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Britt watch

One bit of news is that according to NFL.com, Rutgers will hold its Pro Day on March 23rd.

A NFL talent evaluator told Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News that Kenny Britt is one of thirteen junior declarees likely to go in the first round of the NFL draft. I like reading talent evaluations (especially when it comes from a skilled analyst such as Mike Mayock), but the best way to gauge a prospect's stock is probably to find a columnist that relies on this kind of off-the-record commentary, like Gosselin or Bob McGinn.

Jeff Risdon of RealGM took a look at the 2009 Wide Receiver class last week. A few fans aren't happy about the second half of his evaluation of Britt.

Negatives: Inconsistent effort, takes plays off. Indifferent blocker. Tends to make the difficult look routine and the routine look difficult. Can be chippy and overconfident to the point of absurdity. Not known for having a strong work ethic or responding well when it's questioned. Got suspended for violation of team rules, reputedly insubordination to coaches. Lacks elite top end speed. Doesn't always play at top speed, particularly against lesser competition. Offers no added value on special teams.

NFL Comparison: Terrell Owens the player and some of the persona.

Is he just referring to the McShay/PFW comments? I emailed Risdon to clarify, and to his credit he did get back to me. His response was that scouts have told him that Britt has effort issues in practice, and missed curfew a couple times.

Like it or not folks, this is what's out there. We heard absolutely nothing about Clark Harris being trouble two years ago, but that's what the NFL believed. There's always an off chance that some team really likes Britt and has been intentionally talking him down. Now, I still disagree with some of this assessment. Britt has NEVER displayed any of TO's on-field antics or thrown teammates under the bus. Pretty much every big name receiver in the NFL is a diva to some extent. I can accept that he will fall into that category, but Terrell Owens is such an extreme case that comparing anyone's attitude to his is just a plain exaggeration.

Maybe Britt is a loudmouth on the field, or takes plays off, but I can't recall instances of either during the past three years. It's always possible that NFL scouts could be overreacting to a small sample size from practice; they might have visited at a bad day. Perhaps, as it has been alluded to, Britt was "set straight" at some point in 2008.

To Risdon's credit, his WR rankings are actually quite consistent. His top three are Crabtree, Nicks, and Britt, who are relatively finished products. Some of the potential workout warriors out there are much lower on his list. He does manage to avoiding using a few of the common cliches (such as "too many drops", or "got off to a slow start in 2008") that are just plainly wrong. Tiquan Underwood gets a brief mention at the end of the piece.

Tiquan Underwood, Rutgers: Overrated complementary receiver who needs to add some serious mass. Lacks the sudden speed needed for a 6'2", 175 pound beanpole.

Unfortunately, that's completely dead-on. Underwood's light frame causes him to drop far too many catches. He has good hands, and better catching technique than Britt, but his inability to take a hit was a major liability for the second half of 2007 and first half of 2008. He reminds me a lot in that regard of former Eagles WR Todd Pinkston. Underwood has decent deep speed, and it wouldn't surprise me if he does run well and improve his stock in Indianapolis. Just remember that all forty times are not created equal. At 215 lbs, a 4.5 for Britt is actually more impressive than a 185-lb Underwood running a 4.4.

Moving on, SI's Bucky Brooks has Britt as his #5 receiver.

5. Kenny Britt, Rutgers: Britt is a matchup nightmare due to his size (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) and athleticism. The Scarlet Knights' leading receiver dominated Big East opponents on the way to amassing 14 100-yard games in his career. Though he isn't a speed merchant on the perimeter, he'll be an ideal target in the red zone. With bigger receivers currently the rage within the league, look for a team to pluck Britt off the board early in the second round.

Britt lands at #39 on the National Football Post's top 100.

39. WR Kenny Britt, Rutgers
A big, physical wideout with excellent body control and coordination for the position.