Monday, 13 April 2009

Crabtree in Seattle? The positive angle

Recently we've been hearing some negative press about Michael Crabtree's stock, but today - we're getting the other side of the story. If the Seahawks truly are looking for an 'impact' player with the fourth overall pick - Crabtree could be the choice.

Charles Robinson writes that Crabtree's stock is 'unaffected' after all the injuries and 'other concerns'. He also quotes Seahawks head coach Jim Mora as being one of the receivers admirers.

"Seattle Seahawks coach Jim Mora chewed his way through some of the film before heading to the league’s annual meetings in late March – roughly three weeks after Crabtree had successful surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. It left the coach with a realization: the former Texas Tech wide receiver might be the best player in the upcoming NFL draft. And it may not even be that close of a debate." - Charles Robinson, Yahoo.com

He goes on to quote Mora, "With a guy like Michael, he’s put enough great plays on tape that demonstrate not only speed, but explosion, burst, change of direction, elusiveness as a runner after the catch, things like that."

Steve Kelley adds to the debate, suggesting the Seahawks should take Crabtree with the fourth overall pick.

"Memo to Seahawks general manager Tim Ruskell: Draft Michael Crabtree. Don't overthink this. Don't sweat the fact you haven't seen him run a 40. Don't worry about the stress fracture in his left foot. He had surgery on March 4. He'll be fine." - Steve Kelley, Seattle Times

Seth Wickersham asks 'What's all the fuss about?' He looks into the injuries and how teams will perceive his in ability to work out. The conclusion? Crabtree's a talented enough receiver to feel confident without a 40 yard dash, without a cone drill or bench press.

"GMs have only two ways to size up Crabtree—talking to him and watching his film. And they've concluded that he's a top-10 pick, broken foot and all." - Steve Wickersham, ESPN

Chad Reuter published a new mock draft today on CBS Sportsline, that had the Seahawks taking Crabtree.

"The addition of 32-year-old WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh does not preclude the Seahawks from taking a offensive playmaker in this draft. Curry would be a fine pick, if available, and RB Beanie Wells is a sleeper." - Chad Reuter, NFL Draft Scout

Will the Seahawks take Michael Crabtree in the 2009 NFL draft? Let me know your opinions by clicking the comments section below or email rob@seahawksdraftblog.com

18 comments:

Patrick said...

Music to my ears Rob. Since, about week 13 of the last year's NFL season, I heard someone mention Crabtree in Seattle, and I fell in love with the idea. I didn't even want T.J. Houshmandzadeh because I was afraid it would cancel out Crabtree. Now, with less than 2 weeks to go, I can only wait and hope that when all is said and done, we will have Crabtree holding up that Seahawks jersey.

Chris said...

Absolutely, I believe this is a great opportunity. I think the reason why this isn't the popular pick anymore among Seahawk fans is this was the first trendy pick for the Hawks; we've been talking about taking him for months, even before the end of the season.
This "no-brainer" attitude towards the Crabtree pick is based on a lot of optimism. We have to be optimistic that Walter Jones and Hasselbeck will return to their probowl form after an off year. We have to be optimistic that we will do enough in free agency and the later rounds to shore up the interior O-line and Pass rush. All in all, we have to be confident in our luxury to take a future probowler (i really hope so) in Crabtree rather than taking a less impacting pick to fill an unforeseen hole (Unforeseen in the notion that one of our veterans can't play).
I really like your justification for Crabtree (before you picked Sanchez) that teams would have a very tough time covering Crabtree, Housh, Branch, Burleson, and Carlson on 4 WR sets while also trying to put some pressure on Hasselbeck. We would have the OPTIMAL WC wide receiving corp and just that going from 3 to 4 great possession receivers would greatly improve our receiving game, which will only open up our running game even more.
But this excitement in Crabtree is obviously based on a lot of assumptions that we can plug up our holes by other means, but I, unlike More or Ruskell, can afford to be that optimistic.

germpod said...

Chris, I agree with your post completly. We have been reading he is our pick for so long that it is no longer as exciting.

I will happy no matter who we pick, for the most part, but this would be the most exciting pick. If the foot is ok and the character red flags mentioned end up false, then I think Ruskell makes the jump.

We may have a pretty good reciever group now, but they are older and injury prone. We have three needs to replace strictly due to players getting older, OT, WR, and QB. We can not replace all of them with the first pick so just take the best player.

Rob Staton said...

Chris - I actually intended to make it more of a Crabtree or Sanchez debate on the podcast - although listening back it was more like 'I think it's Sanchez'. If the Seahawks really want an impact player, it has to be Crabtree for me.

Michael said...

Ok, I give. He's probably the best pick.

Remember, however, that Knapp likes to run out of 2 wide sets. What do you do with Burleson, Taylor, Branch?

Do they just sit 60% of the games offensive plays?

If Crabtree is the best player, take him, but trade branch for another 5th rounder.

Do something. Cut Burleson. Cut TJ. There is no need for 27M in WR money in '09, just to run 2 wide , 2 TE sets and run it.

But I admit, I like Crabtree more than I used to.

Rob Staton said...

I expect the team to use 3 WR sets as well as two. That would allow the team to get Crabtree, Houshmandzadeh, Carlson and one of Branch/Burleson on the field. This in turn could draw attention away from the offensive line - which opens things up for potential success with the running game.

If the team want an impact prospect, Crabtree makes sense. If they are drafting with an eye towards the future, then they could look elsewhere.

akki said...

Ruskell still showed a lot of interest in Jonathan Stewart after his stress fracture, no?

Christopher said...

Take Crabtree! If we don't we will live to regret the decision. I do not believe that any other player available to us at the 4th spot can make an impact this year and the following years like Crabtree. Curry would be my #2. We have not had an impact receiver like Crabtree will be since Largent. If we take Sanchez we are saying goodbye to Hass as early as next season. I believe that Hass has at least 3 or 4 great seasons left in him.

Rob Staton said...

Perhaps so akki, although obviously we never got a chance to see just how highly he rated Stewart because he went so early in 2008.

However, the injuries didn't harm Stewart's stock and I don't think it hurts Crabtree.

Andrew said...

I would love a Crabtree draft.

I also thought that Knapp is known for making the scheme match the players and would not be surprised with more 3 or even occasionally a 4 wide out formation if Crabtree was chosen.

I really hope for Crabtree in the first, Mack or Unger in the second, then a Marcu Freeman in the third.

Rob Staton said...

There could be great value at interior line at the top of round two with Mack, Unger and Wood all touted to go in the late 1st/early second. Regardless of who they take in round one - that's a direction they could go with the 37th pick.

K. said...

The thing I find amusing about all of this -- the mock drafts, our speculations -- is that the Seahawks already know what they're going to do assuming that they can't trade down. There may be some checking and rechecking going on, but they've mapped out the most likely scenarios for the first three picks and then what they will do in each instance.

At this point in time, the brain trust is likely working hard to poke holes in their choices as a means of testing each one. I doubt that they are having many serious conversations about the overall quality of receivers and defensive lineman -- those conversations happened months ago.

Some scenarios no doubt result in a greater desire to trade down than others, so Ruskell & Co. must be assessing their chances of doing that with each option.

Steve in Spain said...

Rob, you must be blinded by love, man. The character concerns about Crabtree are real and emanate from multiple sources. I love this choice item from Sports Illustrated (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/draft09/news/story?id=4063680):

"Each morning, Crabtree wakes up at 11:30, then sits in bed, simultaneously watching movies on his flat-screen and Young Jeezy videos on his laptop. At around 2 p.m. he makes a move, but he can't shower, not with his foot in a cast. So the 6'1", 215-pound former Texas Tech receiver climbs into the tub—his first baths since grade school—bum foot hanging over the edge. At 3 he leaves his place for the first time, impressively fleet on a set of crutches, for lunch at Pappadeaux. The menu: fried shrimp and mashed potatoes, with two lemonades—one with freshly squeezed straw-berries, the other with uncut berries floating in the drink like ice. Then it's back home for more movies and videos. At 10 Crabtree orders a pepperoni thick-crust from Pizza Hut, the empty box joining nine others stacked like a Jenga game on his kitchen counter. "That's my regimen," he says."

Doesn't this guy have classes? He is (as far as I know) still a "student" at Texas Tech. He's well enough to zip down to Pappadeaux on his tricked-out wheelchair for two fruit lemonades but can't make any of his university lessons? Maybe crack some books at home in between Young Jeezy videos? I mean, the guy comes off as a joker. Keep in mind that this article is all about *praising* Crabtree.

Sorry, this just confirms what everyone's saying: Crabtree works hard on the field, but is a lazy bum off it.

Check out this Pro Football Weekly article (http://www.profootballweekly.com/PFW/NFLDraft/Draft+Extras/2009/wwhi040909.htm) which, based on confidential conversations with five NFL GMs, has Crabtree as one of the five first-rounders most likely to bust.

"Crabtree may not have a laundry list of arrests, but his ego is abnormally large to the point where he repeatedly demeaned training staff, his work ethic has been described as “marginal at best,” and his intelligence and ability to handle success remain major question marks. One thorough evaluator compared Crabtree’s mental makeup to that of former LSU and Buccaneers 2004 15th overall pick Michael Clayton, who made a big splash in the NFL as a rookie before going on to average 31 catches, 378 yards and a half-TD catch each of the past four years as he lost focus, bought into the hype and stopped working at his craft the way young receivers must do to be great. Crabtree's competitiveness noticeably stands out on tape, and he did play through injury last season. However, when the Red Raiders were getting whipped by better competition (Oklahoma and Mississippi) during the final two games of the season, Crabtree did not finish either game. After he gets a taste of success in the pros, evaluators are not confident he will be able to handle the trappings of the pro game."

Ruskell isn't touching this guy.

Rob Staton said...

Steve, I have read both articles. For starters, I wouldn't be too harsh on him for not attending classes. I'm unaware what Crabtree's situation is with regards to school, but his priority right now is getting healthy for the NFL because there the ones who'll be paying him millions of dollars. If his foot is in a cast, I don't see how he can be described as lazy for not attending classes when the article says he can't even take a shower.

The PFW article is something we've talked about a lot this weekend. I've taken it on board and I'm not so blind to completely ignore any possible character flaws - I've voiced my own concerns plenty of times on that matter.

But that article completely counters everything else I've read and heard. I contacted John McClain from the Houston Chronicle - a highly respectable journalist from the Texas area - and he told me that the scouts and coaches he's spoken to believe Crabtree to be a hard working, determined individual who, if a little immature at his still tender age, would be a great addition to any roster.

Clark Judge from CBS Sportsline also quoted an NFL representative recently who again spoke positively about Crabtree. No offense to PFW, but they are the first ones to come out with any quotes like this and I have to believe the bigger news agencies would have been all over this kind of story if that's what coaches and scouts were saying.

My personal stance on the matter is this - I'm not saying the Seahawks will definitely draft Michael Crabtree. But at the same time, I'm not going to say they definitely won't because of one article by PFW.

akki said...

On the PFW article, I like the idea of getting the playmaker in Crabtree, but am still troubled anyway. PFW isn't just some random sensationalist publication like PFT or Nat'l Football Post. I've been reading PFW's previews for 20 years. Nawrocki is't legendary like their previous guru, Joel Buchsbaum, but he did learn the trade from him and has been at it for a long time. As such, seeing this reported by Nawrocki holds as much cachet to me as if it was to come from Kiper or Mayock. Unfortunate. I hope the GM's are just blowing smoke...

akki said...

Keep in mind that Nawrocki still has Crabtree as the top WR nonetheless.

Rob Staton said...

I'm not particularly aware of Nawrocki's work in the past, so I don't know how much stock to put into his report. However, as I said if these reports were true I'm sure some of the more high profile journalists out there would have picked up on it and we've heard relatively little bad press on Crabtree. The people I've spoken to have countered what has been said. I guess we'll find out on April 25th the quality of PFW's quotes.

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