Scouting Report: WR Dennis Northcutt

After acquiring Dennis Northcutt in a trade (which sent safety Gerald Alexander to Jacksonville), we get the scoop on the Detroit Lions new receiver.

The Detroit Lions acquired receiver Dennis Northcutt in a trade late Friday, sending strong-safety and former second-round pick Gerald Alexander to Jacksonville in return.

Alexander was expendable in Detroit's rather competitive secondary, which features several players vying for not just the starting strong safety position (rookie Louis Delmas has FS locked up), but a roster position. 

The move allows Alexander to compete in Jacksonville, while Northcutt will push veteran Ronald Curry and rookie Derrick Williams for the slot position and return duties.

Northcutt tallied 44 receptions in 14 games for the Jaguars last season.

We talked with's Charlie Berstein, who has also appeared on the NFL Network, ESPN Radio network, for his scouting report on Detroit's newest addition.

Positives: Northcutt is a solid veteran presence in the locker room, who runs very good routes on the field which allow him to get open. He has suddenness, and better hands than many give him credit for. As a punt returner, Northcutt is extremely reliable, as I don't recall him fumbling during his two-year tenure in Jacksonville.

Negatives: Although Northcutt is quick, he's not a burner by any means. He has a tendency to save his drops for some of the biggest moments, which ultimately caused the Browns not to re-sign him prior to him arriving in Jacksonville. This issue reared its head in the Jaguars playoff loss to the Patriots in January of 2008 as he dropped a touchdown pass.

Overall: Dennis Northcutt is a solid, average to above average slot receiver. He was signed by the Jaguars prior to the 2007 season to initially work the slot, but ended up assuming the role of number one receiver for the team, not because he was that great, because everyone else was that bad. For whatever reason, Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio chose to play Northcutt sparingly until late in the 2008 season, and when Dennis played, he delivered.

Northcutt should be a fairly reliable target for either Matt Stafford or Daunte Culpepper this season, and with him, as well as “Megatron” and Bryant Johnson, the Lions have the makings of a very good wide receiving corps.


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