Pros: Has elite burner's speed and with incredible acceleration. Has good hands and nice body control. Dangerous as a returner and after the catch. Works very well on screens, reverses, and slants because of his burst and acceleration. Lays out for ball. Gets a quick release. Shows willingness as a blocker downfield.
Cons: Drops some passes and needs to improve his concentration. Doesn't always attack the ball, letting it come to him. Not physical, and tends to shy away from contact. Will probably have difficulty beating the jam.
Overview: Maclin is a big play receiver that can provide an instant spark to an offense, but lacks the polish and ability to keep it consistently burning. His return abilities is really what excites you and has Devin Hester-like ability there. Tore his right ACL just prior to his freshman year in 2006 missing the entire season. But I don't think it affected his speed. Had ankle, knee, and hip injuries that limited him during the season, but didn't miss a game. Hyperextended his left knee at the Combine. Had 5 combined touchdowns as a return man. Scored 33 total touchdowns in 28 career games.
NFL Forecast: You sort of wonder whether he will be an impact returner because you got to think that teams won't take their chances kicking to him on his collegiate reputation alone. There's no need to take that chance. I could see it happening that the first game, first return he takes to the house. And from that point on, I'm not kicking to him ever again. But his potential on field position alone will be a huge asset to teams. As a receiver, he's improved, but still lacks the natural instincts I think to really develop there. He'll make a decent vertical threat as a No. 3 guy working in the slot. But he'll be limited as a starter. He's the type of guy that you could get 30-40 passes to annually, but not going to be reliable guy. He's a playmaker that you're going to want to find ways to get the ball in his hands. He'll be a better decoy and situational player in that way, akin to a Reggie Bush. You'll need to get him 10 touches a game, but most times that will come on returns, screens, and reverses rather than him getting that many targets in the passing game.
ATL Forecast: He'd certainly solve the team's return issues, but won't be an upgrade over the current trio of receivers. But his big play potential and the fact that defenses have to respect his speed would be a significant contributor to the offense. His speed would draw double teams away from other receivers , opening up the playbook even further. He gives the Falcons basically another Norwood that has home run ability every time he touches it.
Value: Maclin because of his big play potential and the fact defenses must account for him every down is worth a late first round pick. His return abilities alone could arguably merit that high a pick. But purely judging as a receiver, he'd be a fourth round pick at best.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
AFTER CATCH: 5.0
BODY CONTROL: 3.0
Scouting Reports of wide receivers in the 2009 NFL draft.
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