There is no doubt about it. Jeremy Maclin is definitely on the NFL's most-wanted list. Scout.com has learned that Maclin has already visited with the Cincinnati Bengals, and he is scheduled for official visits with the Detroit Lions, the New York Jets, the St. Louis Rams and the Cleveland Browns so far. v The multi-talented wide receiver out of Missouri is the third player in NCAA history to average over 200 all-purpose yards per game during a career, posting an incredible 5,609 all-purpose yards in just 28 games. He averaged 82.6 yards per game receiving, 73.1 yards per game gained on kickoff returns, 20.6 yards on punt returns and 23.8 yards rushing. As a kickoff returner, he fell just two yards short of setting a single-season record in 2007 with 1,346 yards.
"It's definitely a special category to be in," Maclin told Scout.com during an exclusive interview. "It's an honor, and I'm thankful that Mizzou put the ball in my hands."
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
Over the span of his two seasons at Missouri, Maclin caught 182 passes for 2,315 yards and scored 22 touchdowns. Thirteen of those touchdowns were scored during his sophomore year, setting a school record. From the line of scrimmage Maclin also tacked-on 668 rushing yards, scoring six more touchdowns on the ground. And while he always had to be accounted for before the snap of every play when the Tigers had the ball, the two-time First-Team All-American was simply electrifying on punt and kickoff returns.
"I'm always getting positive yards. I'm always creating that spark," he explained when asked about his skills as a punt returner. "I break through that first wave and get you 10 or 15 yards. And a lot of times, if I can get that much, I'll break it"
The Raiders already have a proven punt returner in Johnnie Lee Higgins, who had three returns for touchdowns in 2008. Still, having a proven backup like Maclin to step in should Higgins get injured would be a huge benefit.
The Tigers took full advantage of Maclin's speed and change-of-direction skills by implementing special teams schemes that were similar to what the Chicago Bears had been using to get Devin Hester out into open field. And it paid off handsomely as Maclin rolled for 577 yards on punt returns and 2,049 yards on kickoff returns, scoring a combined five touchdowns as a return specialist by end of his sophomore season.
Since making his decision to enter the NFL Draft early, the 6-foot tall, 198-pound jack-of-all-trades is clearly ready to get his professional career rolling, even though he doesn't turn 21 until the end of August. When asked which of his skills were going to help him make a successful leap into the pro ranks as a receiver, Maclin's answer was as quick and decisive as his moves on the football field.
"My playmaking ability. I can take a short pass and turn it into a long gain," he said. "I'm sure-handed, I'll catch anything you throw my way. I feel like I can be a very reliable receiver at the next level."
Maclin's expected to come off the board quickly during the first-round of the NFL Draft at the end of this month. And while only a handful of teams may pass up the opportunity to add him to their roster before his name is called out from the podium in New York City, one thing is for certain -- those teams will be seeing Jeremy Maclin running all over the field for years to come, trying to figure out how to minimize the damage he's capable of inflicting.
Read more about Jeremy Maclin through the links on his Scout.com profile page.
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A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com.
Maclin to work out for Raiders
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