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NFL Draft Preview 2009 – 2nd Edition

In this edition of draft preview I will be taking an in depth look at four prospects — WR Michael Crabtree, RB LeSean McCoy, and QB Josh Freeman — will give you my latest Top 10 overall (IDP included), and break down the road ahead for Matt Cassel, and what his best option is.

WR Michael Crabtree: The Texas Tech product is without a doubt the best wide receiver in this draft class, and, according to

ESPN.com’s Todd McShay, he’s the highest-graded receiver since Calvin Johnson a few years back. Crabtree has steady hands, a solid build and great instincts, which according to McShay could be attributed to the fact that he was a quarterback coming out of high school. He does not possess the great vertical speed Johnson has, but makes up for it by doing everything else next to flawlessly.

News:

According to the

Dallas Morning News, Crabtree will not run the 40-yard dash at the combine, as he continues to try and heal an ankle sprain he suffered in the Cotton Bowl.

Stats Breakdown

In two seasons at Texas Tech, Crabtree caught 231 balls for 3,127 yards, and scored 41 touchdowns. His best game of his collegiate career had to be last season against

Texas, when he caught 10 passes for 127 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown on a great catch and run along the sidelines.

Fantasy Value

Crabtree’s fantasy value will heavily depend on which offense he lands in. With the Oakland Raiders sitting at number seven and in desperate need of a playmaking wide receiver, don’t be surprised if a trade (if necessary) lands him in the Bay area by the time it’s all said and done. Otherwise, there’s always the Lions!

RB LeSean McCoy:

Last April, five running backs came off the board in the first rounds; three in the latter half. Unfortunately, this is the bad news for McCoy, especially considering that he seems to be perceived as third best, behind the likes of Chris Wells and Knowshon Moreno, who were just mere media darlings in their college days. However, I’m here to tell you that McCoy could possibly be the best running back in this class, and no matter which team he lands with he should be ready to prove it. Think escapability!

Stats Breakdown

McCoy rushed for 2,816 yards and scored 35 touchdowns in two years at

Pittsburgh. His most memorable game had to be against

West Virginia late last season, as he scored the game-winning touchdown with 52 seconds left, rushed for 183 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry.

Fantasy Value

The Pittsburgh running back’s draft value should continue to rise, as he could be the dark horse of this year’s class, much like Chris Johnson was last season. If he is ignored come draft day, the Cardinals could find themselves with great value at the end of round one, for he would be a perfect for an offense that needs a boost in the running game with both Edgerrin James and J.J. Arrington bound to depart this offseason.

QB Josh Freeman: Potential. It’s the only word that fits the

Kansas

State prospect, and is the prime reason why he is so far behind both Mark Sanchez and Matthew Stafford when it comes to draft value. Freeman has the physical tools and skills to be a top franchise NFL quarterback, but some believe that he lacks the mental capacity to take his game to the next level. So, in other words, he’s a project who may need some time learning how to be a good decision-making NFL quarterback.

Stats Breakdown

Freeman led the Wildcats to a 14-19 lifetime record as a starter in three years, which included a 37-10 bowl game loss to

Rutgers in 2006. He finished the 2008 season with 2,945 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, and eight interceptions to go along with 14 rushing touchdowns (fourth-most in team history). For his career he recorded a school record 8,427 total yards, with 8,078 of those yards coming via pass.

Fantasy Value

Freeman may turn out to be a nice sleeper pick for dynasty owners if he’s selected by the perfect suitor. He may not see the field much in 2009, but down the road he could turn some heads. According to

ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper, he might be the pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 19 overall. “Maybe a Josh Freeman out of

Kansas

State is a quarterback they think seriously about at that point,” Kiper said talking about potential first round players for the Bucs.

My Top Five Fantasy Prospects (Updated Monthly)

WR Michael Crabtree – See above.

RB LeSean McCoy – See above.

LB Rey Maualaga – Will turn in to a tackling machine.

OLB Aaron Curry – He may have the best physical skills, but may land on a bad defense.

QB Matthew Stafford –

Stafford fantasy value is in limbo?

On the outside looking in …

OLB Everette Brown – Has LaMarr Woodley-like potential in a 3-4 defense.

QB Mark Sanchez – May find himself right at home in the NFL.

S William Moore – One of the few safeties that could start immediately.

RB Knowshon Moreno – Is a pure playmaker.

RB Chris “Beanie” Wells – Move over Cedric, Wells is staying in

Ohio?

Stepping Out of the Shadow with a Roar!

Matt Cassel did everything he could possibly do for the Brady-less Patriots last season, and the team wants to reward him for it. But is it the right move for both himself and the team?

The Detroit Lions are a team that nobody wants to be a part of these days. They’re a team in desperate help of a new identity, and with Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez headlining this year’s quarterback class with high marks, there shouldn’t be any doubt who will be wearing that No.1 Silver and Light Blue jersey come April. So where does

Cassel fit in to all this?

According to

Pro Football Weekly, the Patriots are expected to actively shop the backup quarterback around, especially if veteran Kurt Warner stays in

Arizona; which after watching

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Friday night seems all the more likely, so Larry Fitzgerald hopes. This could mean that if a team in desperate need of a quarterback is willing to pay the price to acquire one, the lifetime backup (literally) may be packing his bags. Is this the right move for Mr. Cassel?

From a financial standpoint

Cassel should stay put. He’s scheduled to make $14.65 million in 2009 as a

second fiddle, a clipboard holder and a headset wearer. However, if he is to further his NFL career the best move is to ask to be moved out of

New England, bottom line.

Now, I know what you’re thinking:

Detroit? Why would anyone want to move from a Super Bowl-contending franchise to possibly the worst franchise in league history? And while the first word that will come to mind to many fans and fantasy owners everywhere will be

greed, the word that sticks out like a sore thumb in the back of my mind is

challenge!

Why not go to

Detroit? The worst has already happened, and now, more than ever, would be the right time to find a new home in such a city, especially with new coach Jim Schwartz arriving, who’s going to bring a new attitude, and hopefully some W’s. What a perfect match!

Ok, in all seriousness, though, this is

Cassel’s shot to make a name for himself. Imagine if the Lions make the playoffs with the USC benchwarmer behind center in his first year; he’ll be hailed king of

Detroit, even above the Red Wings.

It’s time for Cassel to step out of Mr. Brady’s shadow, and show the NFL world what he’s truly made of, even it is with the worst team in the far north.

If you have any questions or comments please contact me at e.huber12@yahoo.com. Eric Huber is also the blog writer for the FSWA. Log on to

FSWA.org for the latest words of encouragement.

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