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Auburn v Alabama
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
  1. DRAFT A WIDE RECEIVER OUT OF THE MAC. There’s really no telling what you’re getting with a big name wide receiver coming out of college. Is he just the big dude who jumps high and has decent separation speed at the college level, but has no ability to run routes with precision? Is he a converted running back still five years away from being effective at the position? Is he an Air Raid beneficiary whose stats should be cut in half? Is he Mike Evans? Probably should have drafted Mike Evans if there was a Mike Evans there.
  2. ALWAYS DRAFT A WIDE RECEIVER WITH BICEPS ONE CAN SEE FROM THE UPPER DECK. Mike Evans is pretty much what LeBron James playing football would look like. Watch his 2013 game against Alabama where he’s wrestling the ball away from future NFL DBs mid-air, it’s just a long highlight reel of stanky disrespect in all directions. (Alabama won that game, but like all Alabama victories it didn’t matter because life under the oppression of Nick Saban requires some seriously strong psychologies of optimism.) The correlation is clear beyond Mike Evans: Julio Jones, Greg Jennings, Dez Bryant, and David Boston all enjoyed or still enjoy football success thanks to dazzling speed accented by popping boat muscles. Is this science? No, but Jon Gruden is back in the league, and he says science and the spread offense are for nerds, so it’s definitely for nerds. GUNS UP.
  3. DRAFT A WIDE RECEIVER OUT OF THE MAC, CONT’D. So yeah, instead of sifting through the pile and trying to separate a player from the system, go out and draft whoever leads the MAC or some other mid-major in receiving. (See: The MAC’s own Antonio Brown, or Kent State’s Julian Edelman.) Alternately called the T.Y. Hilton Rule, since the basic dynamic is watching a game that comes on like a Wednesday night, watching one guy completely torch a team for 300 yards of total offense, and then going WHO THE HELL IS THAT AND WHY IS HE PLAYING AT FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL???? It never fails, mostly because it relies on waiting until the third or fourth round when no one’s paying attention anyway.
  4. TAKE AN LSU RECEIVER. Low mileage guaranteed! Mostly because they’re undoubtedly talented, and have had a ham sandwich in cleats throwing them passes for three or four years. Also got a lot of practice run blocking, so by definition the kind of quiet, team-oriented non-distraction the dullest NFL GMs want. We’re talking ourselves into LSU secretly creating a pipeline for NFL receivers by underutilizing them, and then making that part of the sales pitch. That’s free strategy, Coach O, take it and sell it to the next future NFL superstar who finishes their senior season with 874 yards receiving. (D.J. Chark ran a 4.34 yesterday. HOW. HOW DO YOU KEEP DOING THIS, LSU?)
  5. DON’T OVERTHINK IT AND TAKE A MUTANT WHEN ONE COMES ALONG. The Julio Jones and Randy Moss Rule, i.e. “yes this person is hilariously dominant at their position, so do not overthink it and take them.” There were twenty NFL teams who passed on Randy Moss! And only one of them took Peyton Manning with that pass! This happens all the time, and stop letting it. When 100% of people tell someone that a player is going to be good, just do it and stop finding reasons not to take them, which is what Atlanta did not do when they took Julio Jones sixth in the 2011 Draft with everyone yelling YES DO THIS BECAUSE HE IS AN ALIEN AND ALIENS MAKE GREAT WIDE RECEIVERS. This marks maybe the fifth or sixth instance in Atlanta history when a good decision was made quickly without trying all the others. Kudos to the Falcons for that.
  6. DRAFT A WIDE RECEIVER WHO PRODUCED WITH A BAD OR SPOTTY QUARTERBACK, AKA THE CALVIN JOHNSON RULE. The easiest buy in the draft. Simply ask someone who watches college football what team has the worst/most inconsistent QB play, and then look at their wide receivers, and select accordingly. Keenan Allen put up 1300 yards receiving at Cal with Zach Maynard throwing to him, and is pretty much the best example not named Calvin Johnson of this. (Don’t mention this to Keenan Allen, because Zach Maynard is his brother.) Unless we want to talk about Alvin Kamara, which...
  7. DRAFT A SKILL PLAYER AT TENNESSEE WHO DID NOT GET PLAYING TIME UNDER BUTCH JONES. Position doesn’t really matter, actually. Talent was so mismanaged under Butch Jones that there’s probably a defensive end who could line up and get 800 yards receiving and 8 TDs out of the slot this year.
  8. TAKE A GOOD TWITTER ACCOUNT. If there is a balance between the negatives and the positives, take someone with a good Twitter account. It indicates a commitment to efficiency and a willingness to talk shit, an extremely important thing for a wide receiver going up against DBs who might be live-tweeting a stream of shit-talk during the game itself. Does anyone regret taking De’Anthony Thomas, either in football or in life, regardless of the stats?