Jarett Dilliard, 2009 NFL Draft Prospect

Wide Receiver

5′ 11″ 168 lbs.

Speed: 4.38 (est)

Rice University


Strengths: Quickness, hands, vertical jump, route running, experience, production

Weakness: Size, level of competition

What, an NFL caliber receiver from Rice? That must be a misprint. THE Rice, that for years ran the old wish bone offense? The same Rice that has sent just three wideouts to the NFL Draft in the last three decades and has never had a 1,000-yard receiver? Yes, that legacy has changed with the emergence of Jarrett Dillard.

His production on the field in 2006 as a sophomore was nothing short of breath taking. Rice finished the 2006 season with 91 catches for 1,247 yards and 21 touchdowns. That’s not a typo, 21 touchdowns!

Dillard was an Associated Press All-America second team selection and a Biletnikoff Award finalist in 2006. He finished the season with a Rice single-season record 91 receptions. He has had 12 consecutive games with a touchdown reception, which ties an NCAA single-season record and extends Dillard’s overall streak to 14 games dating back to the 2005 season. He trails only Pittsburgh’s Larry Fitzgerald, who caught a touchdown in 18 straight games. On a side note, Rice was the only Division I school to offer him a scholarship.

Dillard didn’t have quite as strong of a season as a junior, Rice as a whole struggled and Dillard was subjected to constant double teams. He finished 2007 with 64 receptions for 881 yards and 11 TDs. He finished strong however, his last two games he combined for 24 receptions for 294 yards and 4 TDs. His mediocre junior year has lowered his draft stock and he has slipped in the rankings, but I still think he can be an effective slot receiver in the NFL, a player that comes in on third down and stretches the field.

Dillard entered his senior season as college football’s active career leader in all receiving categories. He was named to the Watch List for the 72nd Maxwell Award. The list is comprised of seventy-five players who were selected based on their performance during the 2007 season.

Dillard had another fantastic senior season, he finished (2008) as the all time touchdown leader in the history of college football with 60 career touchdowns. He was only the 10th player in NCAA history to exceed 4,000 career receiving yards. Dillard is extremely shifty, quick, has great hands is tough and runs great routes; and as you will see in the below video Dillard has a supreme vertical jump.

Dillard is only 175 pounds soaking wet, so he will have to gain some weight to hold up in the NFL, but his production on the football field will make him an excellent NFL Draft Prospect. If I were forced to compare him to a current NFL player, I would compare him to the Colt’s Marvin Harrison. Yes, it’s a little early to elect him into Canton, but he is definitely someone we should keep an eye on for the 2009 NFL Draft, where he could emerge as a 2nd or 3rd round “sleeper pick”.