Tuesday, 2 February 2010

POTD: Dez Bryant, WR, OSU


By Kip Earlywine

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 210
Unofficial 40: 4.54



Positives:

-Elite production (1480 yards and 19 TD's in 77 grabs in '08, 323 yards and 4 TDs in 3 games in '09)
-Solid combination of size and speed, not elite or rare, but still very good
-Good running instincts
-Plays marvelously well even when hurt, tough kid
-Solid kick returner
-Gets open
-Looks smooth
-If everything breaks right, he could be a #1 WR in the NFL, which very few WR can claim this year
-Is bulkier than he looks, he could probably add more weight if he wanted
-Has a nose for the endzone
-Awesome YPC (17.0 in '08, 19.0 in '09)

Negatives:

-A few injuries from time to time, including a knee injury at the end of '08
-Supposedly is a little immature, Deion Sanders incident, etc.
-Sometimes has trouble with drops and penalties
-Not explosive or if he is, it doesn't jump off the tape.
-Speed is sometimes underwhelming. Might not be a true deep threat.
-Came from a spread offense which probably inflated his stats somewhat and masks aspects of his game like beating a press
-Could stand to be more precise in routes
-Body catches a lot, but to be fair he does sometimes show good hands skills and come back for the ball.
-Because of good but not elite measurables, he's probably more likely to be a good #2 than a true #1.
-Not extremely physical, doesn't steamroll over tacklers and YAC could be better.

Sound Bites:

"If Dez pushes himself away from the dinner table and shows up ready to go, he's the best WR in this draft"
-Mike Mayock

"Going back to Crabtree versus Bryant, I think Bryant is a better overall player. I think he has better physical skills: he's big, he's strong, and of all the things he does, I think getting down the field and finding the ball over his shoulder... I think its a rare quality for a vertical receiver, he could easily be a top 10 pick."
-Todd McShay (on Sportscenter)

My thoughts:

Like McShay I see some similarities between Bryant and Crabtree. They have about the same size and speed, and both put up great numbers (including a ton of TDs) in spread offenses in the big 12. Another similarity is that in my opinion, Crabtree suffered unfairly from unsubstantiated claims that he was a "diva," while Bryant was the victim of a very strict NCAA who went over the top last year by suspending him for the whole season because of a meeting he had with Deion Sanders. I very much doubt that either Crabtree or Bryant have serious character concerns.

Of the two, I liked Crabtree more because he attacked the ball with his hands, had extremely few drops, and was incredibly clutch. Not to mention Crabtree was extremely difficult to tackle whereas Bryant looks fairly easy to bring down. If you wanted, you could call Bryant this year's Crabtree, although I'd say Crabtree was a little better, personally.

There are a lot of teams that will consider WR a big need in the first half of the 1st round, so for that reason, I don't expect Bryant to last until #14. Is he worth taking at #6? I would lean towards no, as he's not a superstar prospect. He's more Anquan Boldin than Larry Fitzgerald. I would personally prefer to trade into the 20's and get Damian Williams, but if the Seahawks draft Dez Bryant at #6, I'd be understanding. WR is a position that tends to take a couple years to acclimate to the NFL, and Housh, Branch, and Burleson probably won't be Seahawks more than 2 years from now. So it makes a lot of sense to address WR this offseason. If Carroll/Bates believe that Bryant will fit their system well enough to unlock his slim #1 potential, he'd be a worthy pick at #6.

9 comments:

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Paul said...

What's up Kip? I hope that we get our O-Line in order either in free agency or the 1st or 2nd round of the draft. If we solidify our O-line in free agency then I really don't care where we go with our draft. If we wait til the draft to beef up our O-Line then we need to get LG Mike Iupati. I don't care how we do it! That guy needs to be in a Seahawk uniform come spring time.

Kip Earlywine said...

I like Iupati a lot, but right now I'm willing to trust Alex Gibbs' ability to make a good line out of couch change. That said, if Iupati is still there at #40, it will be very hard to understand passing on him.

Vince Mulcahy said...

I don't see the need for wr in the first round this year. If we were able to provide more protection for our qb through an OT and at least an average running game that would allow us to have a much more balanced attack. Let alone free up carlson to do what he does best: catch passes.

But good notes on Bryant Kip. Gotta be aware of every top prospect.

Ralphy said...

Take it from someone who saw virtually every OSU game while Bryant was there. He is fearless across the middle and it usually takes more than one guy to bring him down. He is an absolute warrior as far as playing through injuries. Watch the hits he took in the Holiday Bowl against Oregon (including the helmet under the chin that knocked him out) and he kept coming back from everyone of them despite having an injured knee. He rarely drops a ball and jumps as high as any WR I've ever seen. I do agree that sometimes he catches the ball with his body but he does display great hands. On top of this he is a great return man. I don't know that he'll run a very fast 40 but TO doesn't either and look how he has done in the NFL. I believe the two are very similiar.

I don't know the Hawks should use the #6 pick on a WR but if they do draft Bryant there I would be ok with it because he could be one of the playmakes that they desperately need.

CLanterman said...

Kip, I feel the same way about Dez Bryant. Crabtree with just a few more negatives here and there. He'd be a great addition to the team, but not someone I'd want at #6, though I certainly wouldn't cry over it if he were selected there. I don't think he'll last until #14 either, but if he does, I would love to take him there (but would still prefer Price).
I'm not sold on Damian Williams at 20 though since I feel as though it's much easier to get a Damian Williams (Housh, Engram type) than it is a Bryant type (Braylon, Vincent Jackson type). I'd rather take my chances with a Mardy Gilyard-type at the end of the 2nd beginning of the 3rd.

Kyle Rota said...

There are two trains of thought on Bryant, from what I've heard. The big difference is on explosion.

I was inclined to agree with Kip, originally. And I'm not sure that I disagree, I'm still firmly undecided until I really go over all the film I have on him.

As many of you are aware, I know a former NFL scout who still scouts guys. I was really surprised to hear that he, and several others, viewed Bryant (coming into the season) as being quite explosive. Not in the 4.28 type, but legitimate 4.4 speed. I couldn't figure it out, but I guess the key is explosion with the ball in Bryant's hands. He's slow to get up to speed off the LOS, but this can be coached. Supposedly, you see the burst right after Bryant gets the ball.

Again, I haven't seen this. To me, Bryant offers one thing Crabtree lacks and lakcs a few things Crabtree has: Bryant is a much better deep-ball WR - he gets downfield faster (long strides), gets more air when he jumps for the deep toss, has just as good of hands to pluck the ball, tracks the ball at least as well over his shoulder, and draws a ton of PI calls.

But for that added deep threat, especially if you don't think he is explosive, you pay for it. He's not anywhere near as consistent catching the ball (and may not be as good away from his body, but both players appear well above-average), doesn't set up his routes as well (with head-fakes, late breaks, etc.), and is prone to mental mistakes like penalties, drops, or fumbles. I do think he offers that deep dimension that Crabtree just doesn't offer, but you give up quite a bit. It's hard to tell how that fits into what the coaches want to do - Bates threw the ball deep a ton in Denver, rarely at USC... but there's a big swath of in-between from Jay Cutler to Matt Barkley.

Paul said...

I'm not satisfied with the idea of of getting a WR in the draft this year. I feel that we should re-sign Nate Burleson due to the rapport him and Matt have. TJ needs to connect with Matt this off season so they too can have that same rapport. I believe our break out WR is Deon Butler. This guy, with help from Jeremy Bates, possibly could be the next Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers. I feel that we have the receivers. They need better coaching. Our needs are Offensive Line. This is were our concentration needs be. The O-Line is the foundation to everything we do offensively and at the same time strengthen our D-Line physically and mentally. I wouldn't be surprised if Pete Carroll and Alex Gibbs allows Chris Spencer to move on. Rob Sims will possibly be re-signed but either for the RG position or a 2nd string lineman. I feel there will be a house cleaning on the O-Line.

Kip Earlywine said...

Thanks for your thoughts Kyle. I hope you get a chance to scout Bryant, because I think he's probably the most likely non-QB option at #6.

As far as explosiveness goes, I sometimes wonder if its possible for a player to possess "deceptive" explosiveness or burst. After all, a player can have deceptive speed. I'd like to think there isn't such a thing, just because evaluating players is tricky enough already.