Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2007 – Round 1 #2 – Detroit Lions – WR Calvin Johnson

ESPN’s Chris Berman reports that Georgia Tech wideout wide receiver Calvin Johnson, widely touted as the best player available in the draft–and perhaps the best WR coming out of college in more than a decade–just received a phone call and his a big smile on his face.

Presumably, that means the Detroit Lions are once again taking a wide receiver with a top ten pick. It’s possible, though, that they’ve traded away the pick and someone else will take Johnson in this spot. Or the Lions will take Johnson and trade him later. Or Johnson is smiling for some other reason entirely….

They pulled the trigger and took Johnson.

What the Experts Say: Profile:

Calvin Johnson Photo Civies Player Evaluation: Possessing tremendous size, athletic ability and soft hands, Johnson is the “go-to” receiver who cannot be stopped. Grades out as the top prospect in this year’s draft and will be an early selection in round one.

STRENGTHS: Hands and Concentration, Red Zone Weapon, Size

AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Elusiveness with Catch, Route-Running Skills

Biography: Three-year starter awarded All-Conference honors since his freshman campaign and named ACC Player of the Year last season. Junior numbers were 76/1,202/15 after 54/888/6 as a sophomore.

Calvin Johnson Photo Georgia Tech Uniform Pos: Big, fluid, game-controlling receiver who is a dominant force. Uses his frame as an advantage and makes the difficult reception with defenders draped on him. Displays terrific eye/hand coordination, effortlessly catching the ball in stride or making incredibly acrobatic receptions down the field. Strong, sturdy wide out who takes a pounding, yet holds onto the throw and breaks tackles to pick up positive yardage. Comes back to the ball, finds the clearing in the defense and extends his hands, offering the quarterback a big target. Displays a sense of timing getting vertical and winning out for jump balls. Makes the difficult over-the-shoulder reception, adjusting for the errant pass. Gives effort blocking downfield.

Neg: Lacks the quick release off the snap. Long loping runner with built-up speed. Weighed 239-pounds at the combine, about 20-pounds more than scouts wanted.

The Cleveland Browns (v 2.0) are on the clock….


Detroit Lions’ general manager Matt Millen will undoubtedly take a lot of heat for drafting yet another receiver in the first round but Johnson is the best overall talent. In fact, he is arguably the most talented receiver taken in a decade. Blazing speed, impressive body control and formidable size could make Johnson one of the most difficult receivers in the league to cover this year. If he improves his consistency catching the ball and sharpens his route running skills, defensive coordinators will have a difficult time finding ways to slow him down.

Offensive coordinator Mike Martz should be smiling right now because he knows exactly how to get the most out of a player like Johnson. Johnson will benefit from playing under Martz as well because Martz’s scheme demands his receivers run crisp routes. However, it’s important to note that Johnson may not be in a Lions’ uniform next year. Detroit will likely entertain any trade offers from teams like Tampa Bay in an effort to stockpile picks.

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