Kyle Rota from College Talent Scout has completed his report on Michael Crabtree (WR, Texas Tech) and I'm pleased to say we can bring it to you today as an exclusive for Seahawks Draft Blog. For an explanation on the grading system, click here.
Name: Michael Crabtree
Position: Wide Receiver
School: Texas Tech
Height: 6026 E
Weight: 215 E
40 Time: 4.49 E
Athleticism: 6.0 Crabtree is a better athlete than he is given credit for, and will be a good athlete even by NFL standards. He has good but not great quickness, very good balance (especially with the ball), and has great hip flexibility. It may be the weakest aspect of his game, but he is hardly a stiff.
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Physical Talents: 6.5 At 6’2.5 and 215lbs (both estimates), he possesses plus height and weight for a WR. Now, while I am no expert with analyzing future growth, I do think Crabtree can add muscle without diminishing his quickness. Crabtree’s strength and explosion seem comparable to players I’ve graded such as Juaquin Iglesias, not great but good enough to play in the NFL, and Crabtree has a size advantage over Iglesias.
Body Type: 7.0
Polish: 7.0 For whatever reason, three of the four Texas Tech players I graded possess plus individual technique. Crabtree is one of those three. The thing that stands out most are Crabtree’s humongous hands, and how often he uses them. I didn’t realize how much everyone else I’ve graded body-caught until I watched Crabtree catch every pass with his hands. Crabtree also does an excellent job boxing out the CB and working back to the quarterback. It’s clear that Crabtree has a great sense of where he should be in the passing game, likely from having spent high school as a quarterback.
Understands Playbook: 7.0
Proper Technique: 6.5
Competitiveness: 7.0 This was the biggest surprise when I scouted him. Crabtree sustained an ankle injury against Oklahoma that is a major concern, but played through the pain even when it was obviously slowing him down. He also contributed hard-nosed blocks for his teammates, came up big in big situations (such as the winning TD against Texas that is all over the internet), and works doggedly to get open even when he isn’t the primary option.
Clutch Play: 7.0
Football Character: 6.5 Doesn’t seem to be a prima-donna, has old-school toughness.
Personal Character: 6.0 Research shows a somewhat charismatic kid from a good background.
Durability: 5.5 That ankle scares me a bit. Tough enough to play with it, but needs to prove the ankle won’t be a problem.
Wideout Specific Skills:
Consistency Catching: 7.0 Always uses his hands to catch the ball. Always.
Initial Quicks: 6.0 Needs investigating. The two games I caught pre-injury, he largely got off the LOS quickly. However, in the other two games I noticed a false step (almost a skip) while running routes. If I can get more games prior to the injury I hope to give a better conclusion, but my feeling is that it was the result of his ankle injury.
Clean Release: 6.5 See false step concerns. Assuming that turns out just to be injury, he’s a 6.5.
Release vs Jam: 6.5/NA Rarely even attempted to jam at LOS, I don’t think he will be at the NFL level either, especially if he adds weight.
Routes: 6.5 May need a year to work up to this grade, but his only real error is rounding his deep outs. This isn’t a big problem, and is outweighed by how he sets up his break and leaves defenders guessing.
Tough Catches: 6.5 Does a lot over the smaller cornerbacks. Shields ball from defender well. Has plus body control and reaches out to pluck the ball.
Run After Catch: 6.5 When he cuts upfield quickly, big threat. Needs to use his strength more and dance less. Fights to stay upright and busts some big gains.
Deep Speed: 6.0 Crabtree’s deep speed is not good, but due to size, jumping, and hands he’s a decent deep threat.
Blocking: 6.0 Inconsistent in his effort. When play is his direction, blocks very hard and dominates a bit. When play is away from him, settles for walling off defender from play. Potential to reach 7.0 in a year or two if he is coached and works on his effort. Will be a plus even if he doesn’t.
Errors: 6.0 Only concern is fumbling, not a problem so far but he runs with the ball loose.
Summary: I know Seattle fans have been waiting for this since I started this blog, so this will be lengthy and hopefully comprehensive. Crabtree does a lot of things very well (catch, after-catch, works to get open, competitiveness), does a lot of things well with potential to improve quickly (blocking, routes, release), and the few things he needs to work on seem so minor I believe a good coach can fix them (ball security, possible false step) within a year or two. The only thing that will never be above-average for Crabtree is his pure speed, and I believe he is quick enough, as there are several WRs (smaller as well as larger than Crabtree) who have had big success with comparable or less speed. Everything else he needs to work on, I believe he will improve on and make it a plus, but even if he doesn’t his current skill-set is good enough to be a quality NFL receiver. What will make him great will be his drive to improve, and without having the opportunity to talk to him, his coaches or others who know him, I can only use his on-field tape to assume that he has the drive needed to correct the minor flaws in his game.
The other wildcard is his ankle. Here is my expertise with the ankle – I know it is around the foot. I have no medical expertise and to act like I know better than anyone else would be dishonest. This report is made with the assumption that the doctors who check him out will decide his ankle is just fine and he’s not a big risk to continue hurting the ankle. If the ankle is ruled to be a problem, I don’t take him in the first round, at all. WRs need those ankles too much to have to deal with that every week. However, if the ankle checks out, I believe Crabtree will become one of the top WRs in the NFL and will be a fan favorite for whatever team he joins.
Final Grade: 6.7 I
Note: In my quest to find out the truth about Crabtree’s false step, I could find more Texas Tech games and for that reason I reserve the right to change this grade until Crabtree is selected in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Games Graded: Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Baylor