INSIDER - Wright, Crosby best of the bunch
Wright, Crosby best of the bunchBy Todd McShay
The NFL will hold its supplemental draft Thursday. All 32 teams will be involved in the three-step process. Teams with six wins or less in 2004 participate in the first lottery, for the top six picks; followed by a second group of non-playoff teams; and finally a third group, composed of the 12 playoff teams from last season. The draft used to be conducted on a conference call but now is performed via e-mail.
If a team elects to use a supplemental draft pick, it will give up its pick in the same round of the regular draft next April.
Furthermore, the drafted player still must compete for a spot on the team's 53-man, regular-season roster this fall. If that player earns a roster spot, he will count against his team's salary cap this year.
The league will expand that team's rookie pool this year, then extract from the 2006 pool. If an eligible prospect is not selected in the supplemental draft, he becomes a free agent.
Here is a breakdown of the seven eligible prospects, ranked by NFL potential:
Manuel Wright, DT, USC
Wright had 23 tackles, including six for loss, as a No. 3 defensive tackle at USC in 2004 and chose to enter the supplemental draft because of academic problems.
At USC, Wright was listed at 6-foot-6 and 290 pounds. At a recent workout for NFL scouts, though, he measured slightly taller than 6-5 and weighed 329 pounds. He still managed to post a sub-5.0 time in the 40-yard dash, but his weight raised some eyebrows among the scouts on hand.
Wright will have to hope an NFL team is willing to take a chance on his upside and overlook some glaring red flags. From a talent standpoint, it's safe to say Wright could have developed into a first-round pick a year or two down the road. He has good overall size and the frame to carry his weight well. He flashes explosive initial quickness and penetration skills as a one-gap type defensive tackle who would fit best as a three-technique player (an upfield defender who lines up opposite the offensive guard and tackle gap).
However, Wright is very much a boom-or-bust prospect. For starters, he was expected to take over as a starter in 2005 but will enter the NFL having been nothing more than a reserve at the collegiate level, playing behind Mike Patterson (1st round, Eagles) and Shaun Cody (2nd round, Lions) last season. Wright is considered to be an immature 21-year-old with questionable character and work ethic.
After more study of him on film this week, it's evident his motor is inconsistent and his technique (especially his leverage and hand usage) needs major refining. Furthermore, there has to be much concern regarding his mental capacity and overall intelligence.
In my opinion, Wright still has enough upside for a team to take a flier on him as early as the third round, but he has entirely too many red flags to be worth gambling a first- or second-round pick.
Roscoe Crosby, WR, Clemson
Crosby signed with Clemson out of high school in 2001 and also was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the second round of Major League Baseball's amateur draft the same year. He played football for Clemson as a freshman in 2001, appearing in 10 games and catching 27 passes for 465 yards and four touchdowns.
After a personal tragedy and an elbow injury that required reconstructive surgery limited him in both sports over the next three years, Crosby opted to leave Clemson and the Royals. The only other football action he saw was an appearance in one game for the Tigers in 2003.
Crosby, 22, is a 6-2, 208-pound wide receiver who is now healthy and looking to make a comeback in football. He reportedly has posted a best of 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash and also has maxed out at 17 repetitions of the standard 225-pound bench press.
Crosby was raw and inconsistent when he played for Clemson. He is rusty and has been out of football for two seasons. He struggled to stay healthy at Clemson and had lingering elbow injuries. He lacks savvy as a route runner and needs to improve his moves in order to get off the line of scrimmage.
He lacks recognition skills and has never done a good job of reading coverages. He does not show a consistent ability to find the soft spots in zone coverage or set up defenders in man coverage. He lacks natural instincts as a receiver. His focus is inconsistent. He will drop some catchable balls because he's looking to make something happen before he actually secures the reception.
He doesn't show the same effort on every play. He doesn't show great toughness. He won't make enough plays in traffic and can be tentative over the middle. He takes plays off and does not work as hard as he should as a backside receiver. He needs to improve his technique and consistency as a blocker, as well.
However, Crosby does have an intriguing combination of size, speed and natural athletic ability. He shows good feet and initial quickness. He gets to top speed quickly and shows the acceleration to consistently get over the top of man-to-man coverage. He has good height, long arms and a wide wingspan. He has very good leaping ability.
He is a huge matchup weapon on fade routes, on vertical routes and in the red zone. He is at his best working on the perimeter. Shows excellent balance and body control. Also shows good sideline awareness and will make the acrobatic catch and keep his feet inbounds. He has a solid frame and is difficult to defend when he gets his body between the ball and defender. He has big, soft hands and shows the ability to pluck balls on the run and snatch those away from his frame.
He has flashed the ability to catch the ball over his head and adjust to the deep ball over his shoulder. He has good closing burst to track down the deep ball when it's in the air. He is quick to get upfield after the catch and can be extremely explosive in space. He has decent elusiveness but is a big threat after the catch because of his quickness, change-of-direction skills, vision as a runner and explosive second gear when he hits daylight.
Overall, Crosby is considered unpolished and unreliable. He has loads of baggage and durability issues that will cause him to slip in the supplemental draft. However, his size-speed ratio and natural athletic ability could persuade a team to use a late-round pick on him as a long-range developmental project.