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Ceiling players vs Floor players.

Updated on February 27, 2015
This picture is misleading, Tom Brady was neither. He came in with no floor or expectations. We're still waiting to see that ceiling.
This picture is misleading, Tom Brady was neither. He came in with no floor or expectations. We're still waiting to see that ceiling.

As you know, the draft is coming up in a couple of months, and as a Raiders fan, I'm torn.
So far, it seems like getting a big weapon for Carr is the first priority.
It just so happens that this year's WR draft appears to be very deep.
However, as it is every year, there are two guys who are a diving one handed catch above the rest.
Alabama's Amari Cooper and West Virginia's Kevin White are easily the best two receivers in the draft.

Amari Cooper has the right size and speed to be a starting wide receiver in this league.
He's the perfect 6'1, 200 pounds and runs a solid 4.4 fourty.
What makes him an elite talent is his polished route running, his ability to get open, and his outstanding performance after the catch.
When I see Amari Cooper, I think of Reggie Wayne.
They're about the same size, and performed about as well at the combine.
And I think they could have similar careers.
In case you're curious, the average year for Reggie Wayne looks like this-
76 catches, 1025 yards, and 6 touchdowns.
That's actually pretty good.
Looking at the numbers from this year, Houston' Deandre Hopkins was the most similar, and his stats were just outside top ten.
I'm not talking about a one year run either, that's his average.
For perspective, Jerry Rice's average season looked like-
77 catches, 1090 yards, and 9 touchdowns.
Not bad.
Reggie Wayne has never really been the best receiver in the NFL. He's been a top ten player, but he's never really been the guy.

On the other hand, we have Kevin White.
Kevin is far less polished than Cooper. He isn't as great after the catch as Cooper, and despite his size, sometimes struggles against press coverage.
However... He's got a couple of inches on Cooper and ran a 4.35 forty time at the combine.
His vertical and broad jump are better than Cooper's and he's got all the ingredients to be an explosive receiver in this league.
But there are so many question marks.
He didn't perform as well as Cooper did in college, and what happens if he never develops?
On the one hand, I see him, and I think Julio Jones.
On the other, I see Charles Rogers.
Yeah... Huge difference there.
On one hand, you have Atlanta's explosive, if oft injured stud wideout in Julio.
Since joining the league in 2011, he's averaged...
70 catches, 1,083 yards, and 7 TDs a year.
But! You have to mention the games he's missed.
He missed 3 games as a rookie and most of 2013.
I mean, with all the time he's missed, he's actually only played about three seasons.
So a more accurate average looks like-
93 catches, 1,443 yards, 9 touchdowns.
Yeah. Pretty freaking awesome.
He's got good size and great athleticism.
Everyone worshiped Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014, but Julio quietly hauled in 104 catches for 1,593 yards, and 6 touchdowns.
Pretty damn awesome.
Wanna know who else was around 6'3 and had a good 40?
Charles Rogers.
Don't know who Charles Rogers is? Then you aren't a Lions fan.
Rogers was basically the Jamarcus Russell of wide receivers.
In his three year career, his average season looked like...
12 catches for 147 yards, and 1 TD.
He only caught 36 passes in his career...
Yeah... He was never really able to adapt to the pro style of the game, had some injuries, and then there were off the field issues...
Yeah... Not quite worth the second overall pick that the Lions spent on him.

So it got me thinking...

Both of these players define one end of the "floor-ceiling" spectrum.
Just in case you don't know, there are floor prospects and ceiling prospects.
A floor prospect is someone who comes out of college as pro-ready as can be, but has unknown potential.
A ceiling prospect is someone who comes out who has an abundance of potential but is still raw.

Some examples of each.
Floor prospects.
Peyton Manning.
Coming out of college, many people thought he was the most pro-ready prospect they'd ever seen, but they didn't know if he would develop.
Michael Crabtree.
When he was on his way out of Texas Tech, teams were salivating over Crabtree. He wasn't exceptionally fast, but he had solid hands and a great build.
Luke Kuechly.
With all the gifts you could possibly wish on a linebacker, it was a no-brainer that Kuechly could come in and perform. Looking back, the Panthers made the right call selecting him with the #9 pick.
Rolando McClain.
Another can't miss linebacker? Rolando McClain. He was an exceptional run stopper, had the perfect build and good speed, and produced well at Alabama. He wasn't an incredible cover guy, but nobody really asked him to be.

Ceiling prospects.
Ryan Leaf.
It seems silly now, but once upon a time, experts were really high on Ryan Leaf. They loved his intangibles and would ultimately be a better pro than Peyton.
Darren McFadden.
A back-to-back Heisman finalist, and a home run hitter at the combine. He was 6'2, 210, and ran a scorching 40 time. Experts believed McFadden would be even better than Adrian Peterson.
Khalil Mack.
The huge knock on Mack coming out of college was that he was still very raw and hadn't played against top notch talent.
Tony Romo.
Tony didn't even play football in the big collegiate leagues, and probably never would've been a NFL player if he hadn't caught Bill Parcell's eye at the combine. He sat behind a number of failed Dallas QBs, and would've been cut if Quincy Carter hadn't gotten arrested.

So there's no easy answer.
Every player is different.
Some guys come in with the tools to succeed right away and don't, some guys come in with all the potential in the world and don't live up to the hype.
The NFL Draft is a crapshoot, and no pick is safe.
You might think you're getting Peyton Manning and get Jamarcus Russell.
You might think you're getting Calvin Johnson and get Charles Roger.

Which is better?

See results

So who would I prefer?

I don't know.
This is a huge pick for Reggie McKenzie and my Raiders.
If the Raiders miss on this pick, it means 2015 won't be the year we're all desperately hoping it will be (7 wins?).
So how desperate is Reggie?
Is he so desperate that he'll risk drafting Charles Roger or is he going to play it safe and draft Cooper.
I'll be happy either way, and I'll be grabbing a new jersey in September.
But I would really prefer White.
I love the upside, and if he can sync up with Derek Carr, it could change the face of my franchise forever.

Who is better for Oakland?

See results


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