NFL Draft: Scouting The Receivers

Benefiting from playing in a passing offense, Oklahoma's Mark Clayton has been ultra-productive the past two seasons. Yet even with that, Clayton is a top prospect for the April's draft and could be selected very early. Here is the early look of the top ten receivers for the 2005 NFL Draft:

Braylon Edwards School: Michigan
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 211 40: 4.50 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Three-year starter who's been an All- Conference player since his sophomore campaign. Led the team in receiving as a senior, totaling 97/1,330/15, winning All-American honors as well as the Biletnikoff Award. Junior totals included 85/1138/14.

Positives: Big, physical receiver who breaks games wide open or controls them from the get-go. Quick releasing off the line, boxes out opponents with his frame and easily makes receptions in traffic. Fast down the field, gets vertical then contorts in mid-air for the acrobatic grab. Displays good eye/hand coordination, looks the pass in and extends to offer the quarterback a nice target. Easily beats jams at the line of scrimmage or physically pounds opponents to come away with the ball. Displays open-field running skills after the reception and blocks with solid technique. Runs well laterally and displays the ability to quickly change direction. Sells his routes.

Negatives: Not always mentally on top of his game, loses focus or takes his eye off the ball. Must be more cognizant of becoming the hot receiver in blitz situations.

Analysis: A superior athlete who plays bigger and faster than his computer number, Edwards makes truly amazing plays on the football field with regularity. A terrific red-zone target who creates mismatches, he has an unusually high ratio of touchdown receptions. Worthy of an early first-round selection and should have a long and productive NFL career once he learns to focus and give attention to detail.
Mike Williams School: USC
Ht: 6-4.5 Wt: 230 40: 4.61 Year: 3So

Bio: Two-year starter at USC who posted 81/ 1,265/14 as a freshman and 95/1,314/16 during his sophomore campaign in ‘03. Declared for the NFL draft last year, but a Supreme Court ruling prevented him from going pro.

Positives: King-sized receiver who is a dominant force catching the ball. Easily beats jams throwing opponents to the ground, offers the quarterback a big target and out-muscles opponents for the reception. Extends and pulls the ball out of the air with strong hands. Comes away with the reception even when double-teamed. Adjusts to the errant throw, looks the pass in and makes the acrobatic reception. Uses his frame to shield away opponents and displays great power in all aspects of his game. Turned in good pass-catching and running performances prior to the draft.

Negatives: Slow releasing off the line and not explosive or quick. Does not attack blocking assignments or get the results he should. Marginal route runner.

Analysis: Tremendously productive his only two years on the field, Williams is a physical specimen who could be used at a variety of pass-catching positions. A prototypical possession receiver, Williams projects nicely as a top third-down target or red zone threat. The combination of size, growth potential, and the lack of pure speed could ultimately have him moving to a tight end spot.
Troy Williamson School: South Carolina
Ht: 6-1.5 Wt: 203 40: 4.38 Year: 4Jr

Bio: Moved into the starting lineup as a sophomore and led the team in receiving the past two years. Posted pass-catching numbers of 43/835/7, averaging 19.4 yards a reception. Also averaged 21.4 yards on seven kick returns. Sophomore totals included 31/428/2 receiving.

Positives: Explosive wideout with the ability to change the game's momentum in a flash. Quickly releases off the line, runs good routes and comes back to the ball out of breaks. Adjusts backwards for the errant throw, tracks the ball in the air, then extends his hands to catch the pass away from his frame. Immediately transitions from making the reception to running after the catch and displays good speed. Elusive running after the reception following blocks down the field, and displays a tremendous burst of speed. Outstanding running form. Good eye/hand coordination and fluid making the deep reception at full speed.

Negatives: Not physical, shies away from contact and marginally effective blocking downfield. Has never been overly productive on the college level.

Analysis: Displaying the speed to stretch defenses, Williamson offers a lot of natural skills for the next level. Sized well, he has the abilities to develop into a team's number one receiver and game breaker, but must get stronger and learn to do the little things well.
Mark Clayton School: Oklahoma
Ht: 5-10.5 Wt: 193 40: 4.45 Year: 5Sr

Bio: All-Conference and All-American recipient the past two seasons. Led the team in receiving, posting 66/876/8 as a senior after 83/1,425/15 the prior year. Owns almost every Oklahoma receiving record on the books.

Positives: Natural receiver polished in all aspects of the game. Intelligent pass catcher who consistently finds the open spot in the defense, displays an excellent sense of timing as well as concentration. Quickly gets off the line, sells his routes and displays quickness into breaks, immediately positioning himself to make the reception upon exit. Extends his hands to consistently catch the ball away from his frame. Shields opponents away, displays good eye/hand coordination and elusive running after the reception. Sets up then follows blocks in the open field, works to pick up positive yardage and very elusive handling the ball. Possesses both soft and strong hands. Gets up in a crowd, exposes himself to the big hit and pulls the ball out of the air in the deep field. Adjusts backwards or contorts in midair to make the reception. Fights to come free and consistently makes himself an available target for the quarterback. Very alert and displays outstanding field vision. Game impacting punt returner.

Negatives: Undersized and has difficulty in a battle. Gives effort blocking yet gets marginal results. Not a true burner who possesses top end speed.

Analysis: Capping off a terrific college career with a good showing in the Senior Bowl, Clayton lacks the pure size to be a number one wide out yet is a savvy ball handler who can be a very productive second receiver for a team.
Roddy White School: UAB
Ht: 6-1.5 Wt: 207 40: 4.45 Year: 5Sr

Bio: All-Conference selection as a senior after posting numbers of 71/1,452/14, averaging 20.5 yards per reception. Started as both a junior and sophomore, totaling 39/844/7 and 39/580/ 3, respectively.

Positives: Big-play receiver with outstanding size/speed numbers. Fluid releasing off the line of scrimmage, quick-footed and sells routes. Smooth and looks like he's gliding on the field. Easily adjusts to the deep reception running full speed, displays good eye/hand coordination and makes the difficult over the shoulder reception. Runs well laterally, lays out or extends for the difficult grab. Catches the pass away from his frame and effective running after the reception. Elusive, yet at the same time displays the ability to break tackles. Gets vertical to pull the ball out of the air.

Negatives: Not a physical player and shies away from contact. Gives marginal effort blocking. Fast but does not show a second gear.

Analysis: Consistently progressing on the college level, White possesses outstanding potential for the NFL and has all the tools to be a second receiver. Must learn to do the little things well and improve the physical nature of his game. Should be off the board during the second round.
Terrence Murphy School: Texas A&M
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 202 40: 4.45 Year: 4Sr

Bio: All-Conference selection as a senior after posting 51/682/3. Led the team in receiving as a junior, registering 44/762 when he originally won All-League honors.

Positives: Fluid, big-play receiver with excellent size/speed numbers. Solid route runner who gets separation from opponents, displays good focus and consistent hands. Adjusts to the errant throw, lays out for the tough grab and snatches the pass away from his frame. Elusive running after the reception, has a burst of speed and works to pick up positive yardage. Positions himself against defenders to make the reception and fights to get separation. Beats opponents in a foot race, tracks the deep throw and easily adjusts running full speed. Occasionally used as a kick returner throughout college.

Negatives: Marginal as a downfield blocker. Has difficulty battling stronger opponents.

Analysis: A tough, hard-working prospect with top athleticism, Murphy has all the intangibles one wants in a first-round choice. That being the case, he has never been overly productive nor really stood out as the "go-to guy" in college. Offers a high upside, which will get him selected during the initial 45 choices.
Courtney Roby School: Indiana
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 189 40: 4.39 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Three-year starter who led the team in receiving as a senior, posting 55/810/7. Honorable mention All-Conference choice last year.

Positives: Athletic and reliable pass catcher with solid size/speed numbers. Natural receiver who can adjust and reach back to make the reception in stride. Possesses good eye/hand coordination, timing, and looks the pass in. Gets vertical to make the acrobatic grab. Consistently finds the open space on the field. Keeps the play in bounds and works to pick up positive yardage after the reception.

Negatives: Not a sharp route runner and slows into breaks. Though a sprint champion with outstanding stop-watch speed, does not run to daylight.

Analysis: A reliable receiver who consistently makes the tough catch, Roby must learn to transfer his speed and athletic skills onto the football field consistently. Played well during Senior Bowl week making many believe the poor talent he played with in college hampered his development.
Jerome Mathis School: Hampton
Ht: 5-11.5 Wt: 181 40: 4.32 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Track and field sprint champion awarded All-Conference honors the past two years. Led the team in receiving as a senior, posting 30/ 884/9, averaging 29.5 yards per reception. Also averaged 35.5 yards on 25 kick returns, bringing five back for scores. Junior receiving numbers included 40/977/9.

Positives: Explosive pass-catcher with home-run hitting speed. Physical and battles to make the tough reception. Easily outruns opponents down the field and a scoring threat any time he gets his hands on the ball.

Negatives: Has character questions, which must be answered. Very raw and must improve his route-running skills and pass-catching consistency. Does not consistently play to his timed speed.

Analysis: A prospect everyone is talking about after an outstanding Combine, Mathis is a tremendous athlete still developing as a football player. Possesses the size to be a number one receiver at the next level, yet not the sure thing many are making him out to be. Offers tremendous long-term potential and can be a big-play threat as a rookie in the NFL but must fully develop his game.
Reggie Brown School: Georgia
Ht: 6-1.5 Wt: 196 40: 4.55 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Two-year starter who led the team in receiving as a senior, posting career numbers of 51/821/6 after 49/662/3 the prior year.

Positives: Tough, competitive receiver with good size and athleticism. Quickly gets off the line, runs solid routes and comes back to the ball, extending to pull the pass out of the air. Easily adjusts running full speed to catch the errant throw. Tracks the deep throw, gets vertical and positions himself against defenders to come away with the ball. Good eye/hand coordination, effective running after the reception and keeps the play in bounds to pick up positive yardage. Sharp into breaks and stays low on exit, immediately positioning himself to make the catch. Strong blocking down the field.

Negatives: Not a heavy-duty receiver who can catch the ball and take a pounding over the middle. Does not always display great concentration or show soft hands. Could give better effort blocking.

Analysis: A solid pass catcher in a variety of ways, Brown projects well as a third wideout in the NFL. Should be effective in third-down situations and as a red zone target with his ability to get vertical and make the grab.
Vincent Jackson School: Northern Colorado
Ht: 6-4.5 Wt: 241 40: 4.51 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Awarded All-Conference and All-American honors as a senior after leading the team in all receiving categories with 80/1,382/11. Multiple award winner the prior season after numbers of 66/1,462/21.

Positives: King-sized receiver who may ultimately grow into a tight end or H-back. Offers the quarterback a nice target, uses his large frame to outmuscle opponents, and displays both focus and concentration. Extends and then snatches the pass out of the air, displays good eye/hand coordination and is relatively effective running after the reception. Moves well laterally, finding the soft spot in the defense. Sells his routes, comes back to the quarterback and adjusts well to the errant throw. Physically beats down opposing defensive backs to make the reception.

Negatives: Lacks the deep speed, acceleration and more of an underneath or possession wideout. At times goes down easily after the catch.

Analysis: Ultra-productive the past two seasons, Jackson offers good potential at a number of spots in the NFL. Could be used as a king-sized possession or slot receiver for an offense, is also viewed as a "move" tight end. His ability to handle a big step up in competition will determine whether he is a practice squad prospect or a final roster player.

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