Michael Crabtree – a game-changing, play-making wide receiver who could jump-start a Seattle Seahawks offense in need of explosiveness – was the early fan favorite for Seattle to select with the No. 4 pick in Saturday’s NFL draft.
A quick glance at Crabtree’s stats during his playing days at Texas Tech confirms his ability to make flash bulbs light. Before declaring himself eligible for the draft, he totaled a college-record 231 catches in two seasons – 41 of which went for touchdowns. He twice won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best receiver, the first player to win it twice.
“He was there for two years, got the award for best receiver, and he’s out,” said Rob Rang, senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com. “That says it all right there. I mean this guy was phenomenally productive, and it’s not just the system. He’s that good.”
At 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, Crabtree is a physically gifted athlete who’s ready to contribute now. Some draft experts have compared him to Larry Fitzgerald in terms of the physical way he plays, the sure hands, and his ability to get into the end zone.
I disagree, i believe he is alot more comparable to Anquan Boldin in terms of his playing style, short bursts of speed, he really has the ability to make defenders miss in the open field, but does not have the blazing speed of Fitzgerald.
“That’s a great player, man,” Crabtree said about the comparison. “Any time you get compared to a great player, it must be something good. I like to break down a lot of guys to make one person, not just Fitzgerald. Probably Fitzgerald, Steve Smith, Chad Johnson. I put all those guys together.”
The Seahawks certainly know something about Fitzgerald, having to face the Arizona Cardinals twice a year. And after starting nine different players at wide receiver last season, and playing 11 guys total, Seattle could use some depth heading into the 2009 campaign.
Seattle added help in that area by signing veteran receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh to a four-year, $40 million deal in free agency.
But the Seahawks could always use another playmaker.
Along with Crabtree’s eye-popping ability, there are some head-scratching concerns. Medical tests revealed a cracked bone in his left foot during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. Crabtree has since had surgery to repair the injury, and he is expected to be ready for training camp.
There have also been questions about Crabtree’s top-end speed and how he will handle the spotlight once he locks up a high-dollar contract in the league.
“How is he going to react if he experiences some success early?” asked Rang. “If he is able to capitalize on his amazing ability, and he has some success that first year or two, does he have the work ethic and does he want it bad enough to be great?
“Is this a Larry Fitzgerald-type guy who, although he’s very talented, is going to be the hardest working guy on the field? Or is he willing to just do enough to be good, rather than great?
“I think that’s some of the concern with Crabtree in that the game does come so easy to him that teams are a little worried that way.”
If the Seahawks pass on Crabtree, they’ll likely select a receiver later in the draft to add depth. Potential draft choices include Ohio’s State’s Brian Robiskie, a big receiver; cat-quick glider Mike Thomas from Arizona; and polished route-runner Brandon Gibson from Washington State.