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The octuple-P draft system: WRs and CBs

February 24, 2009

In our second installment of the PPPPPPPP draft system, we’ve elected to look at the wideout and cornerback positions, where we’re likely to see a fair few battles between ’09 draftees in the upcoming season.

WR class strength: A

In 2008 we didn’t see a single wide receiver taken in the first round of the draft before a massive run kicked off in round 2. This year we won’t see a similar pattern, as there appear to be at least three first-round receivers in the ’09 class.

Obviously at the head of the class is Texas Tech phenom Michael Crabtree. Afetr pretty much tearing the record book apart in 2 seasons with the Red Raiders, Crabtree declared as a junior and arguably the nation’s best overall player. Crabtree’s college career is littered with highlights, notably a stunning game-winning TD against Texas this year, and he showed unparallelled run-after-catch ability and sensational hands. Obviously the spread offense at TT helped his stats a bunch, but he was still utterly dominant in a manner not seen since Larry Fitzgerald’s time at Pittsburgh.

Its like trying to cover a fuckin racehorse

"It's like trying to cover a fuckin' racehorse!" (John Ryan - Wedding Crashers)

Despite revealing this week that he has a stress fracture in his foot, Crabtree is almost certain to be a top-5 player because he’s just too damn good to pass up. He has the smarts, speed and hands to be one of the very best receivers in the league, and there’s no reason that can’t start in year 1.

Crabtree’s octuple-P rating: Andre Johnson

Behind the sensational Crabtree there are a lot of quality players. Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin and Florida’s Percy Harvin are both exceptionally quick and offer added bonuses as return guys, and both figure to go in round 1. Darrius Heyward-Bey from Maryland may also have squeezed himself into the first round with a great Combine 40 time. Behind him there’s still depth, with Big East all-time leading receiver Kenny Britt (Rutgers), small-school speedster Johnny Knox (Abilene Christian) and Ohio State’s Terry Robiskie. This would be a good class without Crabtree, but his presence makes this one of the best WR classes in quite some time.

CB class strength: B

The bad news for the ’09 receiving group is that they’ll have to match up against some great young corners for years to come. This group lacks the overall depth to gain an A grade, but there are probably three first round picks in this group, and good Combines for some others may shunt them up some draft boards.

The pretty much unquestioned numero uno in the class of ’09 cornerbacks is THE Ohio State’s Malcolm Jenkins. Jenkins has been the number one corner in college ‘ball for a couple of years, and it’s not hard to see why: 11 interceptions over three years, ideal size for the position (6 feet and 204lbs) and experience at a big school where he elected to graduate. Jenkins won the Thorpe award as the nation’s top defensive back in 2008 and cut the field in half for the Buckeyes’ opponents. He was sometimes even moved to safety to make big plays because hardly anyone wanted to throw the ball in his direction. The knock on him is that perhaps he’ll take time to learn as he wasn’t thrown at in college, but the fact is he’s a gifted press corner with track-meet speed and ball skills. A first rounder who, after a couple of years, should emerge as one of the game’s best.

I got paiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid

"I got paiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid"

Jenkins’ octuple-P rating: Nnamdi Asomugha

Behind Jenkins, the two biggest names are Vanderbilt’s DJ Moore and Vontae Davis from Illinois. Moore is a ball-hawk who has got good return skills, but his athleticism needs to be exceptional as he stands just 5’9: against guys like Fitzgerald, Moss and C. Johnson he’ll have some issues, but then again, who can cover those guys anyway? Vontae is the brother of 49ers TE and physical specimen Vernon Davis (check out Vernon’s combine numbers if you haven’t seen them for a scary read), as he made the All-Big 10 team two years running. He’ll go in the first round too, and has the ‘upside’ which some dread and others covet. Only time will tell.

Next in the octuple-P’s sights is the trenches, so hit back here soon for the best of the offensive and defensive lines in ’09! And remember: only 188 days until the 2009 season begins!

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