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The Future 40, Prospect 9: Eric Decker Scouting Report

February 17, 2010

A new series was formed over 2 weeks ago here at Bleed Green called The Future 40, and the next edition is here! The segment has and will continue to run every other day until late April as we provide you with in-depth scouting reports of some 2010 NFL Draft prospects, giving you information key to understanding some of the players’ strengths, weaknesses, projected round of selection, possibility of being picked by the Eagles, and much more! And because the Draft is an important event for the entire league, some of the top-ranked players not expected to go to Philadelphia will also be reported on. In the first look at a prospect, we evaluated Nebraska’s DT Ndamukong Suh, who many consider to be the best player in the entire rookie class. In the second, we examined powerful RB Jonathan Dwyer and in the other editions that have released, FS Darrell StuckeyLB Sean WeatherspoonCB Joe HadenQB Mike Kafka, OT Ciron Black, and DE Greg Hardy. This time around, we will hop over to the offensive side of the ball and look at Eric Decker:

  • Prospect Name: Eric Decker
  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • College: University of Minnesota
  • Height/Weight: 6’2″, 215 pounds
  • Age: 22 years
  • Class Status: Senior

Summary: If not for an injury and great ability in a contact sport, Eric Decker may not have even been mentioned as a potential selection in this April’s NFL Draft. A solid baseball player at Minnesota, the physical athlete considered pursuing a career in the MLB as an outfielder. He was even picked by the Twins in the league’s rookie draft, but chose to remain steady on his course towards professional football. As a freshman in 2006 (technically his second year at the college, for he was redshirted in ’05), he saw little playing time as a backup receiver, but eventually worked his way into a situational role. He finished the season as arguably the squad’s most reliable target down the field in terms of the lower-end depth at the WR position. Because of this, Decker began the following year as one of the Golden Gophers’ starters, and he undoubtedly produced in the new, larger opportunities. Ending the campaign with roughly 100 receiving yards shy of 1,000 and 9 touchdowns, his future as a stud Wide Receiver was beginning to take shape. In 2008, Decker experienced what was clearly the best seasonal performance of his collegiate tenure at Minnesota; he notched a remarkable 84 catches for 1,074 yards and 8 total scores. In addition, he gained national respect, for he received consideration for the honored Biletnikoff Award and started to rise on scouts’ WR rankings. Heading into his senior season of ’09, the 215-pound target expected to be one of the NCAA’s best and most consistent offensive players. Up until about the midway point of the season, it appeared he would have been so. However, a sprain and a few other injury problems associated with his foot led to the WR missing the remainder of the year. Through only about half of Minnesota’s games, he had reached 758 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns (totals that would have easily surpassed his previous career-highs). Nevertheless, he remains one of the most reliable wideouts entering the Draft, is probably the most NFL-ready of any player at his position.

Career Statistics:

YEAR REC YDS AVG LNG TD ATT YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2006 26 378 14.5 39 3 1 5 5.0 5 0 0 0
2007 67 909 13.6 59 9 3 22 7.3 12 0 0 0
2008 84 1074 12.8 75 7 11 87 7.9 19 1 0 0
2009 50 758 15.2 53 5 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0

Notable Achievements/Awards:

  • Academic All-Big-10 Honors (2006, 2007)
  • Bruce Smith Award (2007)
  • All-American Honors (2008)
  • All-Big-10 Honors (2008, 2009)
  • Finalist for Biletnikoff Award (2008, 2009)
  • Biletnikoff Award winner (2009)
  • Candidate for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award (2009)

Strengths:

  • Has great hands in the receiving game and rarely drops passes
  • Able to concentrate extremely well when ball is in the air and he is pursuing it
  • Willing to go over the middle of the field to receive passes
  • Possesses intimidating size for a player at his position
  • Has shown ability to hold onto the ball after sustaining a big hit
  • Takes advantage of his size and hands
  • Can adjust well to poorly-thrown balls
  • Is powerful and strong immediately off the line against opposing coverage men
  • Has good break-tackle ability in the open field
  • Is an underrated, solid blocker
  • Utilizes his speed well, especially since he is definitely not the fastest of the WRs in the 2010 Draft
  • Has a tremendous work ethic and attitude

Weaknesses:

  • Has little upside
  • Doesn’t have top-tier abilities to act as a deep receiving threat
  • Rarely displays signs of explosiveness or open field speed
  • Lacks a good level of agility

Projected Round of Selection: 3rd round

NFL Player Comparison: Kevin Walter, Houston Texans

We hope that everyone enjoyed the ninth report for The Future 40 prospect segment, and urge you to keep checking back for more scouting analysis as the series continues all the way up until the Draft! Also, remember that we will happily take and consider requests from our fans for this series! If you or another Eagle fanatic is interested in seeing a certain player be evaluated in The Future 40, be sure to contact us as soon as possible, and we will attempt to include your selected prospect!

(picture source)

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