybe 5th would be suffice. That's 2 picks gone and 5 to go. A backup QB of the future would be nice. Four to go. A special teamed lol? Warren, Boswell, and Berry are really good.