Oklahoma State Junior
PROS: Has good, strong hands. Has excellent speed and burst. A good runner after the catch because of his quickness and speed, but also can be physical and not afraid of contact. Has good body control and makes the catch in traffic with his good size. Attacks the ball in the air, and does a good job on vertical routes because he tracks the deep ball so well. Shows he can be an effective blocker downfield.
CONS: Will drop some easy passes from time to time. Needs to improve as a route-runner. Is a bit of a talker.
OVERVIEW: I didn't get the chance to see Bryant play this year before his suspension, so I'm basing this evaluation off what I saw from him last year. He was suspended for the rest of the season for lying to the NCAA about having a reportedly harmless dinner with Deion Sanders. I tend to see Bryant as a finesse player that I'm not sure deals with adversity.
NFL FORECAST: I have a similar opinion of Bryant that I did of Michael Crabtree last year. In terms of his physical ability, he's really second to none. He has the potential to be an elite receiver and will certainly be an asset to some NFL team. There's little doubt in my mind that Bryant will be a successful NFL receiver, he's just too talented. Like Crabtree, and other receivers of that ilk like Randy Moss and Terrell Owens, about 75% of the time, he's going to be a huge asset to an offense. But that other 25% of the time, he can actually be a detriment to your team because he doesn't have great character. And if that 25% of the time happens to come and January (and it often does), you're team is screwed because he can be a no show. And because of the other 75% of the time, he's so ingrained in what you do offensively, that essentially costs you games. I call these players "mercenaries" because they aren't guys you build around, but instead bring in later to get to the next level. The Eagles can't get past the NFC Championship game for three years, Owens comes in and they're in the Super Bowl. The Patriots haven't been to a Super Bowl in two years, Moss comes in and they are arguably one of the two greatest teams in NFL history. And who knows, maybe Bryant learns from guys like that, and "gets it" and shows more maturity and toughness as a young player. But I wouldn't bet it on. But then again, I wouldn't say that I would avoid Bryant. I just don't think he's a guy that can be great for everybody. On a bad team that doesn't have strong leadership, that 25% might grow to 50%. But on a good team, I'm not as concerned assuming I have other weapons to go to. If like Moss and Owens with Jerry Rice and Cris Carter, Bryant comes into the league as a second fiddle to a top receiver, then it's a slam dunk. But on a bad team where he has to be the No. 1 guy right off the bat and is working with a young or poor quarterback, I don't expect him to live up to those expectations. And while talent-wise they are very comparable, he doesn't have the sort of character of a Larry Fitzgerald, who can thrive on a bad team.
ATL FORECAST: Atlanta is one of those places were Bryant could thrive however. With Ryan, Roddy, and Gonzo to steer him in the right direction, he should be very good very soon. He's not perfectly polished, but as a situational and role player from the get-go, he can definitely contribute big plays. And he should overtake Jenkins as the starter by his second summer. The good thing about the Falcons is that he'd come in not to be some sort of savior, but instead he'd have to check his ego a bit and at least initially accept being a role player. Which he could thrive on because of his talent level, and then in time be integrated as a go-to star. He's one of the few players that I think could overtake Roddy as Ryan's favorite target within two or three years. And if watches and learns from Roddy, and aims to mirror some of his toughness and physicality (as Fitzgerald did from watching Boldin), then he'd be ridiculously good in Atlanta.
VALUE: He has the talent to be a Top 5 pick, but I'd rather take him in the No. 5-10 range because of his lack of strong character.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
AFTER CATCH: 4.0
BODY CONTROL: 4.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.