Draft 2001: Wide Receivers Analysis

2001 POSITIONAL ANALYSIS

WIDE RECEIVERS


POSITION OVERVIEW
The good news for the Vikings is that the team has no immediate need for a wide receiver and the position is as deep as it’s been in years. Between the start of the draft and the time the Vikings make their second-round selection, as many as 10 wide receivers could be off the board — picks that will allow the other Vikings needs to remain. The talent runs deep with speed receivers that won’t last long on the draft, although the history on wide receivers coming out of college is that they don’t have breakout seasons in the NFL until their third year — Randy Moss is truly the exception to almost every rule about drafting wide receivers. While their may be some WR’s out there the Vikings like, the team likely won’t make a move on the position until the second day of the draft — if at all. However, with the draft as deep as many anticipate it will be, perhaps other teams will ignore the position in the first round and make a serious run in the early stages of the second round. By the time the draft is over, as many as 40 wide receivers could be selected.


THE BEST OF THE BEST
DAVID TERRELL, Michigan, 6-3, 213 —
Third-year junior...Started the last two years and in 1999, served double duty at WR and cornerback...In two years as a starter, he caught 134 passes for 2,032 yards and 20 touchdowns...Depending on who you talk to, his stock rose because it was learned he played much of last season with a broken bone in his foot and played through it the entire season — only learning at the Combine that he had suffered the stress fracture...Came out a year early, expecting to be taken in the top five picks...Has sprinter’s speed and the agility to leap for a pass...Very physical receiver who can beat bump-and-run coverage with ease...Hasn’t played wide receiver long enough to be a polished receiver yet and may struggle some if teams blanket him early...Has good hands, but is known for dropping many passes...Didn’t work out at the Combine.
PROJECTION: Despite some concerns teams may have about his foot injury, Terrell’s toughness and pure ability should translate into him going off the board in the first five or six picks.

KOREN ROBINSON, North Carolina State, 6-1, 205 —
Third-year sophomore who had two years of eligibility left...Came to the Wolfpack as a running back but was quickly converted to wide receiver...In two years as a starter, he caught 100 passes for 1,914 yards and 14 touchdowns — 12 of them coming last year...An adept kick returner, he brought back 28 punts and 22 kickoffs, scoring two more touchdowns...Same alma mater as Torry Holt, he joined Holt as the school’s only WR’s with 1,000 yard receiving seasons and had six consecutive 100-yard games, breaking Holt’s school record...Holt mentored Robinson as a redshirt freshman...Excellent speed...Some scouts have said he’s the best pure receiver to come out of college since Randy Moss...A mild problem child, he was suspended three different times for academic discipline...Has been prone to having a bad attitude and run-ins with coaches, which doesn’t bode well...Did not work out at the Combine.
PROJECTION: A player who came out strictly for the money, the comparisons to Moss are daunting and impressive. However, one year from now, he could well have been the No. 1 pick in the draft. As it stands, he may slide to the back side of the top 10 picks.



THE NEXT BEST THING

ROD GARDNER, Clemson, 6-2, 217 —
A fifth-year senior...Worked at QB and safety early in his college career before settling in full-time at wide receiver...A two-year starter, he caught 124 passes for 1,963 yards and 10 TDs...Incredibly strong for a wide receiver, he can bench press 400 pounds...Very good hand-eye coordination, he has the speed to get beat, the athleticism to leap for a pass and strength to outmuscle a defender for the ball...Doesn’t have top-end speed and likely will be forced to be a possession receiver in the NFL...Viewed as the best pro prospect at WR out of Clemson in 20 years...Did not work out at the Combine by his choice.
PROJECTION: Doesn’t have the pure speed of Terrell, Robinson or Santana Moss, but his incredible pass catching ability will assure that he goes on the first round and could be the most productive rookie receiver of the crop in his first season.

SANTANA MOSS, Miami, 5-9, 185 —
A fourth-year senior who came to Miami on a track scholarship and walked on to the football team...A three-year starter who has got better every year — catching 30 passes for 681 yards and eight touchdowns in ‘98, 54-889-6 in 1999 and 45-748-5 last year, despite being slowed much of the season with left ankle tendinitis...From his numbers, it’s obvious he is a big-play receiver who picks up yardage in bunches...A dangerous punt returner...Finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy balloting...Between receptions, punt returns and reverses, he scored 10 touchdowns last year and averaged 17 yards every time he touched the ball...Has a monstrous 42-inch vertical jump, which helps make up for his lack of size — viewed as his primary drawback...Willing to fight for the ball...Very muscular for a wide receiver...Scored six touchdowns on punt returns the last two seasons...Size will be his primary hindrence...Won the Big East track titles for long jump and triple jump last year...Did not work out at the Combine.
PROJECTION: A dangerous gamebreaker, but, in the era of big wide receivers, he will have to be a change-of-pace guy who doesn’t fit the prototype mold. Even so, expect to see him go in the first half of the first round.

CHAD JOHNSON, Oregon State, 6-1, 191 —
The cousin of Tampa Bay’s Keyshawn Johnson and Tennessee’s Samari Rolle...Well traveled, he began his college career at Langston College (the alma mater of Matthew Hatchette) and then played two years at Santa Monica (Calif.) College...Arrived at Oregon State with only one year of college eligibility left and made the most of it, catching 33 passes for 713 yards and six touchdowns...Learned his craft in high school where he was teammates with All-Pro d-backs Rolle and Duane Starks...Made a huge impact at the Senior Bowl by wowing scouts with his receiving skills, speed and ability to make difficult catches...Excellent size and long arms...Only played major college ball for one season, which could scare away some teams...Didn’t help himself at the Combine, running a 4.56 40 and a 33-inch vertical jump — even though he has posted much better numbers other times.
PROJECTION: Didn’t have a choice but to come out because his eligibility was up, but Johnson made believers out of coaches and scouts at the Senior Bowl and the Combine, so his stock has risen enough that he may well go off the board in the first round.

REGGIE WAYNE, Miami, 6-0, 197 —
A teammate of Moss who gave the Hurricanes a potent 1-2 punch in the receiving game...A four-year starter who is a fourth-year senior...Caught 173 passes for 2,510 yards and 20 touchdowns — half of them last season...Missed much of his sophomore and junior seasons after tearing his left ACL and, while he played, he wasn’t as effective as before, but showed no signs of trouble last year...Has been compared to Antonio Freeman, a mid-round steal who developed into a great NFL wide receiver...Moved himself up several spots by an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl...Will catch the ball in traffic...Not a bomb specialist or the fastest guy on the field, but has the ability to make big catches for big yardage...Did not work out at the Combine.
PROJECTION: Will likely fall into the second round, but has all the capabilities of becoming an NFL starter in a short period of time.

FREDDIE MITCHELL, UCLA, 5-11, 187 —
Played on the Bruins baseball team and was prized enough to be drafted by the White Sox...Fourth-year junior...Missed out on almost all of the 1998 season afer breaking his right femur...Started half of UCLA’s games in ‘99, catching 38 passes for 533 yards...Came back 100 percent from the injury last year, hauling in 68 passes for 1,314 yards and eight TDs...Took first-round CB Jamar Fletcher to school in the Sun Bowl, catching nine passes for 180 yards and a TD...Can make the almost impossible catch look easy...Can burn man or bump-and-run coverage...A little bit of a head case who likes to talk of his own importance...A concern over such a serious leg injury could scare some teams off...A little shorter than most wide receivers...Made himself some money at the Combine, running a 4.44 40 and flashing a 39-1/2 inch vertical jump.
PROJECTION: The jury is still out on Mitchell. Some teams that have worked him out might be willing to take a jump on him in the first round, but more likely, he’ll go early in the second round.

CHRIS CHAMBERS, Wisconsin, 5-11, 208 —
Fourth-year senior who also played on the Wisconsin basketball team...In two years as a full-time starter, he missed three games in ‘99 with a broken finger and four games in 2000 with a stress fracture in his foot and a suspension for rules violations...In those two seasons, despite missing considerable time, he caught 88 passes for 1,252 yards and eight TDs...Exceptional leaping ability...Willing to catch the ball over the middle...More musclebound that typical wide receivers...Very fast, he has run several sub-4.4 times in the 40...Hasn’t ever really refined his pass-catching skills and, while he has great potential, is still a little rough around the edges...Didn’t run or lift at the Combine, but showed off a 45-inch vertical jump.
PROJECTION: A guy that some believe has all the makings of a first-rounder, but, in this year’s draft, he’s likely to fall into the second round.

QUINCY MORGAN, Kansas State, 6-1, 210 —
Senior who began his college career in 1996 at Blinn (Texas.) College...Two year starter at K-State, catching 106 passes for 2,173 yards and 23 TDs...Played with Patriots backup QB Michael Bishop at Blinn and won the 1996 Junior College Championship...Set a Big 12 record averaging 24 yards a catch as a junior and averaged more than 46 yards a catch on his nine touchdowns that year...Excellent speed/size ratio...A prototype big-play home run receiver...Viewed as a bit of a head case who loses his cool at times and drops too many passes...Didn’t work out at the Combine even though it could have greatly improved his stock.
PROJECTION: The experts all see him as a boom or bust, but many said the same thing about Randy Moss, which is why he last 20 picks before going off the board. Morgan will likely go late in the second round and could a Godsend or a nightmare.

ROBERT FERGUSON, Texas A & M, 6-1, 206 —
Third-year junior...Forced to attend Tyler (Texas) Junior College after failing to make his grades with the Aggies...Played only one year at A & M, catching 58 passes for 885 yards and seven touchdowns...Played much of the season fighting an ankle injury, but still posted strong numbers...Excellent combination of size and speed and has strong hands...Is seen as something of a project for now, but has the intangibles coaches love and could become a solid pro...With only one year of major college football, he is seen as a player a team may have to wait a couple of years to get a return on its investment...Ran a 4.48 40 at the Combine and had a 36-1/2 inch vertical jump.
PROJECTION: Really hurt himself by not waiting another year. He could have easily been a first-rounder with another year of experience, but now looks to go late in the second round.



KEEP AN EYE ON
Ken-Yon Rambo, Ohio State, 6-0, 195
Alex Bannister, Eastern Kentucky, 6-5, 205
Kevin Kasper, Iowa, 6-0, 195
Reggie Germany, Ohio State, 6-1, 183
Marvin "Snoop" Minnis, Florida State, 6-0, 173
Milton Wynn, Washington State, 6-2, 206
Cedrick Wilson, Tennessee, 5-9, 180
Stevone Smith, Utah, 5-9, 186
Scotty Anderson, Grambling, 6-2, 181
Eddie Berlin, Northern Iowa, 5-11, 190
Jon Carter, Troy State, 5-11, 180

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