NFL Draft Pressure Points: Wide Receiver

Last week, I wrote a post about what it will take for a top cornerback to fall to our 25th pick - which you can view by clicking here.  This time, let's look at what it will take for a receiver to fall.

We're going to look at the draft like we did last week - using what I like to call "pressure points."  But we're going to do this a little differently.  Rather than looking at the pressure points leading up to pick 25, we're going to look at the pressure points all the way to pick 44 to see what it will take for one of the draft's top receivers to fall to 44.

To begin, though, allow me to declare who exactly I'm claiming is a "top receiver" in this year's draft.  They are: Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt, Percy Harvin, and Brian Robiskie.  In my opinion, it's those seven - and then everyone else.

So let's begin looking at the pressure points:

Pressure Point #1: Pick 4 - The Seahawks are the first team that will consider a receiver on draft day.  But the signing of T.J. Houshmandzadeh could very well make Seattle address another need - possibly an offensive linemen, quarterback, or linebacker (if Aaron Curry is still on the board).

Pressure Point #2: Pick 5 - The Browns are shopping Braylon Edwards.  And regardless of if Edwards is traded by draft day or not, I think they are going to seriously consider Michael Crabtree if he's still available.  After all, their other starting WR, Donte Stallworth, has some legal problems and probably won't play in 2009.

Pressure Point #3: Pick 7 - The Raiders are always a wildcard on draft day.  But the Raiders have a need at receiver and Al Davis loves drafting skill position players - especially fast ones.  I'd be surprised if Oakland didn't go with a receiver here - though B.J. Raji could receive some consideration.

Pressure Point #4: Pick 8 - The Jaguars recently signed Torry Holt.  So this could allow them to wait on a receiver - or not draft one at all.  But Holt isn't young by any stretch of the imagination, so you can't rule out a WR here.

Picks 9 through 16 - I don't think a receiver is drafted anywhere in this range - barring a trade, of course.  The 49ers could take Crabtree if he was still on the board - but he won't be.  And no other team needs a first round receiver.

Pressure Point #5: Pick 17 - The Jets have a clear need at wide receiver after releasing Laveranues Coles earlier this offseason.  Their current starter opposite of Jerricho Cotchery is probably Chansi Stuckey or Brad Smith.  I think their pick will come down to either a QB - if one of the top three are on the board - or a receiver.

Pressure Point #6: Pick 22 - The Vikings signed Bernard Berrian last offseason, but could use a compliment to him - a possession receiver, perhaps.  Hakeem Nicks would make a lot of sense for them.  But they also need a right tackle and perhaps some defensive tackle help.

Pick 25: Miami Dolphins - As you can see, there is actually a good chance that only two receivers are off the board - possibly three - by the time the Dolphins are on the clock in round one.  Could that prompt Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland to take a corner or linebacker and gamble on a receiver falling to their 44th overall pick?

Pressure Point #7: Pick 26 - If the Dolphins pass on a receiver at 25, the team directly behind them could take one to help out their young stud quarterback.  A speedy deep threat like Heyward-Bey would make some sense here.

Pressure Point #8: Pick 27 - The Colts could always use some more firepower to make their offense even more explosive.  They could look at a first round receiver to help replace the production of Marvin Harrison.

Pressure Point #9: Pick 29 - The Giants need a receiver, but they could trade for Braylon Edwards by the time they are on the clock.  If they don't, Nicks, Britt, or Robiskie would make sense for them.  But I just don't know if the Giants want a rookie receiver.  They are built to win now and might not want to wait on a rookie to blossom.

Pressure Point #10: Pick 30 - The Titans have had a need at receiver for years now.  Is this the year they finally address their need in round one?  Again, Nicks, Britt, or Harvin would be logical choices here.

Pressure Point #11: Pick 35 - The Rams could use a receiver after letting Torry Holt go.  Donnie Avery, last year's second rounder, is going to be a good starter.  But they don't have much behind him for Marc Bulger.

Pressure Point #12: Pick 36 - If the Browns don't use their 5ht overall pick on a receiver, then I'm 99% certain they'll take one in round two.

Pressure Point #13: Pick 37 - As I said, the Seahawks don't need a receiver, but could take one if one of the top guys slips this far.

Pressure Point #14: Pick 39 - If the Jaguars choose to go with another position in round one, they could look for a young WR in round two.  After all, Holt is no spring chicken.

Pressure Point #15: Pick 40 - If the Raiders did pass on a receiver in round one, they'd almost certainly take one of the top guys here in round two.

Final Thoughts
After all this, I think we learned that it's far from a sure thing that one of the top receivers will be on the board at pick 44 (other than Robiskie, who is probably at the bottom of the draft's top WRs).  But receivers do have a tendency to fall on draft day - probably because of their high "bust" potential.

But if you think about it, these aren't 15 different "pressure points."  Some teams are listed twice, once in round one and again in round two.  There are 11 teams who, at some point before pick 44, could take a receiver.  But that number drops to 10 if you rule out the Giants - who are more likely to trade for Braylon Edwards than to draft a receiver.  Of those 10, you would then need 5 teams to pass on a receiver prior to pick 44 in order for one of the top 6 receivers (Crabtree, Maclin, Heyward-Bey, Harvin, Nicks, Britt) to fall.

Could you come up with a scenario where 5 of those teams pass on a receiver.  Of course.  The key, clearly, will be those teams drafting in the top 10 of both rounds.  The Rams, Seahawks, Browns, Raiders, and Jaguars all might be considered "high probabilities" to take a receiver in round one or two.

So what do you think?  Could a top receiver fall to pick 44?  And if the other 6 were gone, would you be in favor of the Dolphins taking Brian Robiskie?

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