Matt Waldman shares thoughts on the 2007 NFL Draft wide receiver class that included Calvin Johnson, Ted Ginn, Robert Meachem, Giants’ Steve Smith, and this MLB pitcher.
Recent Rookie Scouting Portfolio publications include stack rankings of position-specific skills. The early publications of the RSP weren’t as detailed but there was a precursor to the stack ranking system—the Best And Worst By Category Report.
Here’s a sample report from the 2007 class that included Calvin Johnson, Steve Smith (Giants), Dwayne Boye, Dwayne Jarrett, Jason Hill, Mike Walker, Robert Meachem, and Craig Davis.
Johnson was the RSP’s No.1 receiver: “Possibly the most talented player in this draft. He has ball-tracking skills that rival Moss and Fitzgerald, the speed/power of Terrell Owens, and conducts himself with humility and maturity.”
Not a difficult evaluation.
Washington State’s Jason Hill was a miss for me. He routinely flashed the hand-eye coordination and athletic ability of a top receiver but he wasn’t a consistent player. I had a lot to learn about route-running.
My favorite underrated receiver was Smith, “a tough and savvy football player with more seed than most realize who catches everything in sight.”
If not for a knee injury that cost him his athletic ability, Smith had a shot at a long and productive career.
Jeff Samardzija is 12 years into a pitching career in Major League Baseball. He’s had two top-10 seasons in strikeouts, an all-star appearance, and he’s earned nearly $103 million dollars with the Cubs, Athletics, White Sox, and Giants.
He was a better wide receiver, but hard to blame him for choosing baseball.
It’s crazy to look at these reports because the detail back then was so sparse compared to present publications. It’s actually a little embarrassing to look at them.
However, it underscores the importance of continuous improvement.