DHB Smarter, Safer Pick?

jeremy barilCorrespondent IJuly 26, 2009

CHESTNUT HILL, MA - NOVEMBER 18: DeJuan Tribble #27 of the Boston College Eagles breaks up a pass intended for Darrius Heyward-Bey #8 of the Maryland Terrapins on November 18, 2006 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

As of late we've heard Michael Crabtree is expecting top 5 money. His diva is coming out and his agent Eugene Parker is going to make sure he gets paid.

Then there's the fact his head coach Mike Singletary made him cry. Did you hear DHB crying when he wasn't allowed to run full routes because of his hamstring? No, he studies the playbook and stays with the coach during the offseason. 

There are several reports with scouts and other important members of NFL franchises who chose to stay away from him because they said he was anywhere from aloof, cocky, arrogant, to straight weird because of his fashion freakiness. He could be a stud receiver, but he could also become the next JJ Stokes or Freddie Mitchell.

Jeremy Maclin was considered a duplicate wide receiver for the Raiders, he would duplicate Johnnie Lee Higgins who is going into his 3rd year. I’ve read recent reports which state Maclin is very, very raw at this point.   

Darrius Heyward-Bey or DHB as he prefers to be called is said to have been a big “reach” by Al Davis because of his speed and so-so numbers at Maryland. They talk about Randy Moss tearing teams up and why couldn’t DHB do it? Well Randy Moss had Chad Pennington a future NFL QB throwing him the ball. DHB would’ve loved to have Pennington or a similar future NFL QB as his QB. He would’ve really been able to thrive with someone capable of throwing him the ball.

They say DHB can't run a route. All he does is a run straight line with that 4.3 track speed, but if you've ever watched him you would see he has football speed too. 

Ron Jaworksi “Jaws” really liked how Heyward-Bey fit in Oakland’s offense. He stated he had Crabtree rated just a hair above him. He stated people question his hands but what they fail to realize is the throws he has to deal with from QB’s who struggled to get him the ball. None of his QB’s will be signing up for Canadian football let alone Arena or this new league. He said the kid has good hands and makes some amazing grabs. If you’ve watched him on any highlights you can tell he’s running routes and using football speed to break for big gains, not the track speed Cris Carter refers to ala run straight until you’re tackled.

Darrius Heyward-Bey has been considered to automatically be a bust because of Cris Carter, Tom Jackson, Mel Kiper, and other ESPN analaysts who on the day of the NFL draft they automatically deemed this kid a receiver that can’t do anything other than run a straight line.

He was condemned on national TV within minutes of speaking to Suzy Kolber while people laughed at him in the background and Suzy couldn’t keep a straight face.

People are now stating it’s certain he’s going to be a bust because of his hamstring issues. But these same people aren’t reading into the fact Heyward-Bey is studying one-on-one with Coach Sanjay Lal and learning the playbook and his routes. Even though he’s only jogging he’s still learning. He’s been doing this during the break before training camp on his own time. Unfortunately because of his hamstring it was better for him to stay away from Russell’s camp and rest.

He’s motivated to show everyone he’s got the skills. Imagine getting lambasted like that on national TV by Trent Dilfer, Cris Carter, Tom Jackson, and the rest of the staff? If any of those announcers had actually watched him play they would’ve said something. They went off scouting reports which is typical for some of the drafted players.

His rookie year while he’s adapting to the game he’s going to provide the biggest piece of the offense that has been lacking for years, explosiveness on the offense at the WR position. Yes Higgins has it, but DHB has a faster 10 yards and gets faster as he’s running which is nuts. Because of his size and speed teams will have to double team and possibly add an extra nickel back or safety on him due to being afraid to get beat deep.

DHB isn’t going to be Alvis Whitted, James Jett, or other receivers brought in to be the next Cliff Branch. He’s got his own special skills and because of his speed he’s going to force coverage. That’s going to be significant for tight end Zach Miller because he’s going to get some open looks because of running back Darren McFadden and receivers Schilens and Higgins who both provide 4.4 or better speed and team do not want any of the speedsters to catch the ball in space because these guys can score six in a hurry.

But because of his speed and the threat that he can catch the ball he’s automatically going to give opposing defensive coordinators fits.

That’s what people fail to realize. It’s not that he’s going to be the number one receiver, it’s that he’s going to influence the offense so much that the he’ll have to be accounted for thus opening up the offense while he grows.

I’m not saying he’s going to be Randy Moss his rookie season, but if he gets 50 rec, 600 yards, and 5 TD’s I would be content provided Chaz Schilens or Javon Walker have taken over the primary role and end up with 80 receptions or more.

However if he becomes the wide receiver Al Davis and Tom Cable thinks he’ll become then this offense could seriously take off. If you watch some of his highlights like this one you’ll understand why I believe he’s going to be a stud. It starts with “Jaws” talking about him and then you’ll see plenty of sweet catches. People say he can’t catch the ball are full of it. Watch this for the uneducated who haven’t really watched him:


I realize its highlights, but at the same time I realize the things he was able to do against quality competition. To see some of his grabs it is nice knowing he’s going to be an Oakland Raider. I know he’s been doing everything necessary to become an NFL wide receiver and there hasn’t been any talk of DHB holding out unlike the diva they could’ve taken across the bay. Cable knew he was getting a worker in DHB from a pro-style offense and not a diva from a spread offense. DHB will become the better wide receiver over time and Al will be proven right again. DHB has a chip on his shoulder and he's going to prove everyone wrong.