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Scouting the 2007 Draft: Ted Ginn

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Before I get to the scouting report of Ted Ginn, there was some Dolphin news today, as the Dolphins signed tight end Aaron Halterman on Wednesday and cut Norman LeJeune, Jack Hunt, and Chris Davis.  

Now, onto the scouting report.  This installment was written by Sean of Around the Oval, SB Nation's Ohio State blog.  Here is what he thinks about Ted Ginn Jr.:

Strengths
Speed, speed, and more speed. Ted Ginn was the fastest person on the field every time he stepped on it. He was a state track champion in high school, and there was talk of him training in hopes of trying to qualify for the Olympics when he came to Ohio State. That may have been so much hyperbole, but Ginn is without question one of the fastest players in football. He accelerates quickly enough to get great separation from corners and to render initial pursuit angles useless on kick returns, and when he hits top speed, he is virtually impossible to catch. He has not shown incredible agility, but he can certainly make guys miss, and with his speed, that may be all he needs. In short, he's the stereotypical "threat to score every time he touches the ball."

His work ethic should also be noted, I feel. He came to Ohio State as a cornerback, and practiced at that position through most of the preseason. The coaches decided to move him to the offensive side of the ball just before the start of the season, and Ginn not only made the switch without complaint, he worked hard enough that he became a significant contributor, to the point where the coaches started to design plays and formations around him. Since then, he's worked to become a legitimate receiver, not just a guy to run gimmick plays for a dozen times a game. Every year he's gotten much better, and he is now a receiver who happens to be an extremely fast guy, not the other way around. So while he still needs to work on many parts of his game, he's shown that he is willing and able to do just that.

Weaknesses
Ginn's speed, or more specifically his confidence in it and his desire to use it, may also be his biggest weakness. He has a desire to take every pass for as long a gain as possible. As a result, he won't settle for shorter gains from hook or slant routes when he can run sideways or backwards and potentially gain more yardage. This leads to exciting plays and sometimes pays off very well, but more often he would be better off, or at least no worse off, by just settling for the extra yard or two after the catch he'd get by just running forward. I expect that will be even more true at the next level.

The other part of that is that Ginn occasionally does the whole "run without actually catching the ball first" thing. When he tries, he can make some pretty decent catches; he'll probably never have great hands, but he's capable of making all the catches you'd expect a wide receiver to make. But too often Ginn worries about turning upfield on hooks or outs and he drops what should be an easy catch. I think it's more a matter of concentration than ability; with work (and a coach yelling at him about it on every play), it's probably a correctable issue.

His other weakness isn't correctable. At six feet tall and 180 pounds, Ginn doesn't exactly possess prototypical receiver size. This isn't necessarily a major liability; Ginn doesn't need to be a giant to be effective. However, you'd like your true number one receiver to have the size to take a hit over the middle and to have the height and leaping ability to fight for jump balls and win. Ginn doesn't have any of that, and that is certainly a drawback.

Outlook
The place where Ginn could make the biggest impact immediately is in the return game. He's made significant improvements as a receiver, but he's still at his best when he's returning punts and kicks. Ginn has the speed, acceleration, agility, and vision to be one of the best return men in the NFL.

As a receiver, Ginn will likely need the right situation to be successful, at least initially. I don't think he'll be able to carry all aspects of a receiving game the way a Calvin Johnson might. If a team already has a capable possession receiver to handle the shorter routes, drafting Ginn to stretch defenses would be a good move. Ginn was reasonably effective in the short passing game at Ohio State, but he'll be better utilized in the NFL when he's turned loose on deep routes.

Best Case Comparison: Steve Smith, an undersized guy who is nevertheless an excellent receiver and a threat to score every time he touches the ball.
Worst Case Comparison: Dante Hall, a great return man who doesn't make a significant contribution to the offense.

I don't know about you, but I don't think the reward outweighs the risk.  I seriously don't feel comfortable taking a player who could turn out to be a Dante Hall type player with the 9th overall pick.  It seems to risky to me.  Like I've said before, I think if Miami was to take a receiver in the first round, it should be Dwayne Jarrett.  However, like many of you, I'd prefer if the Dolphins didn't go receiver early in this draft.  That is, unless trading up for Calvin Johnson is a possibility (he did run a 4.33 40 recently).