It's almost time for the 2009 NFL Draft. Time for the Lions to ruin another player's career, and time for the Patriots to find the next "steal" in the draft.
To be honest, however, the only thing that is known about the NFL Draft is that no one knows anything. From mock drafts to player's agents, no one has any clue where the chips will fall for this year's crop of receivers.
With four or five teams possibly looking to upgrade their wide receivers corps via the first round, let's take a look at this year's top five receivers and see where they might call home next season.
1) Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
Crabtree is considered the priceless jewel of this year's receivers. Crabtree, however, dropped a bombshell at the NFL combine this week: He admitted he had a pre-existing stress-fracture in his foot that would need surgery.
In my opinion this will do two things to his draft stock.
1) Teams will hesitate to draft him because he withheld the information, only confessing to the injury when it was discovered during a physical. Some people are going to be encouraged by his ability to play through the injury, while other's will wonder if he's caused any permanent damage.
2) Once he has the surgery, which he has said will be after he runs the 40 at his pro day, it may keep him sidelined for up to 10 weeks. One has to wonder how interested a team will be in acquiring a talented player who may be incapable of attending training camp to get himself acclimated with the offense.
Either way Crabtree is a rare blend. At 6'1'' 215 pounds, with 4.4 speed, Crabtree has shown the ability to be an impact player. Capable of taking almost any play the distance, his speed/size combination is a hard matchup for most corners to deal with.
With the effect Larry Fitzgerald had on the Cardinals last season, Crabtree could be quite the commodity.
He will definitely go in the top 10 but I can't picture a top five team drafting him. The Chiefs or Seahawks would be the most likely destinations in the top five, though both could see improvement from other available players as well.
2) Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
In my humble opinion, Maclin is the most overrated receiver in this year's draft. (Maybe that's why I'm hearing rumors Al Davis loves him.)
After turning in a 4.46 40 yard dash at the combine, Maclin may see his stock drop some. Most scouts expected to see him run somewhere in the 4.3 range. Hopes are he will run faster at his pro day.
At 6'1'' 198 pounds, he possesses the size to be a NFL receiver, but some wonder if he has the ability to create separation against higher caliber opponents. His lack or productivity in college raises some eyebrows about his draft value as well.
You hear a lot about how his stats are distorted because of Missouri's lack of a passing game, but receivers have put up better numbers in worst offenses in the past. His decision to leave early had a lot to due with the lack of depth at WR in this year's draft, knowing that in a deeper draft he wouldn't be selected nearly as high.
3) Darrius Heyward-Bay, Maryland
Heyward-Bay may be the most interesting receiver in this draft. With his 4.3 (official) 40 yard dash yesterday, Heyward-Bay established himself as the fastest player, that ran at the combine, in this draft.
At 6'2'', 210 pounds Heyward-Bay has all the tools to become an amazing receiver. Though his production slipped in 2008, that happens when you're double teamed EVERY PLAY, he's still shown he has the ability to be a consistent threat on offense.
Even though he isn't as polished as Crabtree or Nicks, Darrius possesses a size/speed combo only Crabtree could even come close to matching. With a little work, he could turn out to be the diamond in the rough that any NFL team would be glad to have for the next decade.
Also to note, with the ability to come down with jump ball being emphasized more by personnel men this offseason (Wonder why? Maybe you should ask Larry Fitzgerald) the fact that Heyward-Bay pitched in a 38.5'' vertical at the combine will elevate his draft status considerably.
4) Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina
Another interesting player is Hakeem Nicks. Though some feel he benefited from the Tarheels' ability to spread out defenses, he still has the tools to be considered a first round selection.
At 6'2'', 210 pounds, with rare balance and agility, Nicks has the consistent ability to turn short and intermediate catches into long gains. Hakeem has seemed to improve with each year of experience, and as a receiver Nicks might just be scratching the surface of his potential.
Though it may take a year or two of hard coaching to get the best out of him, with a little added strength Nicks could be a dominant receiver the likes of Andre Johnson. With hands like glue, and the awareness to protect himself from the big hit, Nicks would make a great target for any QB.
5) Brian Robiskie, Ohio State
It was a hard decision between Harvin and Robiskie.
Robiskie is the type of player teams will fall in love with. The son of NFL wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie (Browns, Falcons), Brian is easily the best possession-type receiver in this draft.
At 6'3'', 198 pounds, Robiskie is quickly finding his way up draft boards this offseason. Easily the most coached receiver of this draft, Brian has been perfecting his craft for years.
After sitting behing Anthony Gonzalez (Colts) and Ted Ginn, Jr. (Dolphins), Robiskie took advantage of the time he had to make a mark on The Ohio State in 2007.
2007-55 recs, 935 yards, 17.0 avg, 11 TDs
His numbers trailed off in 2008 which made him lose some steam heading into the combine. With Terelle Pryor's promotion to full-time starter, the Buckeyes were even more focused on the run, creating limited opportunities for Robiskie.
I believe of all the receivers he may have the best shot at the longest, most successful career.
My guess on where they'll be drafted:
Maclin—seventh—Raiders or 26th—Ravens (Shame to see that big a gap in where he could go, lol, speaks a lot about the Raiders' drafting techniques.)
Would love any input or opinions the fans may have. Please leave a comment.