by Matt Bowen
March 09, 02010
Is the hype surrounding Okie State WR Dez Bryant about to plummet?
When the reports surfaced this morning that Bryant would not work out at his pro day on campus in Stillwater, I started to ask around the league and find out what the true feelings are on what many consider the No. 1 wide receiver prospect in the draft.
We all know about the suspension Bryant had this past season in college, as well as the questionable reports about his dedication to the program, but that is often overlooked when it comes to straight talent leading up to the draft.
However, that isn’t exactly the overwhelming majority vote when you talk to people in the league.
I spoke with several NFL coaches today — as well as a high-level NFL executive — who think that drafting Bryant is a major risk. One coach even brought up the idea that Bryant is not the type of receiver who would catch the ball in between the numbers, which is the same thing as talking about a receiver who will not go across the middle of the field.
There is no denying that Bryant has raw talent, but whenever I brought up the idea of the WR going in the Top 15 of this April’s draft, it was met with resistance. Bryant is without a doubt a guy who can stretch the field vertically, and he has that playmaking ability to go up and get the football.
But, what about the red zone — where the field shrinks and defenses play with a much more physical style than out in the field? Will he show up?
What Bryant is trying to do by hosting a “private” pro day later in March in his hometown of Lufkin, Texas is create a “buzz” about him. It will be his show only, and he will be the main attraction for scouts.
However, what about the hamstring injury? The same hamstring injury he showed up at the Combine with? Scouts are very cautious when it comes to skill players with hamstring injuries. Is he the type of player that will pull up lame during the second week of camp? If he has a hamstring injury already, can he last a 16-game season in the pros?
On the flip side, this could be a case where a team gets a steal by drafting Bryant later in the first round, because when matched up against the other top WR prospects such as Brandon LaFell of LSU and Arrelious Benn of Illinois, Bryant is still considered first-round talent.
A team like New England at No. 22, which has questions at WR with the Wes Welker injury and the future of Randy Moss or a team like Dallas, which has an underachieving Roy Williams on the outside, at No. 27. Would Bryant be a welcome addition to those offenses?
Could he fall this far? Possibly, especially if he does not impress scouts at his workout at the end of March.
But, just like selling a house, it only takes one buyer come draft day. If he does slip, expect teams to be very interested in his services — especially if they can get him under contract at a discounted rate outside of the top 15.
Rookie WRs are risks regardless, not to mention when you catch that downward slope of hype leading up to the draft. Bryant needs to catch that positive wave in April to save his stock.
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