6-1/215 Texas Tech
Pros: Has good size and strength. Shows good burst and quickness. Accelerates quickly with good long speed. Has soft, strong hands and catches most things thrown to him. Has natural awareness and knows where he is on the field at all times, making him very good at reeling in passes on the sideline. Catches at the highest point and shows excellent body control and ability to adjust to the ball. Can be a tenacious blocker downfield. Is a natural runner in the open ﬁeld with good balance and can be dangerous on screens and reverses. Will lower shoulder and try to run over smaller defensive backs. Is a capable kickoff returner. Has good ability as a route runner because of his speed and burst.
Cons: Doesn't always get a good release, and wonder if he could have issues beating the jam at the next level. Concentration needs to improve at times as he'll drop some passes because he's thinking about what to do after catch before securing it. Can be tentative going across middle and at times will hear the footsteps. Can be a talkative player that is a prima donna. Looks for the highlight play too much. Not sure he has great mental toughness and doesn't respond all that well to adversity.
Overview: Crabtree is a complete receiver that basically the college game is too easy for him. He's a dominant player that you have to account for every single play. His mentor is Michael Irvin, and there are easy comparisons to make between them. Played with an injury all year long showing good toughness, but you wonder if he's going to be 100% by camp. Injury during the season was on his right ankle, but at the Combine it was a stress fracture in his left foot that was the cause for his surgery. Only returned 2 kickoffs in his career, but combined for 66 yards on them.
NFL Forecast: Because the college game was so easy to him, you wonder if he has the work ethic to make an immediate impact on the next level. People compare him to Larry Fitzgerald, but I'm not sure he has the same attention to detail and drive that Fitz had coming out of school. Crabtree could definitely be a great one, and right now I think he's too talented not to be a top wideout eventually down the road. But there are times when it's Michael Westbrook that he reminds me of more so than Fitzgerald. I think eventually that Crabtree will develop into a top wideout, but I'm not sure he will have a huge immediate impact. Best thing for him is to go to a team where he isn't the only weapon, but will be able to start out as a complement more so than the go-to receiver. I'm not sure that Crabtree is a leader, in the same way that I don't think Randy Moss and Terrell Owens are leaders. Irvin was a leader, but I don't think Crabtree has that same "it' factor in him. The injury is a minor concern, mainly because if he rushes back too early, it could put him out longer.
ATL Forecast: Crabtree could be a dominant player in Atlanta. He wouldn't have to worry about drawing double teams right away because of the presence of Roddy White across from him. And the question marks about his attitude probably wouldn't be as big a deal because Matt Ryan possesses the leadership ability to reel him into the program. Within a year or two, Crabtree would probably be the team's top wideout and would be annually striving for the century mark. He would complete the Falcons offense and damn near make it unstoppable.
Value: Crabtree is the most talented player in this draft and certainly worth a Top 10 pick. I just wouldn't necessarily take him No. 1 because of he's not a high character player. I'd still take him in the Top 5, but only if I wasn't going to force him to be the man right away.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
AFTER CATCH: 4.0
BODY CONTROL: 5.0
Scouting Reports of wide receivers in the 2009 NFL draft.
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