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ExtremeRavens: The Sanctuary

Midround WR Sleepers


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New Orleans Saints WR Marques Colston posted good numbers in college and turned some heads at the 2006 East-West Shrine Game, but there were enough questions to make him a fringe draft pick coming out of Hofstra.


An average 40-yard dash time at the combine and a lack of burst out of cuts intensified concerns about the competition he faced at the Division I-AA/FCS level, and missing the entire 2004 season with a shoulder injury was also a significant strike against Colston.


The Saints decided to take him in the seventh (and final) round of the 2006 draft, with the 252nd pick, and he's played a big role in their becoming Super Bowl champions. While injuries have been an issue at times, he's finished with at least 1,000 yards receiving in three of his four seasons and led the Saints in receiving (seven catches for 83 yards) in their Super Bowl XLIV victory over the Indianapolis Colts.


Below is a look at three players we feel could offer similar values in the mid-to-late rounds and why we think they could become contributors the way Colston has.



Andre Roberts, Citadel (5-foot-10⅞, 179 pounds); Scouts Inc. grade: 75 -- It should be noted right off the bat that Roberts and Colston are very different receivers. Colston is physical and uses his strength and size to get the better of defensive backs, while Roberts is undersized and uses quickness and fluid routes to separate from coverage. And unlike Colston, Roberts returns punts, as well.


There are key similarities, though. Roberts is also an FCS alum trying to prove to NFL front offices that he has what it takes to produce at the NFL level, and he isn't expected to post a great 40-time at the combine. Roberts also made the most of his opportunity to show teams he can hang with the big boys at an all-star game, running polished routes and showing strong hands at the Senior Bowl. We expect him to come off the board in the third round, and while Roberts will be a slot receiver and special-teams contributor to begin his career, it is not out of the question for him to develop into a Derrick Mason-style No. 2 receiver.



Carlton Mitchell, USF (6-4, 212); Grade: 59 -- Mitchell will have a hard time separating from underneath man coverage until he sharpens his routes, and he body-catches too many balls at this point. He is an underclassman, and another year of college football would have given him an opportunity to improve those areas and, by extension, his draft stock.


However, Mitchell clearly has the physical tools to play in the NFL. He clearly has the best size/speed combination of the three receivers on this list and is at his best stretching the field. He also has the strength and athletic ability to progress as a route runner. Because he is so raw, Mitchell likely will start his career as a subpackage receiver who will provide an occasional vertical threat, but his physical skills give him the potential to become a solid No. 2 receiver at the next level.



Alric Arnett, West Virginia (6-1⅜, 186); Grade: 46 -- Arnett played juco football for two years and then missed the 2007 season with a thumb injury before starting all 13 games in 2008. He doesn't have elite top-end speed or size and hasn't put up eye-popping numbers in his two seasons at West Virginia, so it's easy to see why he projects as a late fifth-rounder or early sixth-rounder.


On the other hand, Arnett tracks the deep ball well and appears fast enough on film to make the occasional play downfield. He needs to become more consistent in both areas, but he's got the quickness to develop into a crisp route-runner and has shown he can snatch the ball out of the air. In addition, his production needs to be put in proper prospective because he's played in a run-heavy scheme with two different quarterbacks.


Arnett is not as smooth or consistent in his routes as Roberts and could be headed for an early role as a slot receiver. However, Arnett has the tools and frame to develop into a good No. 2 wideout given some good coaching and time in an NFL strength and conditioning program.



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