Dynamic is a word that has been associated with Missouri wide receiver/return specialist Jeremy Maclin since he first set foot on the field.
Maclin had an outstanding, albeit brief, college career: two 1,000-yard receiving seasons, 33 touchdowns scored four different ways (rushing, receiving, kick return and punt return).
Maclin was named a first team All-American both years he started at Missouri (as the all-purpose player) and holds 18 team records.
Maclin was a very productive receiver in college, and his obvious skill in the return game is a bonus.
His speed will be an advantage, as he has an extra gear that allowed him to blow past defenders if given a step or two on them.
His versatility will be a bonus as well, as he carried the ball on end-arounds, sweeps and direct snaps a total of 91 times in his career. Any team that has a “Wildcat” or similar package in their playbooks could take advantage of his skill set in this area.
On the flip side, while it might be hard to question Maclin’s toughness, he does have a bit of a problem with the injury bug.
He is coming out this season as a red-shirt sophomore because his true freshman year was lost to a knee injury during the summer of 2006.
He came back from that knee injury as fast as or even faster than before he went down, but it is a flag on his medical history. Also, he has played with a variety of other nagging injuries (hand, ankle) that may cause some teams to doubt his durability and whether he can handle a pounding at the next level.
Coupled with the slightly checkered injury history is his size.
Maclin is listed in the Missouri media guide at 6' tall and 200 pounds. While his weight is not a concern as long as he maintains his speed, the height may raise questions with some teams concerning his ability to be a true number one receiver.
In Missouri’s offense, Maclin often lined up in the slot, so it will be interesting to see if he can handle the transition to a split end or flanker position full time.
There are three teams that Jeremy Maclin would be a good fit for. These three teams are all playoff teams from 2008 that could use a little help in the kicking game.
Team No. 1 is the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens ranked 19th in punt return average (8.6 yards per punt) and 31st in kickoff return average (20.1 yards per kick).
Also, Derrick Mason was Baltimore’s leading receiver last year and he just turned 35 last month, so Maclin could be in line to serve as a third receiver and possibly take over that position in a year or two.
Also, it wouldn’t necessarily hurt quarterback Joe Flacco to have an additional target in the passing game.
Team No. 2 is the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts finished tied for 31st in punt return average (6.0 ypp) and 28th in kickoff return average (20.8 ypk).
With the Colts, Maclin would probably be the fourth receiver behind Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Anthony Gonzalez and Marvin Harrison, who will turn 37 before the start of this season.
Peyton Manning is one of the best quarterbacks in the game today, and any kind of jolt that Maclin could give to the Colts special teams could help lead Indy back to the Super Bowl.
The third team that would be a good fit for Jeremy Maclin would be the world champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
Yes, I know that Hines Ward is not as old as Harrison or Mason.
Ward could serve as a mentor to the younger Maclin while still also being a solid contributor to the team.
Yes, the Steelers did win the Super Bowl with the 29th-ranked kickoff return game (20.3 ypk) and the 31st-ranked punt return game (6.0 ypp, tied with Indianapolis for worst in the NFL), but could a repeat be in the works with just a few more yards of field position? I think so.
These would be three ideal situations for Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin.