One thing that was evident at this year’s combine is that the receiver class is extremely FAST! Four different guys clocked in at 4.38 or better in the 40-yard dash.
The biggest news out of the combine was about
Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech, sophomore: first he measured in almost two inches shorter than his listed height of 6’3” and then medical examinations revealed a stress fracture in his left foot that will require surgery. Despite the revelations, he is still expected to be the top receiver in this class and the first one off the board in the draft.
, junior, 6’2”, 210 lbs.: He helped his draft stock more than anybody else. He placed inside the Top 10 at every drill. He had the best time of the day with a blazing 4.3 flat in the 40, fifth at the vertical jump with 38.5”, seventh in the 20-yard shuttle with a 4.18 time, ninth in the three-cone drill with a 6.8 time, fifth at the broad jump with 10’6” and ninth in the bench press with 16. Going into the combine he was considered a late first- or early-second round pick. His performance will likely propel him into the middle of the first round.
There are a number of wideout prospects that are underclassmen. Besides
Heyward-Bey, there are at least four more wideouts that will be projected in the Top 15-20. They are
Jeremy Maclin, Missouri, sophomore;
Kenny Britt, Rutgers, junior;
Percy Harvin, Florida, junior;
Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina, junior; and possibly Austin Collie, Brigham Young, junior.
Over the last 10 years there have been 20 underclassmen drafted in the first round. Of those 20, only three have placed in the Top 30 fantasy-wise using a basic scoring format of one point per 10 yards and six points per touchdown. This tells me that the learning curve for underclassmen may be a little longer to overcome in their rookie year in order to demand a worthy fantasy spot on a roster. Up to five of these underclassmen could go in the first round this year according to a variety of mock drafts. Besides the above mentioned factor there are reasons to be skeptical regarding some of these underclassmen. I’m not questioning
Crabtree’s talent, but fractured foot aside, he and
Maclin both played in a wide-open unsophisticated pass-happy offense and did not run a lot of NFL routes.
Harvin did not run a lot of NFL routes but he also hails from the 757
Michael Vick and
DeAngelo Hall and he was suspended in college and high school, showing questionable character.
Heyward-Bey is not a polished route-runner and was not consistent catching the ball with too many easy drops. After previewing the underclassmen for fantasy rosters, keep an eye on:
In the last 10 years, six senior wideouts have placed in the Top 30 fantasy-wise using the same basic scoring approach. This tells me that the learning curve for seniors may be shorter to overcome in their rookie year and is more likely to demand a worthy fantasy roster spot. After previewing the seniors for fantasy rosters keep an eye on: