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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Around The Draft: 57(ish) Days

I'm behind on prospects as I intend to break down 60 guys between the late first and late third for this year's draft - I guess I had more queued in advance than I do.

No matter, if it's tolerable, I'll pop out a few to get us back on track.  It's currently 53 days, so five prospects today to get us back on track.

The easiest way to do that and also fill wants?  This post compares two players.  I'll start with discussion on each and go from there on the "better" prospect as it relates more to this team.  

 First, Donte Moncrief, WR, Old Miss.

The 6'3, 220 lb receiver is one of the thickest receivers in an already large receiver draft.  A junior, he's already been very productive (31 receptions at 14.6/carry, 4 TD as a freshman, 66/14.8/10TD, 59/15.9/6TD) in a competitive SEC.

He ran an impressive 4.40 40 at combine, and that's not just straight line speed. His routes are crisp, and he's a guy who has a good set of double moves. He's not quite as quick out of his cuts, however. He was used mostly intermediately, with a solid dose of screen play for a guy his size.

Moncrief has shown capability as a downfield blocker, adding toughness to it.  Physically, you can't ask for much more size, though his 13 reps in the bench aren't exceptional (it's also not critical) and he's not always as imposing a guy as you might expect for his size.

Next, Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State.

Robinson is a 6'2, 210 lb split end out of the PSU dysfunction who started the last two years under the pro style system of Bill O'Brien.  He was a workhorse for the PSU system, where he gave them 77/13.2 avg/11 last year, and 97/14.8 (that's 1432 yards) and 6 scores.

His high end speed is lower, officially a 4.60 at combine. His shuttle scores were fantastic however, 7th overall. He seems to be a fluid, flexible athlete.  He tends to run too upright in his breaks, which are very good routes but might tip off the direction, scouts say.

He finds the soft spot in the zone well, and could play well with a cerebral part of the game regarding reading coverage, or playing that slot role. I don't know if the lack of anticipation can make him more productive versus a set route, but he's a guy who could easily be trusted to take on option routes.

It's interesting how "speed" is measured.  The 40 is as relevant to WR as any combine drill is to essentially any position (why don't they have a WR drill that's essentially a double-move 40?  Two cones at 20 yards, five yards apart).  Moncrief has the straight line speed.  Robinson's shuttle speed was three tenths faster, which is as much about short acceleration (I don't have info on either 10/20 yard trap speeds).  They were equal on the three-cone, which is far more change of direction.

As far as I can tell, that doesn't make either "better" or "worse".  Neither were massive playmakers in the deep field, both were the focal point so neither were going to just run fly routes.  They did the work.  It's tough to make your living at the corner of 40 and 5 if two men are already following you at that depth.

The need is clear.  Carolina more or less has to identify, as of now, four receivers.  That will change, and it's likely at least one or two veterans will join (be patient!).  So, beggars can't be choosers, so to speak.  And this offense can thrive with big receivers on precise routes.  So it's not that either of these guys, rated 25-45 depending on where you look but often listed near each other, are the better choice.  I think the productivity is clearly on Robinson, and maybe a little of the translation.  Moncrief is the higher upside, I think.

Would be happy with either. If I were choosing based on what I know, Moncrief. I don't know either guy, there was a minor disciplinary thing against Robinson to start the year and some question his on-field focus, but I'm not going to know about that type stuff.
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