What the scouts had to say about our young WR's before they were drafted...

So I thought I would repost this article, since we are relying so heavily on our young WR corp, but I am going to highlight the ones who are looking good in camp...


"I thought I would go back and have a look at what the scouts said about our 6 young Wide Receiver's before they were drafted land see what their strengths and weaknesses were thought to be coming out of college. 

Enjoy!  Also comment who you think will be the one to separate himself from the pack as the next great Ravens WR!

Justin Harper, 6"4 198

With a stable full of senior receivers in this draft, Harper needed to post career-highs in 2007 to prove he wasn't just a size/speed candidate for the NFL - and that is precisely what he did - emerging as the Hokies' most dependable downfield target. Unfortunately, scouts will have to determine who is the real Justin Harper - the mercurial wideout who struggled to make an impact throughout his early career despite obvious physical tools, or the one who stepped up his play as a senior.

Positives: Rare height for the position. ... Lean build that could handle an additional 10 pounds of added muscle without a significant loss of speed. ... Elite timed speed. ... Supposedly timed at a 4.33 by Virginia Tech coaches during the spring - fastest on the team. ... Uses his size and leaping ability to make the tough, acrobatic catches against tight coverage. ... Generally reliable hands.

Negatives: More style than substance throughout most of his career. ... Tall, but lacks the thick, strong build to handle when cornerbacks press him. ... Elite straight-line speed doesn't translate well on the field due to his long-stride running style. ... Marginal quickness out of his breaks. ... Lets too many passes get into his pads, resulting in some ugly drops. ... Limited production until his senior season.

Marcus Smith, 6"1 214, 4.51 40

A size/speed prospect who produced the breakout season many predicted in 2007, attaining first team All-Mountain West accolades with 91 catches for 1,125 yards and four touchdowns. Used as an all-purpose runner and receiver early in his career, he became a go-to playmaker for his quarterbacks.

Positives: Good size and build for an NFL receiver. ... Willing to make tough catches over the middle, not just down the sideline on the island. ... Will run away from smaller defenders or break an arm tackle to get down the sideline or the seam. ... Effectively uses his frame to shield defenders on slants. ... Very willing blocker downfield. ... Straight-ahead, strong and occasionally explosive kick return option.

Negatives: Lacks suddenness coming out of his stance or in his routes. ... Got a lot of yards off of receiver screens but is not elusive enough to do so in the pros. ... Does not have the top end speed to separate from better corners. ... Concentration and hand-eye coordination are inconsistent. ... He makes very tough snatches in traffic on one series, then will drop a deep ball after gaining separation from his defender. ... Does not play as physical as expected given his size, and may have issues getting off the jam.

Demitrius Williams 6"2 197 4.56 40

Williams redshirted as a freshman at Oregon in 2001. He appeared in eleven games as a reserve in 2002, making five catches for 73 yards (14.6 avg). As a sophomore, Williams finished second on the team with 51 receptions for 935 yards (18.3 avg) and eight scores, gaining over 100 yards in four contests.

Hamstring and turf toe injuries hampered Williams throughout the 2004 campaign. Despite missing two games, he still led the team with 593 yards on 47 catches (12.6 avg) with a pair of scores. Returning to full health for his senior year, Williams ranked tenth in the nation with 950 yards receiving, catching 50 passes (19.0 avg) with nine touchdowns in 2005. He also became more involved in the ground game, picking up 53 yards on eight reverses (6.6 avg).

In 43 games with the Ducks, Williams started 31 times. He caught 153 passes for 2,551 yards (16.7 avg) and 19 touchdowns. His 153 grabs rank fourth, his 2,551 yards rank third and his ten scoring receptions rank fourth on the school's all-time record list.

He ranks high on the Oregon record charts...His 153 receptions is good for fourth in school annals, topped only by Tony Hartley (160, 1996-99), Cristen McLemore (162, 1992-95) and Keenan Howry (173, 1999-2002)...Gained 2,551 yards receiving, surpassed only by Howry (2,698) and Hartley (2,744) on Oregon's all-time record list...His 19 touchdown catches rank fourth in school history behind Howry (24), McLemore (24) and Hartley (22)...Gained over 100 yards receiving in eleven games, breaking the old school record of eight set by Howry and Hartley.


Positives: Shows good initial quickness and enough alertness to easily find the soft spot in the zone...Has the long legs to get into stride smoothly and the long arms to extend and catch away from the body's frame...His ability to read coverages allows him to squeeze through and position properly for hitches and screens...Has the quickness in his stride to force defensive backs to come out of their pedal early...Uses his body control and balance to track the ball in flight, timing his leaps well to get to the ball at its high point...If given room, he is very effective using his head fakes to elude...Best when he can isolate on the defenders, sink his hips and come off his plant...Has natural hands, rarely fighting with the ball to look it in...While he lacks ideal timed speed, he is effective at separating from the secondary after the catch...Even though he is not a speedy deep threat, he has enough ability and agility in his stride to cover ground quickly...Split-high athletic build allows him to come off the snap with decent quickness and drive in his release.

Negatives: Even though he added over ten pounds to his frame prior to his senior year, he is still prone to being knocked off balance by a strong hand push...Has matured over the years, but sometimes needs hard coaching to motivate...Has too many concentration lapses on the field, as he tends to "hear footsteps" when asked to compete for the ball in a crowd...When he ducks his head when cutting, he gets a little off-balance and will gather and take false steps coming out of his breaks...Must improve his base when working near the sidelines, as he is pushed out of bounds too often...Marginal blocker who shows willingness, but is nothing more than a pester type.

Williams is a tall, lanky receiver who is split high, with long arms and legs. He has a good muscle structure, but could use additional bulk on his frame to absorb the punishment at the next level. He is more quick than fast, doing a nice job with his smooth stride to defeat the cushion and get into route progression coming off the snap. He will take some false steps at times coming off his release, but has a quick burst to get underneath the ball.

Williams is effective at reading the coverages and finding the soft spot in the zone, but looks a bit sluggish when he takes those false steps in transition. The result is a slightly off-balance burst that cornerbacks can quickly compensate for. He tends to drop his head a bit before cutting, but he can force the defenders to come out of their backpedals when he eats up the cushion.

When he drops his head before cutting and takes false steps, defenders are capable of getting on top of him. He is not the most effective sideline catcher, as the cornerback can get him off stride with a strong hand push. Williams has some deep threat ability, but has most of his success when given room to run. He has that feel for the zone that makes him effective on screens and hitches, as he does a nice job of settling into the soft spot.

Some might question his courage going for the ball in traffic, as he gets bounced around quite a bit and needs to do a better job of securing the ball -- defenders have had good success reaching around and knocking the ball out of his hands. While he appears to have natural hands, his lack of concentration and concern for being hit has resulted in a high amount of dropped passes.

Williams times his leaps well and shows adequate hand/eye coordination to track the ball properly in flight. He might not have blazing speed, but shows the hip snap and plant and drive agility to make the initial tackler miss after the catch. If given a big cushion, he will quickly eat it up. He has the quick burst needed to produce after catching the ball, but needs to elude the defender, as he lacks the leg drive and strength to break tackles.

He is a willing blocker, but more of a pester type who shows inconsistency in attempts to sustain due to strength issues. Williams could be a nice change of pace receiver at the next level, but like Denver's Ashley Lelie, he does not have the toughness you want from a receiver in the games he will participate in at the next level. The coaches say he can handle a complex playbook, but his marginal test score is a concern.

Williams needs to refine his route running technique to have good success in the pros. He will need to bulk up a bit to handle punishment and must learn to stop running on his toes. When he does that, he looks choppy trying to burst out of transition. He gathers some before cutting and will drop his head when doing so, allowing the defender to recover and maintain position.


The opinions posted here are those of the administrator of this blog and his loyal readers. They are in no way official comments from the team, and should not be misconstued as such, even though he thinks he could do just as well or even a better job!

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