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Edwards best receiver


This isn't the best of years to be looking for a wide receiver, but if you're in the right place at the right time and you have a specific need for a pass-catcher, you might find your guy.

If you have one of the first picks of the draft, Michigan's Braylon Edwards would be a solid candidate to be "your guy." Edwards, 6-3, 206, is the class of the wide receiver crop.

"Physically outstanding specimen; imposing-looking wide receiver who plays that way. Makes highlight-reel catches every weekend," draft analyst Tony Pauline says of Edwards.

Edwards offers some risk-reward. He'll drop some balls and doesn't always play smart football but, if he can eliminate those nagging negatives from his game, his upside is right there with Larry Fitzgerald and Roy Williams, the cream of last year's stellar wide receiver crop.

Edwards will run for pro scouts on a fast indoor surface this Friday. He's considered to be a 4.5 type who plays every bit that fast.

Mike Williams was the big story of last year's pre-draft. Williams was thwarted in his bid for draft eligibility, which cost him his college eligibility. Out of football for a year, Williams is back and is likely to go high in this year's draft. At 6-5, 210, he's a perfect replacement in Minnesota for Randy Moss. The Vikings have the seventh pick of the draft. Williams is a great third-down and red-zone target, but he's not without negatives. He's not a good blocker and could be a WR-TE "tweener;" not a good enough blocker to be a tight end and not athletic enough to be a wide receiver. He ran well (4.56 and 4.62) and showed no rust at catching the ball at the combine.

South Carolina's Troy Williamson, 6-2, 195, is an explosive receiver who ran a 4.38 twice at the combine and worked out at that speed, too. He needs to refine his pass-catching and route-running skills and has pencil-thin legs. The Ravens could trade up to get Williamson.

Oklahoma's Mark Clayton, 5-11, 187, is a polished, reliable, smart and technically-sound pass-catcher. He's been timed at 4.45 in the 40 and had a good Senior Bowl. He's a number two receiver who figures to go at the bottom of round one.

Terrence Murphy, 6-1, 193, of Texas A&M, is a finished product. He has some speed but doesn't always play to it. He's a number two or three guy who figures to be a second-round pick.

Roddy Wright, 6-1, 201, is a big-play guy who averaged over 17 yards a catch at UAB. He's very athletic and could be a home run pick. He was injured at the Senior Bowl and didn't work out at the combine. He's a second-round guy who figures to be somewhat of a developmental project.

Reggie Brown, 6-2, 197, of Georgia is a solid overall pass-catcher who lacks top speed. He's an underneath receiver.

Florida State's Craphonso Thorpe, 6-2, 175, has yet to fully recover from the broken leg he sustained in his junior season. Before the injury, Thorpe was a home-run hitter and game-breaker. He's a late-second or third-round prospect who, if and when he recovers from the broken leg, could be a steal.

Indiana's Courtney Roby, 5-11, 180, has beep-beep speed but doesn't always play to it. He's a reliable receiver who recovered this past season from a knee injury in his junior year. He had a top Senior Bowl and topped out at 4.36 at the combine. He's a second or third-round prospect.

Georgia's Fred Gibson, 6-4, 202, is a big, smooth, polished receiver who is natural in everything he does. The rap is that he doesn't always go 100 percent and can be selfish. Gibson was good at the Senior Bowl and the hope is that the light has gone on. At 4.62, however, he's a third-rounder.

"It's not as good as in recent years," Pauline said of the wide receiver class, "but it's solid."

The tight end crop is clearly a step beneath recent years. There is no Kellen Winslow or Jeremy Shockey in this year's draft class.

Virginia's Heath Miller, 6-5, 255, is the top guy; super productive, an excellent receiver but not a great blocker. Pauline describes Miller as an "underclassmen who is a bit overrated; a nice tight end who can be a three-down player." Miller figures to be picked near the middle of round one.

The star of the postseason is Arkansas' Matt Jones, 6-6, 237, a college quarterback whose stock shot up on the strength of a 4.4 at the combine and a dazzling performance as a receiver at the Senior Bowl. "He beat quality cornerbacks down the field; did some long-snapping and fielded some kicks," Pauline said.

Jones, however, has a soft body and is in dire need of an offseason conditioning program. If and when that happens, Jones could be a major home run. He's kind of aloof but gets it done on the field. Jones is a tremendous natural athlete whose ability makes him a second-round prospect.

Alex Smith, 6-5, 255, of Stanford is a good athlete and an outstanding pass-catcher, but he's just an adequate blocker. He turned in a good lifting workout at the combine with 28 reps. Smith offers good upside. He's a second-rounder.

Colorado State's Joel Dreesen, 6-3, 245, has good speed and is a solid pass-catcher, but he had a mediocre senior season and is not known for his blocking. He's a late first-day pick.

Kevin Everett, 6-5, 250, is an excellent athlete who can run. He was under-utilized at Miami. He was slowed by injuries and has not played a lot, but he's also showed flashes and has a lot of upside. He's a third-round guy.

Notre Dame's Jerome Collins, 6-4, 258, is a former defensive end who runs in the 4.7 area, but Collins is as green as grass. He tops the ranks of the second-day guys.

USC's Alex Holmes, 6-3, 260, is a reliable receiver and blocker, but doesn't stand out at either. He's a number two tight end.

Lehigh's Adam Bergen, 6-4, 260, dominated at the I-AA level. He's a complete tight end but will never be more than a number two guy.

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