Oldskool Posted February 13, 2006 Share Posted February 13, 2006 http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/insider/news/story?id=2324579&CMP=ILC-INHEAD Updated: Feb. 13, 2006, 4:23 PM ET After Brees, QB pool drops off Insider Scouts Inc. Wide receiver Few sure starting wide receivers are available in unrestricted free agency this year, but Reggie Wayne clearly is the head of an ordinary class. Wayne has become an invaluable piece of Indianapolis' offensive machine, which is why the Colts will do everything possible to keep him off the market. Although he has yet to prove he can be a No. 1 receiver who can handle consistent double coverage, he is a big-time playmaker. Numerous teams will be beating a path to Wayne's door if the Colts don't lock him up before the free-agent signing period begins. Antwaan Randle El Antwaan Randle El isn't an ideal No. 2 receiver, but he'll want to get paid like one. David Givens, Joe Jurevicius, Antonio Bryant and Antwaan Randle El are the only other starter-caliber unrestricted free agents at the position. Randle El started in Pittsburgh last season out of necessity, but he is better suited to be a No. 3. Givens is a physical No. 2 receiver who takes care of the little things. He is a consistent route runner, has extensive big-game experience and is an excellent blocker. Givens has been in the league only three years and should continue to improve. He is a hard worker who wants to get better. Jurevicius, the steal of last year's free-agent market, was a huge asset for Seattle as Darrell Jackson battled injuries for much of the season. Jurevicius has excelled in big games and runs very well for such a huge target. He is a physical presence in the run game and probably has convinced several teams that he can be a successful No. 2 wideout. Bryant has a ton of potential but has yet to tap into all of it, which has been his M.O. since he entered the league. Since being traded from Dallas, he has improved his attitude and his game, but he still hasn't developed into a consistent No. 1 target. Cleveland would like him back, but the team won't overpay to make it happen. Randle El is versatile and has room to improve even further, but he is vastly undersized and, in the ideal situation, would be a slot receiver and punt return specialist. Expect Randle El to hit the open market and demand more money than he probably deserves. Four restricted free agents could garner some attention: Nate Burleson (Minnesota), Brandon Lloyd (San Francisco), Shaun McDonald (St. Louis) and Kevin Curtis (St. Louis). Depending on how these players are tendered, each could field a few contract proposals. Lloyd has good size and is San Francisco's only weapon to speak of in the passing game. Although he lacks great speed, he has excellent hands. He needs to get a little tougher and more physical, but he is capable of outstanding numbers if afforded better quarterback play. The 49ers certainly can't afford to lose Lloyd. Burleson failed to step in as the Vikings' No. 1 receiver after the departure of Randy Moss, but he still has some value as a No. 2 or No. 3 if he is surrounded by other playmakers. Curtis will be the more sought-after player of the two Rams receivers. He has solid speed, has improved his route running and is explosive with the ball in his hands. Still developing, Curtis has the potential to ascend to a No. 2 receiver in a good passing offense. McDonald, the Rams' fourth receiver, likely never will be more than a No. 3 in the NFL. He lacks height and size, but he is a very quick route runner. David Tyree is a special teams demon who would be a major loss for the Giants should they fail to bring him back. He could be attractive to a contender in need of a special teams leader. Overall, this is just an ordinary free-agent group, and the draft doesn't have much top-end talent at receiver. Those facts could compel teams to overpay for the position in the offseason. Tight end This group is seriously lacking in star power. None of this year's free-agent tight ends figures to make a big impact with a new team in 2006. However, a handful of players are experienced pros who can contribute as spot starters and role players. Chris Baker, Christian Fauria, Jerame Tuman, Aaron Shea, Justin Peelle, Dan Campbell and Matt Schobel won't be top priorities for their current teams, but each potentially could help his career -- and a new team -- with a change of scenery. Baker is young and has pass-catching upside because of good athletic ability and above-average speed. He can stretch the seam, but is very inconsistent and needs to play with more passion. Fauria is lost behind New England's two talented young tight ends, but the veteran still is a reliable receiver who knows how to get open in the middle of the field. Tuman is tough and intelligent, but he really doesn't excel in any one area. He seems destined to be a career backup. Shea, who lacks adequate lower-body strength and power, is more of an H-back. But he is a reliable receiver who will make some plays. Shea tends to get nicked up a lot, though, which could hurt his value. Peelle shows some athleticism as a receiver and still is young enough to have some upside. He has improved as a blocker, but with Antonio Gates on the roster, Peelle isn't a top priority for San Diego. Campbell isn't much of a playmaker, and he lacks quick-twitch route-running skills. But he has excellent size and is a powerful blocker in both the running and passing games. Schobel has good size and speed, but his blocking is a liability. He had a history of hamstring problems early in his career but recently has stayed relatively healthy. A team in the market for a tight end to contribute solely in the passing game could get some big plays out of Schobel. Although there isn't an upper-echelon option in the bunch, plenty of solid No. 2 tight ends will be available in free agency. edited for my stupidity. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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