Will Robert Meachem Be Drafted Higher Than He Really Should?

Robert Meachem is the flavor of the month right now. While Dwayne Bowe' stock skyrocketed after his Senior Bowl performance, Meachem's stock has risen even higher with the show he put on at the NFL Scouting Combine.

There are some people out there who think Robert Meachem is the next wideout off the board after Calvin Johnson.

Meachem offers an enticing package - world-class speed (sub 4.4), size (6'2" 214lbs), played in a tough conference (SEC), and is coming off an impressive junior campaign (71/1298/11 TDs). And possibly the most important thing about Meachem is that he is a quailty character guy with a good head on his shoulders.

He is dynamic after the catch, which teams love about him. Anytime you can get a guy who can make plays after the catch at his size and speed means you have a possible 'home run hitter' - a guy who can score at any time.

But dig a little deeper and you can see the flaws in his game.

He is not a polished Wide Receiver and is mostly raw in terms of his route running. At Tennessee, he was mostly running simple Go and Curl routes; mostly working the sidelines. While he was excellent at catching the ball over the shoulder in stride, he didn't catch the jump ball very often. He has a tendency to let the ball into his body, instead of catching the ball with his hands. In this way, he reminds me of how raw Vincent Jackson was last year, as opposed to how naturally Antonio Gates catches the ball (Gates never played college football). At to top it all off, Meachem only had one real good year.

Some of these points can be seen in the various highlight clips on the internet:

Click here for another example over at Yahoo.

I asked some fans of the NFL Draft to share some thoughts about my observations on Meachem and here are some of their responses:

I think a lot of people feel that Meachem, if he goes high, is on account of numbers. He's really not that polished, and he doesn't play as fast as he times. He's not particularly a quick player, although he has quickness, so that could comoe with polish. It's a gamble on development if you take that risk. Reminds me a lot of Ashley Lelie coming out.

Yes, he is a bit of a "body catcher." But that didn't prevent him from being productive in '06. His completion percentage is probably one of the highest in this draft class. It is just very, very good. And that obviously translated into a lot of yardage. He's not extemely polished of course, which just means that his potential is even higher than what his college production shows.

He can be taught to "pluck" the ball in the pros. But that's certainly a "question mark" that lowers his value, though I wouldn't say by much.

Same thing with Craig Davis. All of his catches are body catches. Doesn't catch anything with his hands.

Did you notice him catching the ball and scoring TD's?

I agree he isnt much of a Jump Ball threat, but Meachem is going to be the next T.O., very dominant, very fast, is able to catch the ball and shrugg off DB's for YAC. Very humble, hard working kid, reliable target and go-to guy.

Meachem is the 3rd best playmaking WR in the draft behind Johnson and Jarrett, and will have no problem carrying those abilities forward to the NFL.

I very much agree. I dont often predict busts, but I really smell one with Meachem. At the least, I dont think he will produce much at all early in his career. I feel like he is a great size/speed combo but I have major questions about his receiving skills.

being from arkansas and being an arkansas fan and watching SEC football, I can tell you I dont' think his game translates to the NFL very well. None of the Tennessee Receivers. They are very athletic but aren't very polished. Houston put a vice grip on him when we played him.

I REALLLLLY like Bowe. Is probalby the sole reason Arkansas couldn't beat LSU the last two years. We had to double team him at all times or else he was automatic. Is the only guy who REALLy got under houstons skin this year. Rice caught a TD but was shut down most of the game. Bowe was catching first down after first down, he's big, he's quick, athletic and can catch. GREAT route runner.

I like Rice alot but I don't know.. something just screams not to use a first rounder on him. I dont' know why, but he reminds me of Mark Clayton. They play nothing alike I know

Watch out for Marcus Monk next year.. if he ever gets a real WR coach he could be lethel.. one of the more athletic WR's you will find, and if he would have came out this year, would have been the 2nd most ahtletic wr in the draft (was a top 100 rivals basketball player in high school) and he's 6'6, can jump out the gym but doesn't run great routes and isn't lighting fast. but you aren't going to out jump him and if he can get a decent QB, which arkansas doesn't have, he can put on a show.

if he hadnt had rick clausen, aka mr. i dump i0t off to a back every throw, throwing to him his first two years, he would have produced more consistently.

Now don't get me wrong; I like Meachem, I really do. I just think for how unpolished he is, compared to Dwayne Jarrett who out performed Meachem by miles and is far more NFL-ready, he will get drafted higher than he should, pretty much based on one good year and a great combine workout.

Performance-wise, Meachem SHOULD be available to the Chargers at pick 30. But I think that some team is going to fall in love with his speed and measurables too much to let him fall to round 2. Robert Meachem and Troy Williamson is the comparison I am seeing right now. Not in terms of how they play, but in terms of size and speed and a team falling in love with that combo and its potential.

April 25, 2007

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