Load of Shit (ebag): Skins nation has been growing quite impatient with the development of Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas. Obviously they both look to have AMAZING potential, but showing up to camp completely out of shape tells me everything I need to know. Hard work to get paid, then whatever. A lot of the patient people (the other Ahern Kool-aid writer) agrees with this sentiment:
As Ryan O'Halloran recently noted in the Washington Times, wide receivers develop notoriously slowly in the NFL, and it's hard to argue. Slowly though it may be, Devin Thomas is definitely improving. I asked him after today's practice why that was. "I'm just trying to fly around and do everything fast. I've been reading my books so I know what I'm doing out there, and Jason knows I'll be there when he looks my way. He's starting to see me working and going harder out there, and he's starting to trust that I'm going to be there."
Oh really? Lets take a look at the class of 2008 we COULD have drafted. We selected Devin Thomas BEFORE Eddie Royal...who last I checked is having a GREAT year (5 TD 757 yards). Also available was DeShaun Jackson now blowing it up for the Eagles (775 2 TD). And what about Marques Colston's break out year in 2007? WRs develop slowly is a cop-out. Self-motivated, hard-working atheletes that want to play and learn the NFL speed are the ones that thrive. Their God-given talent was enough to destroy the competition on the college level, but this is the NFL. It's not going to be an easy transition, and I truly feel these kids think because they got drafted this high, they won't have a difficult time adjusting. Based on Devin and Malcolm's training camp, it was clear our scouting once again failed us. We are now left with the hope we can parent them into staying focused and working hard. Awesome! Blatche. Kwame Brown. Ringing bells? That is an exaggeration, but I certainly won't be shocked if a DUI or some bone-headed move gets these guys a run-in with the law.
Voice of Reason (Sugar):Great, you named two receivers this year out of the many drafted who are having decent years. Awesome. Here are a few guys who are third year guys this year that are having pretty decent seasons: Greg Jennings, Brandon Marshall, Santonio Holmes....Lance Moore. Sure Jennings and Marshall were good before this year, but neither became the MAN until this year. And here is a list of guys who "broke out" in their 3rd year, giving the theory a little credence. Steve Smith, Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Larry Fitzgerald, Marvin Harrison, Lee Evans, Roy Williams, Anquan Boldin, Javon Walker. Fitzgerald and Harrison were injured in their 3rd year, making them the only ones to post statistical drops in catches and yards from season 2 to season 3 (when healthy, both were on pace for improvements). Evans, Williams, Boldin, and Walker all nearly doubled their receptions and yards from season 2 to season 3. Hey, anyone can cherry-pick stats, but these are some heavy-hitters.
I believe it to be true that wide receivers take 2-3 seasons to develop in the pros. Not only does it take time to get in a rhythm with the QB, but they need to learn the nuances of both their offense as well as those of the various defenses they will face and the corresponding moves they employ to answer. Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly can not be judged this year. True, if they were ready to contribute, we would be better. But they're not. However, based on people who know more than us (the players and coaches), these two show they have the ability to make the kinds of contributions that will solidify our wide receiving corps down the road. This was a position that has needed attention in the draft by us for some time. And going into next season they give us the luxury of focusing on the next place where we need to spend as many high round picks as we can gather--offensive and defensive line.
And who is growing impatient with these two guys? The people who were ready to canonize Zorn that only a month later were ready to lynch him? The people who were ready to send Campbell to Canton and are now ready to cut him? Fickle fans aren't true fans. If this team is going make the transition from the short-sightedness that has crippled our player base and mortgaged our future to one that takes the longview on player development and builds through the draft, we all have to be willing to play a little more wait-and-see on our young nucleus.
Suck it Ebag.