Reggie Brown, Philadelphia Eagles: At Georgia Reggie Brown was considered the WR2, even though he ended up being more productive than Fred Gibson, his teammate. Guess what position Brown will take with the Eagles? Donovan McNabb got a whole lot better when Terrell Owens came to town. Every fantasy owner is looking for that future number one, but when a guy like Reggie Brown fits a role that’s perfect for him, he’s going to be immediately productive, a la Keary Colbert.
Mark Bradley, Chicago Bears:
Here is proof that Mushin Muhammed, recently signed for uber-bucks by the Bears, won’t be as good this year. While the Browns have a bunch of WR2s, the Bears have a bunch of WR3s, so drafting a receiver so high was a good move.
What does this mean for Bradley? Bradley was a late-bloomer at Oklahoma. He transferred from Arkansas-Pine Bluff and was the team’s WR3 for most of 2004. He averaged more than 20 yards a catch and had seven touchdowns in 23 catches. Can the Bears wait for him to develop? If you’re a dynasty drafter, you’ll have to give Bradley a couple of years.
Roscoe Parrish, Buffalo Bills: Parrish is a must if you’re going for an all-name team. The Bills love drafting receivers lately. The selected Josh Reed in the first in 2002 and, far more successfully, plucked Lee Evans in last year’s draft. With Eric Moulds and Evans in the mix, the Bills just need Parrish to occasionally slide in as a WR3 and return some kicks. Parrish is tiny, and his upside is kind of Santana Moss-lite.
Terrence Murphy, Green Bay Packers: Colleges sure are churning out a lot of 6’1, 200-pound guys, aren’t they? Murphy is another guy who played QB in high school. His college numbers aren’t that impressive but Texas A&M isn’t that much of a passing team. What’s interesting is that he went to a team in the Packers who a) already have an
underachieving Texas A&M alum on their roster and b) seem to have three pretty solid receivers on their roster already. Murphy fails the opportunity test.
Vincent Jackson, San Diego Chargers: Now here’s an intriguing prospect. Jackson played at Division II Northern Colorado. He has Mike Williams size with a little more speed. You want production? He caught 146 passes for more than 2,800 yards and 32 yards in his last two years. If you’re going to be an early NFL draft pick from a small school you have to be highly productive. Jackson’s size and the Chargers’ lack of top receivers makes him a guy with that most dreaded of words, upside.
Courtney Roby, Tennessee Titans: Now it’s time to talk about my team. Roby has a good draft situation simply because the Titans went into the draft with two rostered receivers. He played at one of the worst 1-A programs in the country (Indiana) and put up solid numbers. Roby’s a bit smaller than the prototypical NFL receiver, but so was Derrick Mason. Mason also took a while to develop.
Chris Henry, Cincinnati Bengals: Henry was considered a possible second-rounder, so his slip into the third was a good thing for the Bengals. He was talented but struggled with maturity in college. Henry certainly has WR1 skills and size. With Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh entrenched as starters, Henry will have to wait his turn. With Peter Warrick returning, I don’t even know how much Henry will see the field this year. Oh well, they were patient with Carson Palmer.
Brandon Jones, Tennessee Titans: I said that the Titans need receivers. Jones is the third Oklahoma receiver taken in the 2004 draft. I guess they were good or something. His 27 catches, 12.8 average per catch, and three touchdowns isn’t terribly impressive. His junior numbers were better, and the Sooner had a guy named Adrian Peterson last year. He has solid size and pretty enough combine numbers. Like I said before there’s a lack of receivers in Nashville so he could break out as well as any of the other drafted receivers.
Jerome Mathis, Houston Texans: Mathis is a small-school track star. He averaged a staggering 29.8 yards per catch in his senior year at Hampton. His build is slight but he’s a genuine burner. Scouts are high on this guy. Jabar Gaffney is slowly developing, Corey Bradford re-signed but will be gone next year, and Derick Armstrong will compete for touches. Mathis looks like a good slot guy for now.
Craphonso Thorpe, Kansas City Chiefs: Want to win your league’s all-name title? Here’s your first-round pick. Thorpe is a dynasty-only selection. He might have come out after the 2003 season but he broke two bones in his right leg in a late-season game. His 2004 numbers were only OK, but the first year after major surgery can be like that. Thorpe was on the FSU track team before the injury. He’s really fast and the Chiefs are in serious need of some receivers once Eddie Kennison and Johnnie Morton retire.
Chase Lyman, New Orleans Saints: Lyman is a big, strong receiver with solid speed. He’s an injury waiting to happen, so he should get along with Donte Stallworth. He missed the 2002 season with a torn hamstring, and he tore a knee ligament four games into the 2004 season. If Stallworth fails to develop, Lyman has a spot in New Orleans. I’d say his peak is a WR2. Draft accordingly.
Fred Gibson, Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers have had decent luck with Georgia receivers. Gibson was a WR1 at Georgia who played like a WR2 at times. He’s a big guy with good but not great speed. The Steelers have plenty of receivers, so Gibson can take time to develop. The Steelers aren’t a pass-first team, so don’t expect spectacular results from Gibson any time soon.
Roydell Williams, Tennessee Titans: Did I mention that the Titans need receivers? I’m running out of material. Williams was a last-second addition to the Senior Bowl and did a solid job. He was a four-year all-conference performer in Conference USA and had 35 career touchdown catches. He has good size and speed. His consistency in school makes him the early favorite, in my book, to be the Titans’ WR3 this year.
OK, that’s through round four of the draft. I’ll pick up with Airese Currie tomorrow.