One of the hardest transitions to make from the college level then into the NFL is easily at wide receiver.
In college, receiver go from barely any physical contact from defensive backs to getting thrown around and abused by the professional corners in the NFL.
A rookie receiver almost needs to learn his position all over again in regards to running precise routes, making moves mid-route, when to turn on the speed, how to use their hands, and the ability to break open out of tight coverage.
It is really a very hard process to learn especially since in college most defenders play back from the receiver because they do not want to be "that guy" who gave up a big-time play.
The single easiest way for the rookie receiver to get comfortable at the pro level is to lean on and learn from a veteran receiver who can show them the ropes.
There are many in the football "peanut gallery" that would say rookie receivers do not need and veteran help, but look at a few of this year's crop of rookie receivers that have found some success, and they all have a veteran(s) helping them along including: the Titans Kenny Britt (who has Justin Gage and Nate Washington), the Giants Hakeem Nicks (who has Steve Smith plus Eli Manning at QB helps too) and the Steelers Mike Wallace (who has Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes) to name a few.
All have some form of veteran leadership at their position.
The Browns currently have only one real veteran receiver, who really has only had one solid year and one decent year of NFL success at the position in 2006-07, on their roster and that is Mike Furrey.
A problem with Furrey helping the younger players like Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie is that Furrey is also playing iron-man football in certain defensive situational formations and that takes away from his time to spend with the younger players.
So Massaquoi and Robiskie have to learn the ropes of the pro game the hardest way possible...first hand without much veteran guidance.
This is where a coach should be able to lend a helping hand, but that doesn't seem to be helping so the only thing to do is wait, be patient, and hope these guys can catch on to the pro game on their own.
Mangini did draft for intelligence in this past April's NFL Draft, so hopefully the rookies are putting that to use in the studying habits before each game.
Still, the Browns are playing their rookie wide receivers more and more and games go on, and whether or not they are the problem with the passing game is really irrelevant anymore because someone needs to grab a hold of their new pro job and bring it harder on Sundays.
Both Massaquoi and Robiskie look like they may be the future starting receivers for the Browns in 2010 and beyond. Remember that without a veteran helping them along, these rookie season woes and drops, and whatever else are all part of the learning process.
(Article also posted on Dawg Scooper )