Ten Reasons Darrius Heyward-Bey May Be Better than Michael Crabtree
A quick breakdown of infinite possibilities, a preview of two of the most talked about characters in the 2009 NFL Draft: This article looks at the intangibles, the unpredictables, and the talent surrounding the two top wide receiver choices of the draft.
Despite popular belief, I think Darrius Heyward-Bey can outproduce his counterpart Michael Crabtree, even though he's in Oakland.
When you break down the last six years of win/loss on the two teams, you see a difference of five games, a slight tilt towards the 49ers. Both teams, however, finished their 2008 campaigns showing signs of improvement in a major way.
Both of these men could end up being the face of not only their teams, but also of the NFL for many years to come. Both have tremendous upside, both could be All-Pros at their position, and both could repeatedly be Pro Bowlers.
DHB brings his brand of block-first, catch balls later with help from play-action passes, and blazing speed that will require teams to keep a safety deep.
This will allow the Raiders to run the ball with their three-headed monster backfield of Justin Fargas, Darren McFadden, and Michael Bush.
With a new lead blocker for a fullback, 17-year All-Pro Lorenzo Neal, opening lanes, you could very well be looking at the NFL's top rushing team. We know JaMarcus Russell hopes that is the case, as it would help his progression into a premier league quarterback.
On the flip side, Michael Crabtree's "I'll catch anything that comes near me" mentality could lead to some huge plays for a relatively weak 49ers offense, which relies heavily on the feet of Frank Gore.
Crabtree's speed is a question mark, as he didn't run at the combine or his pro day. Many speculate it to be in the 4.5 range.
While there is no doubt about his hands, there is a reason to speculate whether or not he can get open field to work with to make those catches outside the realm of a spread offense.
10. Drafted Higher?
DHB was drafted seventh, while Crabtree was 10th. Regardless of the reasoning for this, eight teams other than the Raiders passed on Crabtree, including Jacksonville, who was in desperate need of WRs.
9. Can Crabtree Convert?
DHB played in a pro-style, run-first offense. Crabtree played in the Spread, which has been consistently shown to be a bad system for WRs who are trying to play at the next level.
8. Calling All
DHB is not selfish; he is a team player who doesn't seem to carry the baggage of the "me-first" attitude like some so-called divas. He was not hoping that any team wouldn't draft him on his big day.
7. He Blocks Too
DHB is used to blocking on running plays. Maryland is a run-based offense, and DHB has had a lot of experience blocking for HBs, which is the reasoning for his low college numbers and the reason why the Raiders like him so much, because they have three exceptional HBs he can block for.
Something that doesn't happen in a lot in spread formations is running the football. Crabtree is not a polished run blocker.
6. Surrounded By Talent
DHB has a lot of other playmakers around him. He will not be the only man who can catch the ball and score on his team, with the likes of McFadden, Fargas, Bush, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Chaz Schilens, and Zach Miller on the field.
5. More Opportunities
DHB will have better opportunities to get open with the aforementioned players on the field with him at the same time. All these guys are young and should only improve with time; if so, this will be a very dangerous offense for a long time.
Crabtree has Frank Gore, when he isn't hurt, and Vernon Davis, who so far has not lived up to the hype.
4. Who Is SF's QB Again?
In JaMarcus Russell, DHB has a QB who has amazing potential. The guy can throw 65 yards off one knee. I don't think the 49ers' QBs could do that if you added their yardage together.
Jeff Garcia, plus a new QB coach in Paul Hackett, who helped groom Chad Pennington (NYJ), Rich Gannon (KC), and Trent Green (KC), and has amassed a 90-54 record as an O.C., should also help develop a young star in the emerging Russell.
3. He's Got Wheels
DHB is amazingly fast. He ran a 4.3 at the combine on a slow track. He has reportedly clocked a 4.25 before. There's an old adage that Al Davis lives by—speed kills, especially when you're 6'2" and 210 lbs.
2. Who Will Work Harder? Not for Subway!
DHB has a chip on his shoulder from everyone saying that he was drafted too high and that he has stone hands. He is going into this with determination and putting in the hard work to prove all the critics wrong.
Crabtree already thinks he is the icing on the cake; therefore, he may not work as hard to be better.
1. No. 21
DHB is facing the best corner in the league in practice everyday. Nnamdi Asomugha will push this kid to the breaking point on every single snap in practice. This is the type of guy who makes every WR work harder to be better on gameday.