Pros: Has good size and athleticism. Has a sprinter's speed, acceleration, and burst. Does a good job stretching defenses. Does a nice job going up to play the ball high in the air. Dangerous after the catch and very good on screens and slants. Gets a good release off the line and accelerates quickly.
Cons: Not that aggressive going after the ball. Lacks toughness and plays soft. Will get alligator arms when he senses a hit. Doesn't like contact and can get outmuscled in traffic. Poor blocker for his size and gets pushed around by smaller defensive backs. Has some issues beating the jam. Lacks concentration, body catches and drops too many passes. Is a lazy route runner that lacks explosion into his breaks. Doesn't work when he's not getting the ball. Disappears for long stretches of games.
Overview: The comparisons to Randy Moss make a lot of sense. He was a non-factor in the bowl game vs. Nevada, and just seemed going through the motions because he had to be there. Three-year starter.
NFL Forecast: He's like Randy Moss, but where Moss had veterans like Cris Carter and Jake Reed showing him the ropes. Without them, I doubt Moss is the potential Hall of Famer we know him today. Unless Heyward-Bey gets a similar veteran that shows him the ropes, he's going to struggle. He's got bust written all over him. He has a poor work ethic, and unless he really show significant improvement in his desire, then I see him out of the league within three years. He's basically Charles Rogers, but lacks Rogers' physical gifts. He's too soft. He's a great athlete and you may be able to salvage some ability as a kickoff returner with him because of his track speed. He's truly a boom/bust prospect, and I think the balance weighs a lot more heavily to the bust side.
ATL Forecast: Heyward-Bey would have a better chance in Atlanta because of the veteran presences of Roddy White and Michael Jenkins, but he needs a Torry Holt or Marvin Harrison rather than those two guys. Roddy and Jenkins are a bit too young to be taking someone like Heyward-Bey under their wings. That's something for a 30-year old. So unless the Falcons can make him a valuable return man, he has little promise here in Atlanta. He's just too soft and inconsistent to be counted on as a receiver. Could be given a few plays for game on screens and reverses, but not nearly the playmaker that players like Maclin and Harvin are in similar roles.
Value: His upside alone means I'm going to have to take him at some point. But honestly, unless I had an older veteran like Isaac Bruce to show him what's what, I probably wouldn't draft him. But if I had such a player, then I might take him in the third round. But he's still too much a risk for Day 1 of the draft. Probably more than likely, I'll take him in the fourth.
Scouting Reports of wide receivers in the 2009 NFL draft.
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