Numbers: 5115/185, 4.47 forty, 35 vertical, 10'4 long
2006 stats: 14-154-1 receiving, 2-28-0 rushing, 5-110-0 kick returns, 2-(-3)-0 punt returns, 3 tackles, 1 assist
The Player: Not too many wide receivers with 14 catches as a senior get a chance at the NFL. But not many wide receivers have DePriest's natural ability.
If you watch him play, you'll see a solidly built young man with explosion off the snap, good speed (which he can access right away) and solid route-running. Best of all, he has that rare quality — natural elusiveness — that allows him to get open and make extra yards with the ball after the catch. He even blocks well — much better than you'd expect from a man his size.
As great as that sounds, there are some drawbacks. DePriest is not blessed with natural pass-catching hands. He's a bit of a double-catcher and often exposes the ball to defenders. And, although he has the ability to get open and run sharp routes, he doesn't always. DePriest has never shown he has the conccentration and determination to do so. For every beautiful route he runs, there are two or three he rounds off, forgets to adjust or totally gets wrong.
While DePriest looks to have the essentials to be a good return man, the fact that the Horned Frogs's coaches didn't trust him to handle the job speaks volumes.
Reminds me of: Kevin Kasper, remember him? The sixth-round pick by the Broncos in 2001 could be brilliant on one play and exasperating for the next four. After stints in Denver, Seattle, Arizona, Detroit, Minnesota and New England (with a total of 24-287-3 receiving, 7-34-0 rushing and 77-1,869-0 on kick returns), he's since found a home in Arena football.
How he fits: Expect to see DePriest enter camp at or near the bottom of the depth chart at wideout. He may be given a chance on returns, but given his history at TCU, it's unlikely. He'll have to show some flash in training camp even to get playing time in exhibition games.
Clearly, DePriest is a hit-or-miss prospect. He has all the tools to be an NFL-quality wide receiver, but never put them together in college. The Colts hope that with quality coaches and teammates as mentors and the ever-present lure of NFL money, DePriest will see the light and turn it on full for every play.
Look at it this way, the DePriest signing is very much like buying a lottery ticket. For a small investment, the Colts have something that could pay off big, but is more likely to be an entertaining waste of time and money.