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Posted on: April 10, 2009 4:30 pm
Edited on: April 10, 2009 6:29 pm

Frank Cooney: Top WR Prospects

"Not only are there a lot of receivers of first-round ability, but they have a variety of qualities to consider such as size, speed, agility," said San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Singletary. "There are different types of excellent receivers to consider, just a lot of talent."

According to ratings by NFLDraftScout.com, as many as five receivers may be taken in the first round -- all underclassmen -- and 10 in the first two rounds.

Topping the list is Texas Tech's extraordinary Michael Crabtree, who is expected to overcome recent foot surgery in time to perform his artistry as a rookie in the NFL. After him there is Missouri's Jeremy Maclin, a danger whenever the ball is in his hands, and Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey, who can cover about 20 yards in the time it takes to pronounce his name.

Here is a closer look at the wide receiver and tight end prospects:
Wide Receivers

1. *Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech, 6-2, 215

A bone scan at the combine in February found a stress fracture in his left foot that required surgery to insert a screw, but NFL teams seem comfortable that he will heal in time for this season and be ready for a great career. After only two years of college, Crabtree had nothing left to prove. He had 231 receptions for 3,127 yards and his 41 touchdowns shattered the previous NCAA two-year record of 34 by Larry Fitzgerald of Pittsburgh (2002-03).

Crabtree understands the nuances that most players take years to hone. His combination of abilities and instincts is shocking and reminiscent of Fitzgerald -- including start-stop, body control, hand-eye coordination, positioning, aggressive run-after-catch and some that defy description. And all this talent comes in a wide receiver who has a great team attitude. He may not impress with his clock time in 40 yards. But neither did Fitzgerald or Jerry Rice.


Frank Cooney is an analyst for NFLDraftScout.com.

Posted on: April 10, 2009 3:18 pm
Edited on: April 10, 2009 3:19 pm

Frank Cooney: Top RB Prospects








That list is topped by Georgia's Knowshon Moreno and Ohio State's Chris "Beanie" Wells, both of whom have spent a lot of time since the end of the season trying to get stop watches to confirm the speed scouts saw on film. They are followed by Connecticut's Donald Brown, who ran so effortlessly in games that he didn't appear fast, then he smoked through 40 yards at the combine in 4.48 seconds.

Following a trend, talented fullbacks are again few and far between and none are expected to be drafted in the first day. Here is a closer look at the top running backs and fullbacks in this year's draft (players' heights and weights are listed; *denotes underclassmen):

1. *Knowshon Moreno, Georgia, 5-11, 217

Many scouts think Moreno could be an instant difference-maker in the NFL because he parlays power and elusiveness to consistently move the ball, sometimes in large chunks. His quick, jump-cut moves are sometimes reminiscent of Barry Sanders or LaDainian Tomlinson, but his lack of elite speed will probably keep him out of top 10.

His best 40-yard dash time at the combine was only 4.58 seconds, and during his pro day he was ran even slower (4.60) because he was ill, thereby offsetting whatever improvement he had hoped to gain by working out hard at the Michael Johnson Performance Training Center. He also weighed 210 pounds at his pro day, seven lighter than at the combine, and looked very good as a receiver in positional drills.


Frank Cooney is an analyst for NFLDraftScout.com.



The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com