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NFL Draft: Player Profiles - Michael Crabtree

With thoughts about who the Rams should take at 1.2 swinging one direction and then another, polarising opinions on how best to solves our recent woes, I figured doing some Prospect Profiles may well help clear up the picture.

One of the most opinion dividing players linked with the Rams is Texas tech’s standout wide-receiver Michael Crabtree, so where better to start!

Micheal Crabtree:

Height – 6’3”
Weight – 214lbs
Approx 40 time – 4.45-4.65seconds

Stats:

2007 – 13 games – 134 receptions – 1,962 yards – 22 TDs
2008 – 13 games – 97 receptions – 1,165 yards – 19 TDs
TOT – 26 games – 231 receptions – 3,127 yards – 41 TDs

Averaged 120.3 yards and 1.6 touchdowns per game in college.

Holds NCAA records for Freshman Receptions (134), Freshman Yards (1,962), Freshman Touchdown Receptions (22), Longest Streak of Games with at least 5 catches at a TD (13). Is the only player to ever win the Paul Warfield trophy twice. Is the only player to ever win the Biletnikoff Award twice. Unanimous All-American first team in ’07 & ’08. 5th in 2008 Heisman voting.

Summary

Crabtree has long arms, great hands and can make circus catches. He attacks the ball and times his jumps to perfection. He has good instinct and provides his quarterback with a reliable target. He is elusive, has great footwork and is great after the catch. He is willing to go over the middle and ‘make a play’. Has a good frame and decent height. His immense production goes against claims he is a “product of the system” in Leach’s offense. Has questionable route-running due to the style of offense he played in. Straight-line speed is a concern as he may not be able to create consistent separation in the NFL.

NFL comparisons

Larry Fitzgerald - Crabtree has chosen to leave college football after his sophomore season, just like Larry Fitzgerald. Fitty is 6’3” and 220lbs (MC - 6’3” & 214lbs) and in 26 games (26) made 161 catches (231), 2,677 yards (3,127) and 34 touchdowns (41).

Videos

Top 10 Crabtree Plays in 2007 (3:31)
Crabtree 2008 Highlights (4:40)
Freshman Interview with Desmond Howard (4:53)

Conclusion

Crabtree looks like the real deal. He has fantastic college production that outstrips even the phenom that is Fitty. The issue naysayers have with him is his lack of breakaway speed, and to a lesser extent, his unknown to run NFL routes. His followers will of course point to Fitty’s own 40 time as proof that you don’t have to be lightening fast to be a top NFL wideout, but we must remember that Larry is a freak of nature. A two time winner of the Paul Warfield & Biletnikoff Awards is a first in NCAA history and an incredible achievement. By winning both awards in the same year he puts himself amongst an elite group in recent years that includes Randy Moss (1997), Larry Fitzgerald (2003), Braylon Edwards (2004) and Calvin Johnson (2006), but also NFL busts Troy Edwards (1998) and Charles Rogers (2002).

Should the Rams take him?

At first glance it appears that Crabtree would be a luxury pick for the Rams, but delve a little deeper and a case can be made. The Rams only have $8m in cap room, with an unsettled Tory Holt expected to take up $10m. It isn’t too difficult to see the organisation make a break with Holt now it has overhauled the coaching staff, taking us a long way from our former ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ glories. If Holt leaves, the Rams would want a big-bodied guy to go opposite Avery, leaving Burton to play in the slot. You would think the Rams would want to lock-up our own Free Agents, namely Atogwe, Bartell and Adeyanju, before playing the FA market, which we have very little cap wiggle to do so. The successful draft strategy is often one of ‘Best Player Available’ and Crabtree could certainly be that when we are on the clock. Also, should a franchise pass on a game changing player such as Crabtree to address a need? Debate is still rife on whether any of the OT class are elite prospects and it may even be possible to draft a starter at 2.2. Top LB Aaron Curry is an OLB when the Rams need an ILB and although he supposedly projects well to move inside, why risk it at 1.2? Is anyone willing to trade up so the Rams can move down and take a need at a more suitable position? I am struggling to see who would right now!

Although wide-receivers can be very hit and miss coughcoughCharlesRogerscouughcough Michael Crabtree has clearly shown enough in his two years in college football to mark himself as a worthy pick at 1.2. If Holt leaves I can see the merits in picking him as the extra cap room makes us a bigger player in FA to target some positions we missed on in the draft as a result of taking Crabtree. If Holt stays, it’s a tough call as without the blow-you-away speed of an Andre or Calvin Johnson, you aren’t a ‘sure thing’ in the NFL.


CREDIT TO:

Michael Crabtree’s Wikipedia Profile
Michael Crabtree’s ESPN Profile
Texas Tech’s Player Profile
FFToolbox’s Crabtree Profile
ESPN story on Crabtree declaring for the NFL Draft
Suite101 Top 6 College Prospects
Walter Football
Mocking the Draft
NFLDraftScout’s Michael Crabtree Profile

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