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Draft Talk: Wide Receivers

On Sunday night, agent Drew Rosenhaus made his weekly appearance on a local TV station.  Among some of the things Drew talked about was what the Dolphins are planning to do - in his opinion - with that 25th overall draft pick in April's draft.  Said Rosenhaus:

"The Dolphins are definitely, in my opinion, going to take a receiver with the No. 1 pick. There's too much talent there ... Dolphins fans, this is your year to get a receiver in the first round even at No. 25."

A couple things jump out here.  First, it's important to remember that Rosenhaus is an agent - and agents are always looking for ways to help themselves and their clients.  So it's very possible that Rosenhaus and his "Dolphins are definitely going to take a receiver" opinion is nothing more than posturing.  I'm not sure off the top of my head if Drew is representing any of the top receivers in this year's draft, but I'm sure he has some kind of ulterior motive here.

Secondly, we know the Dolphins are among the tightest-lipped teams in the NFL.  There's no way Drew or Omar Kelly or anyone else has any reliable information on what the Fins plan on doing at #25.

And thirdly, like some Dolphin fans like to do, Drew takes backhanded shot at Ted Ginn, telling Fin fans that this is the year we get a WR in the 1st round.  But that's fine - I still believe in Teddy and I'm sure many of you do, too.

But moving on to the meat of this, I thought it would be a good time to at least humor Drew and focus some attention on the draft's top wide receives - ones that could be potential targets of Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland at some point on day one of the draft.

Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech (6'1 1/8, 215)
Arm - 34 1/4, Hand - 9 1/4

Crabtree is the best receiver available in the draft - bar none.  And despite the stress fracture in his foot, he's a lock to be a top 10 - possibly top 5 - pick.  So there's no need to waste any time on him.

Jeremy Maclin, Missouri (6'0 1/8, 198)
40 - 4.46, Arm 32 1/4, Hand - 9 1/4

Maclin's probably the consensus #2 receiver in this class and is another one likely to be gone by the time the Dolphins pick.  He's a threat to score everything he touches the ball - either as a receiver or a returner.  Look for him to come off the board somewhere in the mid-teens.

Percy Harvin, Florida (5'11 1/8, 192)
40 - 4.41, Arm - 31 5/8, Hand - 9 3/8, Bench - 19

Now we're getting down to the potential targets at pick #25 - though I don't think Harvin lasts that long.  Percey is an explosive, versatile player - possibly the most dynamic player in the draft.  But he doesn't have experience playing in a pro-style offense and might be raw as a receiver.  But, in all honesty, Harvin is very similar to Ted Ginn - meaning it's unlikely the Fins would even take him if he was still on the board.  So there's no need debating his strengths and weaknesses at this point.  The Dolphins need a big receiver.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland (6'1 5/8, 210)
40 - 4.30, Arm - 33 5/8, Hand - 9, Bench - 16

This is the guy receiver who most impressed me at the Combine.  His 4.3 40 yard dash was the fastest by anybody there (though the DBs are set to workout on Tuesday).  His 38.5 inch vertical was 5th among the receivers.  And he displayed very soft hands in his on-field work.  The reservations people have, though, about Heyward-Bey are all fair points.  He's very raw as a route runner and, from some of the film I've seen on him, he doesn't catch the ball "naturally" at times (if you know what I mean).  He has a track background - which explains his inexperience.  And at times down at Maryland, he had a tendency to go quiet for long stretches, meaning consistency play in and play out could be an issue.  But these are all things that can be fixed with coaching and experience.  And his upside is unlimited, to be honest.

Kenny Britt, Rutgers (6'2 7/8, 218)
40 - 4.47, Arm - 34, Hand - 9, Bench - 23

As many of you know, I'm one of the many here in this community that love Britt.  And his impressive sub-4.5 40 cements Kenny's status as one of the best receivers in the draft.  For my money, he's probably the 3rd best behind Crabtree and Maclin.  The thing that's most impressive about Britt (aside from his impressive speed for a big guy and great strength for a receiver) is how he always tends to make plays at the most critical moments of a game.  And I'm not exaggerating here.  He's a big-time play-maker and isn't afraid of crunchtime.  At RU, Britt ran tremendous routes and, despite being the clear go-to guy this past season (and having an average at best QB throwing to him), he averaged 7 receptions for 114 yards per game.  And his career 17.1 yards per catch is remarkable.

Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina (6'0 3/4, 212)
40 - 4.54, Arm - 33 1/2, Hand - 10 1/2

I was a little disappointed with where Nicks measured in at.  I thought he'd be 6'1 to 6'2.  But he's a very good player who will run good routes and make the tough catch.  Though he lacks great speed, he's really as polished as a receiver can come when entering the NFL  - which says a lot coming from North Carolina (not the best football program in America).

Brian Robiskie, Ohio State (6'2 7/8, 209)
40 - 4.51, Arm - 31 1/2, Hand - 9 5/8

Robiskie is a guy I really wanted to see work out at the Combine this weekend.  And that's because he wasn't ever really the focal point of Ohio State's offense - so he couldn't ever showcase his skills.  Of course, being the son of an NFL receivers coach (former Dolphin WR coach, by the way), you knew Brian would be a fundamentally sound player.  And his college tape shows that.  He's got excellent hands and is an amazing route runner - he knows how to get open.  He might be the most polished WR in this draft.  But I wondered about his measurables.  Not anymore.  His 4.51 40 time was very impressive for a man who stands nearly 6'3.  His 37.5 inch vertical was the 9th highest among all WRs in the draft.  And he seemed to catch everything that was thrown to him - a natural pass-catcher.  He could be a possible target in round 2.

Louis Murphy, Florida (6'2 3/8, 203)
40 - 4.42, Arm - 33 5/8, Hand - 10, Bench - 12

I'm sure a lot of you Dolphin fans who are also Florida Gator fans can go on and on about Murphy.  I'll just add that I was surprised with how fluid he looks when he runs - and how fast he can move - for a big guy.  And I like the fact that he'll go across the middle without a second though.  That kind of toughness you can't teach.  But his inexperience would worry me a bit.  And considering he's a Florida receiver - meaning he has limited experience running the route tree - I'd be cautious i selecting Murphy too early.  Maybe a late 2nd round pick, but I'd feel better about taking him if he was around in round 3.

Mid to Late Round Intriguing Prosepcts

Ramses Barden, Cal Poly (6'6, 229)
40 - 4.61, Arm - 34 1/2, Hand - 10 3/4, Bench - 17

Like a lot of teams the Dolphins are reportedly intriguied by this small-school prosepct.  And how could you not be?  His 4/61 40 is impressive for a 6'6, 230 pound man.  He's very athletic and will go up and get the football.  The question is how long Barden lasts on draft day.

Dominique Edison, Stephen F. Austin (6'2 1/8, 204)
40 - 4.45, Arm - 32 1/2, Hand - 8 1/2

This is a guy who might be worth a 6th or 7th round flier.  He, too, comes from a small school.  But he put up an eye-popping 18 touchdowns last year.  He's very athletic, but would be raw and need time to develop.

Aaron Kelly, Clemson (6'4 1/2, 204)
40 - 4.55, Arm - 32 3/4, Hand - 9 1/2, Bench - 11

Kelly had a very good junior year before having a disppointing senior season at Clemson.  But he worked out well at the Combine, including a 38 inch vertical, and has the height that many teams (including the Dolphins) are looking for.  Coming from a more well-known school will help him, too - as teams might shy away from the small-school prospects.  I think his Combine numbers helped him work his way into this draft's 7th round.  If the Dolphins hold off on taking a WR earlier, Kelly would be an interesting guy to take a shot on.