Crabtree & Heyward-Bey -- percentage of team
Posted Apr. 28 at 02:29 AM
The Raiders made the most controversial pick in the first pick, selecting Darrius Heyward-Bey at No. 7 overall. Too early, in the eyes of many, and surprisingly ahead of Michael Crabtree, who went three spots later to the 49ers.
Time will tell if this is a mistake.
As I mentioned on draft day, I’m not a big fan of Crabtree. He doesn’t have the special size/speed measurables, and I fear that he may be a Troy Edwards-type guy – a relatively ordinary receiver who put up pinball numbers in a spread offense. There’s no disputing that Heyward-Bey, the fastest player at the combined, has a far superior NFL body – looks like a young Javon Walker.
There are questions about Heyward-Bey’s hands. And that’s a valid concern (particularly concerning poor hands and route instincts have played a role in the failure of the last heralded pass catcher out of Maryland – Vernon Davis). And there’s no arguing that Al Davis has bungled a lot of draft picks in recent years.
But a large part of the stat difference between Crabtree and Heyward-Bey can definitely be attributed to the teams’ offensive system. Texas Tech ran a wide-open spread offense, while Maryland had a far more conservative and ineffective passing game. If Larry Fitzgerald had played for the Cleveland Browns last year, do you think there’s any way he would have caught 90 passes and 10 TDs?
Consider this: Heyward-Bey last season actually accounted for a higher percentage of his team’s receiving production than Crabtree. Maryland passed for only 2,687 yards last year; Heyward-Bey finished with 609 of those yards – 23 percent. Crabtree, on the other hand, accounted for 1,165 of Texas Tech’s 5,371 passing yards – 22 percent.
So, had you flipped these two receivers last year, do you really think Crabtree would have done anything more in that Maryland offense?
Al Davis is an easy target. He’s old, and it seems like he’s losing it. The Raiders have lost at least 11 games a record six years in a row. In this case, however, I don’t think it’s obvious he made the wrong decision. With Crabtree also seeming to come with a prima donna attitude – he turned off both the Browns and Raiders – I’m thinking there’s a pretty good chance Heyward-Bey will wind up being the better pro.
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