Sorting the Wide Receivers; Part One

Harry

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As I undertake what often proves a thankless task, I’m mindful of the Warrick rule. If you not an old time draft prognosticator you’ve likely never heard of it. It was developed after 2000 when virtually all evaluators had Peter Warrick as the number one receiver and he did go 4th in round one to the Bengals.

Warrick had been a star at FSU. He was easily the most dominant receiver in college. Then a funny thing happened. He ran a poor time at the combine. We all questioned the track, but at what was essentially his Pro Day, he didn’t run any better. We odecided maybe speed wasn’t as important as we’d previously believed. However, he never was a great pro receiver. He never made 1000 yards. He was done in 6 seasons. The rule; never rate the WRs until they run. So here goes anyway.

I always try to advise you what may be odd about each years’ draft. At every position analysts usually agree on the top 4-5 players, though the order may differ. It’s true of this year but what’s odd this season is the analysis is often contradictory on specific abilities. Example: one says WR X is a great blocker, others say he can’t block.

The obvious leading WR candidate is Marvin Harrison. What makes him so special? It’s not just the usual stuff. He sees the field like a QB. So he runs the best routes in college. He’s an expert at quickly recognizing and taking apart zones. His quick feet and agility often makes him hard to press. He has a solid catch radius and great body control to win contested catches. He reaches his top speed quickly and smoothly. He’s solid at over the shoulder receptions. He’s expert at using the sideline to wall off defenders. Harrison is equally good split wide or in the slot. He is stronger than expected but still not a good blocker. He’s not exceptional at short routes in heavy traffic and can exhibit poor ball security. His YAC is not elite just decent, but he’s very competitive, always giving great effort. I expect his frame to fill out some, making him even harder to defend.

Rome Odunze, my number 2 guy, is unique. I have never seen a WR as good at adjusting to a long pass. This makes him perfect for Murray. Throw it short, he maneuvers back to get it. He’s has the best technique for back shoulder catches in this pool. He has an extra gear of burst that lets him sometimes reach overthrows. His amazing body control allows him to get defenders on his hip and screen them. His concentration after contact is exceptional. Odunze has top tier game speed, though he sometimes lags. He is very good at finding weaknesses in zones. He displays solid YAC, especially when he has blocks to setup. This makes him great at WR screens. He’s a willing blocker who would even be better if he were stronger, which should develop. His size would make you think he’d be physical, but he can be successfully pressed and after the catch, forced to fumble. He has no flaws that can’t be coached out of his style with heavy training.

Malik Nabers’ rise coincided with LSU saving their season. He became a scoring threat from any place on the field. Between his speed and leaping ability, he is very hard to contain. He tracks the ball well and is comfortable with over the shoulder catches, during which he adjusts his speed to take the ball in full stride. Nabers also adjusts well to under throws. He’s solid on 50/50 balls, liking to compete. He’s very elusive in the open field. I was disappointed by his effort at times, especially early in the season. He doesn’t get as much separation as you’d expect with his speed and agility. At times he lets his route running get sloppy. He can be pressed. Other evaluators rank him slightly higher than me.

Keon Coleman was once my number 2 receiver. He didn’t rise above the QB confusion at FSU, like I expected. Still Coleman should develop into a red zone beast in addition to being generally effective at any part of the field, especially when attempting to retain possession. He has the strongest hands in this group and easily snatches the ball on contested catches. He excels at hand fighting. Surprisingly agile he’s able to adjust to poorly thrown passes. He a great runner after the catch. He sees the field well, can setup blockers and fakes defenders out of position (top punt returner). It takes him a few strides to reach top speed. Oddly despite his size he’s a poor blocker. He’d really be a great weapon paired with a WR who can stretch the field.

I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s critical to get Murray receiving weapons who are good at contested catches because he is not expert at ball placement. All the above meet that criterium.

At this point there’s a drop off in surety level. This doesn’t mean one or more of the remaining WRs won’t actually have better careers than the aforementioned. The top 4 are just safer choices. I’ll cover some of the others in part 2.
 

oaken1

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Hey Harry,,, in part 2, can you take a look at Brenden Rice... kid is special I think
 

cardpa

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I really hope you cover Troy Franklin. I think he is a bit underrated. I know he has a slim build which can cause him problems going up against bigger CBs, however I think he has a lot of favorable traits.
 

GatorAZ

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I really hope you cover Troy Franklin. I think he is a bit underrated. I know he has a slim build which can cause him problems going up against bigger CBs, however I think he has a lot of favorable traits.

Franklin and Thomas Jr are guys behind the big-3 that look like naturals catching the ball. If we don’t draft a WR in the first rd and Franklin is there at #35…
 

PJ1

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An additional question of importance is where will these players go in the draft. If we want Odunze do we need to use the fourth overall pick if that is where we are? How far back could we go and still get one of the top four? Who would be available with our second first?
 

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I love Rome Odunze and think he would be the perfect fit for the Cardinals.
I crave a couple more offensive studs. I think if we solidify the o line and get another weapon to go with trey and Conner wow we could finally see Murray thrive. Especially with this coaching. I want an ot first but if we go wr at 4 I want odunze because of his size. There isn’t a defensive player worth 4 in my opinion.
 

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It seems improbable that the CARDS would pass on Marvin Harrison, if there.

But, if not, I'm all in for one of the two tackles and use the later first-round pick on a w/o or use some draft capital to move up and get a prized one.
 

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