Undrafted rookie wide receiver Johnathan Haggerty continues to turn heads, including the most important one of all, Coach Eric Mangini.
Haggerty, whom Cleveland's The Plain Dealer calls this year's "it" undrafted rookie, caught three touchdowns in seven red zone drills and grabbed a few passes from Seneca Wallace in the two minute drill yesterday.
According to Mangini, "He's another guy that has an outstanding work ethic, is bright, very bright, and he gets it. He gets what a great opportunity this is and everyday day he's going to come out and make a case for himself. There may be some days where he takes some steps back like the rest of the group, but we brought in a lot of rookies. We brought in a lot of guys. We have a lot of new people and you've got to pop off the screen. He popped and he popped and he popped and eventually you learn his name and you learn different things about him and watch him a little more closely."
Haggerty is 6'1", 195, from SW Oklahoma State, and has been running with the second team offense. He wears jersey number 86 and has been smoothly catching a lot of passes while dropping very few.
Mangini seems genuinely excited about this rookie, who if you read my 53 man roster I predicted makes the team. "He's gotten some more looks because of the good things that he's done and I'm excited about what he's done." said Mangini. "Now it's a function of what he can keep doing."
Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer also writes that the coaches have been extremely impressed with Haggerty.
Haggerty was a four-year starter and two-time All-Lone Star Conference selection. The Dallas Lincoln product caught 54 passes with a 13.9-yard average and six touchdowns in 2009.
That didn't get the NFL's attention – he wasn't invited to the annual scouting combine – but his workout on campus did. He ran a 4.44 40-yard dash in front of 18 scouts on his pro day.
Now we get down to the numbers game. Where does he fit, on the active roster, or the practice squad?
If this kid looks as good in pads as he does in shorts, the Browns are going to have a difficult decision to make. Placing him on the practice squad leaves him vulnerable to every other NFL team who may find a wideout with 4.44 speed and good hands too irresistible to pass up.
The first five Browns receivers have a lock on their spots. They are Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Cribbs, Brian Robiskie, Chansi Stuckey, and Carlton Mitchell.
The question is, do they keep a sixth receiver or take advantage of Evan Moore's ability to slide over from tight end and keep an extra linebacker?
Haggerty's only competition at wideout appears to be Jake Allen and he has been conspicuous only by the deafening silence surrounding his name this off-season.
Every year NFL teams spend millions of dollars scouting college players in preparation for the draft and somehow talented players who turn into legitimate difference makers like Josua Cribbs, slide right through the clutches of these very prepared executives.
I am not saying Haggerty is the next Cribbs by any standard, but that legitimate NFL talent can be found in the undrafted free agent rookies and so far at least, Haggerty appears to be one of those players.
Give credit to the Browns GM Tom Heckert and the scouting department for finding Haggerty and convincing him that Cleveland offered him the best opportunity to launch his NFL career.
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