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  1. #1
    Goldenfleece's Avatar
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    Finding a Returner in the Draft

    I wish more of these ranking websites would list PR/KR's in their own section. I've been digging around to see who we might want. We are definitely not getting Reggie Bush. Maurice Jones-Drew will probably go a little earlier than we're willing to take a RB/returner, although he mentioned in his Draft Diary that the Rams were among the teams that seemed most interested at the Combine. So I've come up with a handful of second day players who could also be options:

    Coming out of Akron, WR/KR/PR Domenik Hixon is 6'2", 200 lbs, ran a 4.34, had a vertical of 38.5, did the short shuttle in 4.04, and the 3 Cone in 6.65. He was one of the better returners in college football over the last few years, but I especially like him because he has the physical attributes to turn into a decent option at receiver. He ranks 2nd on the Akron career receptions list (141), 3rd on the career receiving yards chart (2,092), and 4th on career all-purpose yardage list (3,888) all since he converted from safety in 2004. Going into the 2005 season he had averaged 17 yards/PR and 24/KR career. He's projected as a late rounder or UDFA.

    I like Ashlan Davis, Tulsa's returner. He returned kicks for TDs in 4 consecutive games in 2004, but he wouldn't be able to do much else other than return for us at a paltry 5'8", 179 lbs. He's a wide receiver by trade and not a bad one, but durability would be a major concern. Still, he owns the NCAA record for KR for TD in a season and it was almost enough to break the career record in just that one season. Another late rounder/UDFA.

    BC's Will Blackmon, KU's Charles Gordon, and Miami's Devin Hester all have kind of the same story. They are exciting return men and corners who were willing to play receiver when the team needed them to. They grade out roughly in the same neighborhood on the corner lists, mainly because they haven't played the position full-time and are unpolished. Gordon is only 5'10" and ran a 4.61 at his pro day, Hester is 5'11 and ran a 4.32 at his pro day, and Blackmon is 6'0" and ran a 4.45 at the Combine (but only a 4.52 at his pro day). Gordon plays faster than his timed speed and tied for national lead in interceptions in 2004, but Blackmon excels in man coverage and has a better reputation as a tackler. Hester is probably the least respected of the three for his coverage ability but the best kick returner. It must be noted that all of them have reputations for relying too much on natural ability when they play corner. Hester could go higher, but the other two should be available in the fourth or fifth depending on how teams rank them.

    LSU WR/KR/PR Skyler Green is dangerous every time he touches the ball. He ran a 4.45, but at 5'9" is not as big as you'd like. Jeremy Bloom, the skier, is a bit of a wild card because he has been trying to get back into football shape, so his weight and times aren't nearly as good as scouts want to see. He's small, too, but he could surprise us all. Green could still be there in the fifth; Bloom may not be drafted.

    I'd be happy to hear anyone else's suggestions.

    Here are 2005 averages: Jones-Drew 28.47 yards/PR (led the nation)...Hester 14.18/PR...Green 13.3/PR, 19.72/KR...Gordon 9.71/PR...Blackmon 8.27/PR, 23.23/KR...Hixon 7.69/PR, 23.5/KR...Davis 23.24/KR

    And 2004 averages: Jones-Drew 15.2/PR...Hester 17.6/PR, 26.6/KR...Green 9.7/PR, 22.63/KR...Gordon 9.0/PR...Blackmon 11.3/PR, 27.2/KR...Hixon 17.2/PR, 24.9/KR...Davis 30.6/KR
    Last edited by Goldenfleece; -04-11-2006 at 12:07 AM.


  2. #2
    RamsFan16's Avatar
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    Re: Finding a Returner in the Draft

    Your forgetting the best of all. Devin Hester from the U!
    RamsFan16

  3. #3
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    Re: Finding a Returner in the Draft

    Gordon is a realy nice college return man, but isn't suited to the position in the pros. He will, I think, make someone a pretty good nickel back in a couple of years.

  4. #4
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    Re: Finding a Returner in the Draft

    What about Jeremy Bloom?

    Oops, it looks like you already mentioned him.

  5. #5
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    Re: Finding a Returner in the Draft

    Your forgetting the best of all. Devin Hester from the U!
    he did talk about Devin Hester from the U!

    Hester is probably the least respected of the three for his coverage ability but the best kick returner. It must be noted that all of them have reputations for relying too much on natural ability when they play corner. Hester could go higher, but the other two should be available in the fourth or fifth depending on how teams rank them.
    :1:

    :1:PLAY EVER SNAP LIKE IT YOUR LAST!!!:1:

  6. #6
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    Re: Finding a Returner in the Draft

    Whoops. My bad I didnt' see it. I appologize.!
    RamsFan16

  7. #7
    Goldenfleece's Avatar
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    Re: Finding a Returner in the Draft

    Yeah, I suppose I could have talked up Hester more. The thing is you wind up wanting to say the same things about these guys. He has a high average, he's a threat to take it to the house, he makes people miss, he led the division or conference in this particular year, he's electric, he's explosive...So generally I wound up looking at what else they do and how they're different, since kick returners are generally pretty much good at the same things.

  8. #8
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    Re: Finding a Returner in the Draft

    I really really like charles gordon, and will advocate spending a third on the guy, assuming we pick up DE/LB/S in round one and TE/LB/S depending in round two.

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