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BASN NFL Draft Preview: Wide Receivers
By Tony McClean
Updated: April 24, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Ct.– For the fourth consecutive season, BASN will use the services of Shannon Kneeland, the president of “Diamonds In The Rough”, the nation’s only scouting service that yearly evaluates the best black college football talent available for the NFL Draft.
Over the next four days, we’ll take a look the best HBCU players using Kneeland and his staff’s individual player evaluations. Today, we look at the best wide receivers.
The 6-foot-1 senior was somewhat overshadowed by his TU teammate Kenneth Henderson, but Russell has carved out a small niche for himself entering the draft. In 2005, he caught 40 balls for 619 yards (15.4 ypc) and five TDs. He also had 12 kick returns for 217 yards. Shows some burst off the ball and in the open field. Will body catch sometimes and has shown some snatch ability while to ball is in the air. Should work on improving his routes.
In 2005, Ross topped the CIAA and broke NCCU’s single-season receptions record with 69 catches for 846 yards and eight TDs. In just two seasons at NCCU (2004-05), Ross amassed 122 catches for 1,485 yards and 19 touchdowns. A transfer from Jackson State, the 6-foot-4 Ross runs with a great long stride and catches the ball well in traffic. His stock rose after catching a touchdown pass in the Cactus Bowl in January.
The two-time All SIAC performer led the conference in receptions (67) and yards (1,023) during the regular season. In TU’s 28-26 victory over Bowie State in the Pioneer Bowl, Williams caught 11 balls for 194 yards and two TDs en route to being named the game’s MVP. His 194 yards gave him 1,217 yards receiving on the season, which broke former TU great Chris Holder’s record of 1,088 yards set in 1990. Despite his size (5-9, 185 pounds), he’s impressed scouts with his speed and dependable hands.
In the tradition of Jerome Mathis, McDonald, a two-time All-MEAC selection, was another double threat for the Pirates. In 2005, he caught 42 balls for 637 yards (15.1 ypc) and six TDs. McDonald also led the MEAC (third in the nation) in punt returns with 48 for 699 yards (14.6 average). His quickness and dependable hands have raised his stock. Needs to make his routes much more crisp, however his kick return abilities should be an major asset.
The 6-foot-3 Maryland native has been the Bears’ leading receiver over the last two seasons. An All-MEAC performer in 2004 (47 receptions and a league-high 1,019 yards), Dickens caught 37 balls for 550 yards (14.9 ypc) and six TDs in 2005. Has impressed scouts with his size and quickness. Not afraid to go over the middle for a catch and had great blocking skills.
The second leading reciever in the SIAC, the 6-foot-1 Georgia native had 55 catches for 1,002 yards (18.5 ypc) and a conference leading 12 TDs. Has shown the ability to find open holes in zone coverage and make good catches. Has impressed scouts with the willingness to catch passes in traffic and going over the middle. Needs to show more strength when coming off the ball.
After splitting time with current New York Giant Visante Shiancoe as a freshman, Cash has become the conference’s best tight end the last three seasons. A three-time All-MEAC selection, the 6-foot-3 Maryland native had a career-high 21 receptions for 273 yards. Regarded by scouts as a strong, athletic receiver with good hands who can make the tough catch and run over or away from defenders.
TOMMORROW: Offensive lineman.