Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2012 NFL Draft 'Underrated' Prospects: 'Ball Don't Lie'

Wright has prototypical NFL slot receiver attributes.
WR - Jarius Wright - Arkansas
5-10 182 Warren H.S./ Warren, AR
2011 Stats: 66 rec., 1,117 yds, 12 TDs

Breakdown:  Get open.  Catch the ball. 
It's harder to do than it sounds but receivers that do those two things consistently, the ball will always find them.  Wright was the main target of Razorbacks quarterback Tyler Wilson in 2011 on a team rich with pass-catching talent because he was the best at doing those two things.  Wright now holds the single-season record for receiving yards (1,117 yards) at Arkansas and in the Oct. 1 Southwest Classic against rival Texas A&M, Wright had a signature game that no Razorback fan will soon forget.  Wilson found Wright again and again against the Aggies defense in clear passing situations as they trailed by as many as 18-points for most of the game.  Wright had 13 catches for a school-record 281 yards en route to a 42-38 come-from-behind win.  He also made the key heads-up play of the game, diving on a fumble by teammate Cobi Hamilton in the end zone that led to a 35-35 tie in the 4th quarter.  Click here to see highlights of Wright 2011 vs. Texas A&M.

NFL Skill Set:  With more NFL teams opting for the spread offense, the value of the slot receiver is at an all-time high.  Wright fits the Wes Welker-mode of receiver with his ability to kill you in the short passing game on crossing routes, finding soft spots in zones, and occasionally burning defenders deep on seem routes.  The 4.42 he ran at the NFL combine combined with his ability to run sharp, precise routes and making catches under duress make him tough for any spread offense system team to overlook.  Click here to see highlights of Wright 2011 vs. Vanderbilt.

Allen's main focus is getting the football.
S - Antonio Allen - South Carolina
6-2 201 Fork Union Military (VA), Trinity Catholic (FL)/ Ocala, FL
2011 Stats: 82 tackles (9 TFL), 3 INTs, 4 FFs, 3 FRs, 1 TD

Breakdown:  Defensive technique can be taught but having a nose for the football is mostly instinctive.  Antonio Allen has the latter in abundance, and when combined with speed, size, and an aggressive attitude, he is well deserving of the 'ball-hawk' safety title.  Allen finished his Gamecock career with 198 tackles, 23 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks, 4 INTs, 6 FFs, 4 FRs, and 2 TDs.  Not bad for a guy who came into South Carolina as a linebacker and saw limited action his freshman and sophomore years.  Click here to see highlights of Allen 2011 vs. Auburn.

NFL Skill Set:  Allen is always near the football because of his ability to diagnose run or pass quickly.  Showed the speed to beat blockers to the ball carrier in college despite running a mediocre 4.67 second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.  Physical player that will shed blocks quickly (17 reps of 225-lbs. at the combine) and embraces contact rather than avoiding it.  Has a knack for being in the right place at the right time in pass coverage and attacks the ball at its highest point through the receiver. Click here to see highlights of Allen 2011 vs. East Carolina.

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