By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Writer
The talk of McKinney has been the amazing story of Hollie Cavanagh and her journey on American Idol, but what many people don’t realize is that two of our own could hear their name called this weekend in New York City at the 2012 NFL Draft.
McKinney Boyd alum Jeff Fuller and McKinney North alum David Douglas are both wide receiver prospects that due to strong careers at Texas A&M University and the University of Arizona respectively, have found themselves part of nearly 800 prospects from around North America who could be one of the 253 picks made this weekend.
Now one of the most American things to do around this time is to grab a couple of buddies, sit in a nice, tight circle, and become a couple of general managers in the league by analyzing players and deciding who you would and wouldn’t draft. So in the spirit of staying true to the red, white, and blue, I decided to sit down and examine the tape to see if I would select either Fuller or Douglas if I had control of an NFL franchise. I did not simply read some draft magazine’s summary of each prospect and move on; I found game film and highlights from each player’s careers and did quite a bit of research in order to make my decisions. So without further ado, here is my decision.
Let’s start with Mr. Fuller. Now I wouldn’t even have him on the board in the first three rounds of the draft, so I am pretty sure that he will be up for grabs starting on Saturday. The only way I am taking him in the fourth round is if I really fell in love with the guy during the evaluation process, and the whole time I was watching his games, I always felt like something was missing in his game. So I would wait until at least round five to give him serious consideration. Now when I decided that I would do this project I had the intention of not drafting Fuller because the lack of serious explosion and the number of dropped passes scared me away, but I found an old draft analysis from last season that discussed Fuller heading into the 2011 season. Going into his senior year, Fuller was regarded as a second round talent who could sneak into the first based on teams with needs at wide receiver. The analysis said that his big body and frame mixed in with his intangibles on and off the field made him a very attractive prospect to teams early in the second round.
So then I began thinking about his entire body of work over the four years at A&M, and while his production did drop off his senior season in terms of less yards and more dropped passes, if I was able to put Fuller in a position where he only had to be the number two or three target on a team, I could give him more one-on-one looks against smaller cornerbacks which he could take advantage of with his height and build. The fifth round is all about getting good value for picks, so if I needed a solid three or maybe even a two wide receiver that had first round potential before an injury-riddled senior season, I would pull the trigger on him and try and develop his skill set during his rookie season. If Fuller can cut down on the mental mistakes and play some solid special teams in his rookie year, he might find himself with a bigger role in an NFL offense by year two.
Now let’s finish up with Mr. Douglas. After four years at the University of Arizona Douglas was projected to be a priority free agent, that meant he would have to ultimate say on where he wanted to go based on the offers he received. But after showing tremendous speed and good hands during his Pro Day workout in March, Douglas began hearing his name rise up all the way into the late sixth or early seventh rounds. Douglas is the polar opposite of Fuller in that Douglas is only 6 feet tall and is a technical route runner, meaning that he relies on precision with his movements in order to find a way open. While teams value players who can run flawless routes, Douglas struggles to find separation off the ball against bigger cornerbacks and lacks explosion off the break that can get him open on a consistent basis. If teams would highlight one thing about Douglas, it would be that he was a very hard worker on and off the field and had a mental awareness of the game of football, something most wide receiver prospects don’t have coming out of college.
So now I must decide if I would draft Douglas if I had the chance. Just for the sake of the argument, this is not the same draft that I selected Fuller in because I doubt that I would be able to stay GM for much longer if I picked two wide receivers back-to-back rounds. I don’t even look at the prospect until the seventh round, but when I look at the board I have and see some of the other receivers who could be left in the seventh, I would choose Michigan State receiver B.J. Cunningham over Douglas purely because of his advantage in athleticism. And due to my experience of watching my Lions select wide receivers that climbed up draft boards purely due to strong workouts in shorts and a t-shirt, I just can’t select Douglas in my draft. This does not mean I wouldn’t make a call immediately after the draft and ask him if he wanted to come play for me, but I couldn’t spend a pick on a player who probably needs a year or two on the practice squad before he gets a solid opportunity in the league.
No matter what happens this weekend, I hope that both young men are put in situations that give them the best opportunities to succeed. The NFL is a very tough business and one that isn’t too kind to anybody, but the entire city of McKinney is very excited to have two of their own to watch every Sunday afternoon.
Make sure you follow Town Square Buzz on Twitter to find out if or when Fuller or Douglas are selected, and follow me @TSBSportsBruu. Enjoy the rest of the draft everybody.
Editor’s Note: If you missed Mike’s previous story on what some draft analysts and Boyd coach Don Drake think about Fuller and Douglas, please click here.