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Stallworth should begin run on wide receivers


Wide receivers may not begin to fall until the second half of the first round, but that could signal a run that will have depleted the position by the close of the second round.

Tennessee's Donte Stallworth is considered by most to be the cream of the wide receiver crop. Stallworth, 6-0, 197, combines size, speed and athletic ability with a big upside.

The next three wide receiver prospects are lumped together in the bottom of the first round. Florida's Jabar Gaffney, Hawaii's Ashley Lelie and LSU's Josh Reed feature different styles, but each was ultra-productive in college.

Gaffney, the Jacksonville native, doesn't offer great size and speed, but he's cut from a great Florida mold of soft-handed receivers. That's also the rap on Gaffney, since former Florida first-rounders Ike Hilliard, Reidel Anthony and Travis Taylor have not produced according to the spot they were chosen.

Lelie is all about potential. At 6-3, 197, Lelie offers true sprinter's speed, as evidenced by his 30 touchdown grabs the past two seasons. The rap on Lelie is that he is out of a run-and-shoot offense and may not possess the route-running skills necessary for the NFL.

Reed led the nation in receiving yardage last year. He's a stellar athlete with great run-after-the-catch ability, however, he's a receiver in a running back's body (5-10, 210), and lacks deep speed.

Florida's Reche Caldwell could sneak into the first round, and Pitt's Antonio Bryant clearly has first-round ability but may fall into the second frame. Meanwhile, Florida State's Javon Walker, Virginia Tech's Andre Davis, Utah's Cliff Russell and Michigan's Marquise Walker appear set for a second-round selection.

Caldwell is a smaller receiver with adequate speed. Is he a product of the system? That's the question that's beginning to haunt Florida receivers.

Bryant, 6-1, 188, has sensational skills, but he turned in a slow 40 time at the Indy scouting combine and questions about his self-control could make him a steal in the second round.

Javon Walker, 6-2, 210, offers size, speed and athletic ability, but was dogged by injuries and wasn't as productive as his talent seems to dictate.

Davis has burner's speed and prototype size, but his hands are at issue and his numbers fell off dramatically in his senior season. With polish, he can be a big-time player.

Russell is another speed guy whose hands and route-running are question marks. He would seem to be a deep-ball specialist.

Marquise Walker is big and productive, but he lacks speed, quickness and deep-catch ability.

The Jaguars are expected to draft a wide receiver, though no one is sure in what round Tom Coughlin will start looking. If it's after the second round, he'll find the pickings slim. An interesting prospect is Indiana's Antwaan Randle El, a 5-9 package of dynamite as a quarterback/receiver/returner. That's right, he's a candidate to be the next "Slash."

Tight ends and H-backs aren't likely to interest the Jaguars, who return Kyle Brady and have signed Pete Mitchell. Miami's Jeremy Shockey and Colorado's Daniel Graham are projected to be first-round picks, then there's a fall-off to a host of lesser-knowns: Doug Jolley of Brigham Young, Matt Schobel of TCU, Jerramy Stevens of Washington, Terry Jones of Alabama, Randy McMichael of Georgia, Justin Peelle of Oregon and Tracey Wistrom of Nebraska.

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