Crabtree or Maclin? I'll pass on both


Recently, the NFL writers here on the FanSided.com Sports Network each wrote a brief blurb on who we each thought was the best prospect in the 2009 NFL Draft. You can read our choices here.

The overwhelming majority took the Mel Kiper sizzurp to the head and picked Michael Crabtree as theCrabs top dog. (Yours truly went with Baylor’s Jason Smith – but we’ll talk tackles at a later time)

Maybe I’m just a hater. Maybe I’m too much of a PAC-10 guy and just can’t stand the way the rest of the country acts like staying up late to watch quality athletics is a chore and not a love. (Hey, I don’t whine when I have to roll out of bed at 9am on a Saturday to catch UConn play Pitt, right?)

The undying truth is that I hate the spread offense. (Before you call me out, I know Bellotti runs it in Oregon. I hate it there too)

I’m a USC kinda guy. Pro-style baby!

Sure, the type of system you run in college has little to do with how you ball in the pros. But let’s be honest, the talent level from team to team in the NCAA is vastly different than the talent level in the NFL. Whenever somebody starts the “Florida Gators could beat the Detroit Lions” argument, I laugh and shake my head.

They have no idea how tough it is to be a scrub on the practice squad in the NFL.

Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin have been anointed as the receiving darlings of this big dance known as the 2009 NFL Draft. McShay and Kiper might argue over whether Matthew Stafford is the top pick, but both agree that Crabtree and Maclin are top 10 talents.

Pump your brakes and look at it without your Mel goggles on for a minute.

Yes, both men are talented athletes. I’m not going to toss out that dirty “bust” word on either of them. I’m sure both will be legit receivers at the next level.

My argument is that if you’re getting a receiver in the top 10, he’d better be more Andre Johnson than Braylon Edwards.

Crabtree was dynamic at Texas Tech, but can you truly tell how good a guy is when all he’s doing is taking two steps off the line and catching screens? How do you know he can get out of his breaks when he was running go-routes all the time? A lot of the routes he ran had nothing to do with his talent as much as it was the play calling.

Sure, he’s got good hands and can beat guys in the open field. But consider that Thomas Howard out runs most of the safeties in the Big 12 and you can see why I’m wavering.

Plus, coming up a few inches short at the combine made me do a double take. I’m not putting much stock in that height thing since Steve Smith is one of my favorite guys to watch. The fact is the Raiders need a big red zone target and at 6’3″ Crabtree looked like the guy, but at 6’1″ he looks more like Derrick Mason.

If we had no other choice at #7, I’d settle for Jeremy Maclin.

jeremy_maclinMaclin is a weapon that can be used in so many different ways. He’s a return specialist who will have an immediate impact in the NFL on special teams.

My issue with Maclin is that the guy can’t seem to stay healthy, not to mention his combine performance made me cringe. He didn’t look very comfortable running simple routes and making routine catches. Then the guy trips over the 30-yard line and thought he needed an MRI.

Marry his injuries with that ugly spread offense and I’m off the hook. Just like Crabtree, Maclin was given the ball in the open field and just needed to make guys miss.

Now he’s got legit speed, but if you think that what he did at Missouri will happen every Sunday against the big boys, then I’ve got a great quarterback named Chase Daniels you should draft too.

I know the Raiders badly need a weapon out wide for JaMarcus. I watched every game last year so I know how ugly it was.

With top notch receivers sitting out there, I must seem like the homeless guy who hasn’t eaten for a month shrugging off a dollar bill. But just humor me for a second here.

There were 22 1,000-yard receivers in the NFL in 2008. Take away Tony Gonzalez and that leaves 21 true wide receivers. Of the top 10 thousand yard guys, only Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson were selected in the top 10 in the draft. Of the rest of the top 10 receivers, only Reggie Wayne and Roddy White were first round picks.

Now tell me which of these guys played in the spread? In fact, name one receiver that played in the spread who has made a huge impact in the NFL. It’s really quiet out there in Austin right about now.

We’ve got a tight end, Zach Miller, who is going to make a Pro Bowl soon. Johnnie Lee Higgins has the look of a poor man’s Wes Welker.

So unless you can convince me that Michael Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin are going to be as dominant as Andre Johnson or will carry the Raiders to the big game like Larry Fitzgerald, then why even entertain a #7 overall.

I say get some protection for Russell in round one then snag a sleeper late like Kenny Britt , Brian Robiskie, or Ramses Barden.

But if you really want to know whose Kool-Aid I’m drinking as far as receivers go. Well, I’m drunk off that Hakeem Nicks lean.

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Tags: Andre Johnson Braylon Edwards Calvin Johnson Chase Daniels Derrick Mason Hakeem Nicks JaMarcus Russell Jason Smith Jeremy Maclin Johnnie Lee Higgins Kenny Britt Larry Johnson Matthew Stafford Mel Kiper Michael Crabtree Mike Bellotti Ramses Barden Reggie Wayne Roddy White Steve Smith Thomas Howard Todd McShay Tony Gonzalez Wes Welker Zach Miller

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com Scott

    I took Jason Smith as the top guy too. I agree about Crabtree. I think he’ll be good, but I’d take Britt and Robiskie later. Don’t like Maclin one bit. He’s a return man, nothing more. Not to say he can’t become a legit receiver (like Mason or Smith) but he needs work.

  • Raider73

    Disagree on Crabtree comparison to Mason: Crabtree is 6-1 & 200 pds whereas Mason is 5-10 190 pds. A closer comparison physically is Hines Ward at 6-1 200 pds. This comparison also works because neither has top notch speed but still find ways to be highly productive. Both have great football IQ’s and intangibles. I would take Ward at 7 in a heartbeat – as I would Crabtree

  • Raider73

    Like Ward but with more quickness and agility – and much more upside … Maclin is going be a legit big play threat but Crabtree is going to be a every down type receiver & a nightmare to defend

  • inonewordraider

    I really like Crabtree’s game and he will an impact receiver but gotta get OL and DL b4 we can be competetive. Randy Moss didn’t have enough time to get open during his stint

  • Raider73

    We do need to fill the trenches to get anywhere – but we cant pass on a talent like Crabtree … Crabtree, McFadden, and Russell will make an offensive trio that will shine for many years. Then we should go about filling our other needs. Also, when we had Moss we didnt have a QB to get him the ball, now we got the QB but no receivers that can get open consistently … CRABTREE!

  • Anthony

    You’re an idiot. You obviously watched no Big 12 football and are clearly bias towards the Pac-10. You must believe that Mark Sanchez is worthy of a top 10 pick too, right? Both of these guys are studs. You say you don’t put much emphasis on Crabtree but rebuttle that with since he’s not 6’3 that he’s more of a Derrick Mason caliber player. Sounds like his size difference seriously hindered your thoughts in my opinion. Maclin is up in the air for me because he doesn’t run very crisp routes and I see him more of a 3rd down receiver and a big return man. Crabtree is a steal and if your dreadful Raiders pass on this guy if he’s available, be prepared to pick in the top 10 again. Your argument clearly shows why your a blog writer and not a GM. This is a moot point anyway since I highly doubt Crabtree will be available at #7. He runs great routes, maybe you should view his highlights. His bread and butter are jail break screens but this guy is a nightmare to defend anywhere on the field. I hope the Raiders front office don’t listen to anything you’ve just said. By the way, great call on Jason Smith….how predictable, wanting to grab an offensive tackle. He’s so proven right and so was D’Brickashaw Ferguson, yes? Think before you speak.

  • Tortillared

    First of all, Crabtree may not be there at 7 for the Raiders to take. Second, Macklin isn’t nearly as good as Crabtree. Third pass on him and you will regret it for the next 10 years.

    Crabtree is great at route running and does more than take 2 steps, catch a screen, and run. He makes cuts without slowing down, flailing his arms, or tipping off the DB. He raises his hands to catch the ball at the last second. He is a decent blocker and understands running decoy routes. He is the real deal.

    Besides, Crabtree may not even be there for the Raiders to pass on. Detroit is talking about taking Curry, which is KC’s top choice. So KC takes a DE or Crabtree. St Louis needs to replace Pace and Holt. There are a dozen quality LT in this draft but only 1 playmaker at WR. Cincy needs to replace a departed WR and can only hold onto Ocho Cinco so much longer. So the Raiders may not have to worry about passing on Crabtree.

  • Raider73

    Maybe – but KC is more likely to draft a receiver in a later round than draft a receiver with health ?’s and pick a a LT or Curry if Detroit picks Stafford.
    St. Louis will also likely take a LT rather than take a wide receiver with ?’s, they need to protect Bulger.
    Cincy needs a LT if they want to hold on to Palmer and 85; plus they just comitted a four yr contract to Coles which tells you they wanted to adress that need in free-agency – and they’re still hoping on Henry.
    Any one of those teams may decide what the hell and pull the trigger on Crabtree anyways – but chances are they probably wont. Leaving the Raiders to snatch him – sorry jags but Al Davis is drooling over Crabtree’s possibilities

  • Joey DeLuca

    It’s nice to hear some Raider fans finally tell the truth about Moss. His first year numbers were fine until he got hurt. His second year, we put too much blame on the QBs. Shell & Co. had the OL so screwed up that they couldn’t run or pass block. The QB had no time and the O had no running game. I don’t know if Favre or Brady could have been successful. Plus, the center probably had a record for most botched snaps. It was a disaster and no wonder Moss wanted out of there.

  • http://www.myticketin.com Texans tickets

    I will agree with you about Nicks & Robiskie as being talented WR’s. Britt & Harvin aren’t in Crabtree nor Nicks league. Robiskie could be that guy.I do like the thought of trading down and would do it provided DT Peria Jerry, C Alex Mack, and WR Hakeem Nicks are available. If we could land two of these players and then get a starter in the 2nd then it’d be alright.

  • samiam2112

    I think it would be a large mistake to take Crabtree!!! A defensive player in that slot is a better fit considering we had the 31st ranked D… The young receivers looked pretty good late in the season. Maclin is not the answer either… To similar to Johnny-Lee’s skill set. We haven’t even really tapped McFaddens talent.

    I love Nix he has that something special he wont be there in the 2nd Round.

    Defense is what will help us win games… If by some miracle Orakpo is there that’s a difference maker. I would actually like to see us trade down if the top 3 defensive players are gone. Then take Nix, Brian Pettigrew or Michael Oher.

    I really would like it if they could get Patrick Chung out of Oregon in the later rounds he is a play maker! Also Max Unger would be a nice addition.

    We have weapons truly Michael Bush proved he could have some impact Zach Miller may be the best young TE’s in the league could you imagine Pettigrew and Miller as bookends in a 2 TE fomation…Scary!!!

    I just hope we can get better! That’s the goal!

  • James Scott

    Wonderful read.
    I couldn’t agree more.
    Crabtree and MAclin are OK but they just are not what I envision when I think top 10 stud WR.
    THey also played against some of the worse pass D I have ever seen in the B12.

    By the way hopefully your observation about spread offense WRs has been noted by the Raiders brain trust.

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