Justin Blackmon (US Presswire)
Wide receivers Justin Blackmon, Marvin McNutt and Jeff Fuller all possess striking similarities to wideouts already in the NFL. Find out who inside.
Justin Blackmon (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) – Anquan Boldin (6-foot-1, 223 pounds)
This could be considered be a bit of a stretch – in favor of Blackmon. While Boldin has obviously lost a step or two of late, Blackmon might be entering the NFL with more potential than Boldin ever possessed in the prime of his career.
Few wide receivers are considered with a Top 5 pick, but that’s exactly where Blackmon sits with the draft process just getting underway. Given Blackmon’s body of work, there’s no reason to think the two-time Biletnikoff winner would slide outside of the first five picks of the draft.
When dissecting Blackmon and Boldin’s game there are many similarities. Toughness, working the middle of the field and blocking immediately come to mind. The area Blackmon separates himself from Boldin – and nearly every other wideout – is his explosiveness and his ability to get open time after time regardless of the coverage thrown his way.
The main concern regarding Blackmon would be his history in a spread offense at Oklahoma State. Michael Crabtree came from a similar offense at Texas Tech and hasn’t exactly panned out accordingly. Despite that concern, Blackmon appears to be one of the safest picks in this year’s draft and should be an immediate No. 1 receiver at the next level.
Marvin McNutt (6-foot-2, 216 pounds) – Hakeem Nicks (6-foot-1, 208 pounds)
Like Nicks, McNutt is already being overlooked by many draft pundits. Nicks was the fifth wide receiver to come off the board in 2009 and McNutt will have a tough time cracking the Top 5 threshold of wideouts in this year’s draft.
McNutt’s production was tremendous during his tenure with the Iowa Hawkeyes, capping a record-setting career with over 80 catches, more than 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns during his senior season. Despite concerns about his speed, McNutt averaged just under 17 yards per reception, including 19.8 yards per grab as a sophomore.
Almost a mirror image to Nicks, McNutt boasts extremely large hands, the ability to run precise routes and has an uncanny ability to pull in the spectacular catch. In addition, McNutt displays excellent body control and can make catches in traffic with ease.
Arguably the most impressive thing about McNutt is the fact he’s only been playing the position for three seasons. He arrived at Iowa as a quarterback but switched to wide receiver following the emergence of Ricky Stanzi, a fifth-round draft pick by the Kansas City Chiefs last year. Because he still has plenty to learn, McNutt’s ceiling is higher than most.
Jeff Fuller (6-foot-4, 217 pounds) – Brandon Marshall (6-foot-4, 230 pounds)
As one of the bigger targets in this year’s wide receiver class, Fuller is being overshadowed by the likes of Michael Floyd, Alshon Jeffery and handful of others. While those players come with high accolades, Fuller has a chance to be a real sleeper in this year’s draft.
Fuller was one of the few prospects to measure true to size at the Senior Bowl (6-foot-4) and this week in Mobile could be the start of Fuller’s coming out party. Marshall was also an under the radar prospect coming out of Central Florida in 2006. He ended up slipping to the fourth round and if the same scenario takes place for Fuller, his new NFL team will be getting a steal.
A physical specimen, Fuller’s size and strength should allow him to step in immediately and make an impact as a pro. Like Marshall, Fuller is outstanding at getting off the ball and creating space against opposing defensive backs. Once the ball is in the air, Fuller’s skill set gets even better as he’s often able to outmuscle his competition and come down with the ball.
There’s no doubt that NFL scouts will get plenty of looks at the intriguing possibilities Fuller brings to the table. Those same scouts will be breaking down game film of another sneaky prospect, Fuller’s quarterback at Texas A&M, Ryan Tannehill.
Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at email@example.com
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