From our friends at the National Football Post
Trusted sources close to the National Football Post have just informed me that Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree, Ohio State running back Beanie Wells and Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin all intend to declare for the 2009 NFL Draft in the very near future.
The 6’3, 214 pound Crabtree caught 97 passes (8th nationally) for 1,165 yards (13th) and 19 touchdowns (2nd) this season while leading the Red Raiders to an 11-2 record.
Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin caught 102 passes (6th) for 1,260 yards (11th) and 13 scores for the Tigers this past year. Maclin was a consensus All-American in 2007. He’s scheduled a press conference for Friday morning to announce his decision to turn pro.
Ohio State running back Chris “Beanie” Wells carried the ball 207 times for 1,197 yards (5.8 YPC) and 8 touchdowns this season for the Buckeyes, despite missing three games due to injury. Most recently, Wells racked up 106 yards on 16 carries in Ohio State’s 24-21 Fiesta Bowl loss to Texas.
Where will all three end up come April? According to National Football Post draft expert Wes Bunting:
Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech
An ultra productive wide out that uses his blend of size (6’3) and body control to consistently make plays on the outside. Runs very clean, precise routes for a man his size and has the ability to separate on all levels. Crabtree is a natural receiver with good hands and strong wrists. He’s a consistent jump ball threat that displays the body control to contort and pluck the ball away from his body. Displays good burst in and out of his breaks and showcases the body control to sink his hips and explode out of his routes. He isn’t a burner, but has enough speed to get behind defenses. Exhibits the ability to create yards after the catch and is dangerous on bubble screens and shallow crossing routes. Is physical at the line of scrimmage and displays the wiggle and power to beat jam coverage and work into his routes quickly. Has very little flaws to his game and might be the most polished receiver prospect to come out since Keyshawn Johnson.
Crabtree looks like the safest pick in this years draft and will likely go somewhere within the first ten picks. The Seattle Seahawks and their west coast offense look like a natural fit for Crabtree at pick four. Also, the Oakland Raiders are in desperate need of a number one type wide out for quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Crabtree would certainly be the type of receiver that owner Al Davis would be looking for. Other possible destinations include the Jacksonville Jaguars at pick eight and the San Francisco 49ers at pick ten.
Jeremy Maclin WR Missouri
Maclin exhibits elite speed (4.38) and explosion for the receiver position. Possesses good overall size, at 6-1, 200 pounds and demonstrates impressive athleticism for his size. Showcases great body control and quickness in and out of his breaks and displays the ability to change direction on a dime. Has improved dramatically as a receiver since last season and led Missouri with 102 receptions for 1,260 yards. Is a consistent deep threat that has the ability to run by corners and get down the field. Has the shiftiness to beat bump coverage off the line, as well as eat up cushions in off-coverage quickly. He still needs to become a better route runner, as he has a tendency to round his routes at times and lacks sharpness out of his breaks. But, Maclin is a dynamic punt/ kick returner that displays the vision and athletic ability to take it the distance every time he touches the ball. Is dynamic in the open field and is very dangerous after the catch. Has the ability to go from 0-100 in two steps and gets up to speed instantly. He reminds some scouts from an athletic standpoint of Bears receiver Devin Hester, but he is a far more polished pass catcher and route runner.
Maclin will battle Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree to be the first receiver off the board in April. Expect Maclin to be drafted some time during the early to middle stages of round one. It is a known fact that Raiders owner Al Davis is always enticed by speed, and Maclin has plenty to burn. If Maclin runs as well as expected at the combine, the Raiders are a definite landing spot for Maclin at pick seven. Also, expect the Bears to have interest in him at pick 18, as Chicago is still in desperate need of a top receiving threat.
Chris “Beanie” Wells RB Ohio State
A thick, well built back with a rare blend of quickness and speed for his size. He possesses great change of direction skills and the ability to make a man miss in the hole. Runs with a good pad level and gets north-to-south quickly. Displays the power and lower body strength to drive his legs and pick up yards after contact. Isn’t a burner in the second level, but gets up to speed quickly and has the first step to accelerate away from defenders out of his breaks. Displays some wiggle in space, has the footwork and change of direction skills to generate yards in the open field. Doesn’t make a lot of men miss in the open field, but uses his lateral ability more on cutback runs at the line of scrimmage. Exhibits good vision inside, but has taken his fare share of knocks already in his career. His durability and passion for the game are both causes for concern at the next level.
However, he is a dynamic runner and can be the type of work horse back that can carry the load inside and wear down opposing front sevens.
Although many have questioned the toughness and passion of Wells, he still rates as one of the top backs in this year’s draft. Expect Wells to come off the board sometime during the early to mid portions of the first round, as he will battle Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno to be the first RB off the board. The Cincinnati Bengals at pick six look like a possible landing spot for Wells. The Bengals are in desperate need of a lead back and Wells would certainly fill that void. Also, Wells could draw significant interest from the New Orleans Saints and the Philadelphia Eagles, both of which are in need of a bigger, more physical back.