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Prospects: The Year of the Wide Receiver, Dose #5

Pronounced Maa-ah-kwaa. Before this past week, Mohammed Massaquoi was an afterthought in most leagues; now he’s one of the most talked about WRs in the game. How quickly things change in the NFL.

A perfect storm hit Massaquoi in the last few days to get him to where he is right now. First, Brady Quinn was benched in favor of Derek Anderson, who’s a much greater threat to go downfield. Second, Massaquoi was given more snaps in place of Josh Cribbs and Mike Furrey, seeing his snap count double from previous weeks. Third, it became evident early on that the Bengals were going to roll double coverage to Edwards’ side of the field. Then all of the other Browns pass catchers dropped passes and ran bad routes early on while Massaquoi caught most everything thrown to him, leading to

Anderson developing a case of tunnel vision, something he’s done in the past, for Massaquoi as the game went on. The result? Eight catches on 13 targets for 139 yards. Finally, Edwards punched out a member of LeBron James’ posse, effectively punching his ticket out of town and Massaquoi’s ticket to a leading role at wide receiver. All caught up? Good, now, more about this kid …

Massaquoi was always thought of during his days at the

University of

Georgia as an underachiever. At 6-foot-2, 210, coupled with terrific athleticism, the potential was always there, but injuries, drops, fumbles and a general softness in his game plagued him through his first few years of school. The pieces began to come together his final year and that progress has continued into his rookie season in the NFL. The question on all dynasty owners mind now is, will it continue? I’m a skeptic. The positives about Massaquoi – he displays solid body control, positions himself well against defenders, has good pad speed, runs good routes and can make tough catches in traffic. There are lots of reasons to believe he has a future as a starter in the league, but unfortunately there’s a long list of red flags too.

‘Soft’ was a common word associated with him throughout school, physical corners and safeties have a tendency to control Massaquoi. He can be taken out of a game when he’s jammed at the line or has a couple big hits laid on him. I believe this was the primary cause to his drop and fumble problems. If defenders get in his head he makes mistakes, and once he begins to lose confidence it has a domino effect in his game. This is something Massaquoi has to fix; it hasn’t been present in the first quarter of his rookie season and wasn’t present during his final season at

Georgia so it’s possible he’s gotten over this. However, if signs of this issue surfaces again selling him would be the best choice. It’s something dynasty owners should pay special attention to going forward because this will probably be the difference between him having a long and successful career or the next Quincy Morgan.

We will all get to see how results, or lack thereof, immediately. With Edwards in the big market he’s always wanted to be in, Massaquoi is the default No. 1 for the remainder of the season. He won’t benefit from single coverage all game like he did in Week 4 again, and opposing teams will slowly begin to develop a book on him and how to stop him. Still, pick up now and ask questions later approach is the appropriate one to take with him. If he’s legit he won’t be as cheap as he is right now again.

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