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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.