Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Roydell and the Draft

I love Williams as a C-USA player. I praise him to the skies here as the team MVP:


He was perfectly designed for success in a C-USA style league. First, for wide outs in C-USA, and particularly at Tulane, with the league-wide emphasis on passing within a system, a "plus wide out" is a player who can both catch it and run the right routes within the context of the offense. In a league that tries to substitute complex execution to compensate for a lack of athleticism, a heady player has great value- as you have to run a lot of routes, with multiple options- routes probably featuring as many pass reads as the quarterback.

Conversely, C-USA does not require wide outs to be particularly fast or strong to be successful. With five people out on every pattern, each wide out need not get over every single play. League corners are weak and slow across the board. For instance, see Route. He cannot run with or knock anyone off a route. And a lot of people think he is a kind of "good player for C-USA."

We know Roydell is slow; he’s run twice- and the reported 4.6 ain’t going to do it. And he isn’t a glorious athletic specimen. He’s a guy who catches everything that is thrown at him and who operates well inside an offense that substitutes competence for athleticism. Unfortunately, the NFL requires both. Accordingly, when I think of a “first day selection” at wide out in C-USA, I think maybe Roddy White?

Look, he could consistently beat college corners- even good ones- and again, his hands and routes are outstanding. He is a somewhat sturdy physical player too- below average for the NFL but enough to survive. But where I am confident his routes and hands will follow him to the NFL- I am not sure he can run with or deal with the physical play NFL corners will pitch at him. Proof? Tell me, what is the “weakest part” of this guy’s game? It is clear- he isn’t a pure physical specimen. Clearly, he is slow and he isn’t explosive. That is a problem at the next level- where of the 64 starting wide outs, 50 or so are pure athletes who can catch and run.

I still think Roydell will be in an NFL camp- either as a free agent or maybe late-round pick. I don’t think he has upside per se- Roydell sort of is what he is- a possession style guy who might struggle to get off the line or open against NFL-quality corners. But he does catch it- the very first thing a possession style receiver has got to do. He has some capacity to make plays in the red zone too. Frankly, no one can get open in the NFL in the red zone- so the other skills- run good routes and catch it- move up. But of course, to survive as a fourth/fifth wideout in the NFL you gotta play special teams. So his capacity there is going to be key for him sticking somewhere.