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The Senior Bowl hype train has certainly begun with the diminutive Duke receiver, Jamison Crowder.  For all you Justified fans, he is no relation to outlaw Boyd Crowder.  The wide out is quite jcrowderexciting to watch and certainly made a lot of fans during his football practices in Mobile.  I decided to review six of his games to see his football skills in action.  The games I watched were against Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, Miami, Texas A&M, and North Carolina.  Here is what I saw:

WR Jamison Crowder, Duke 5′ 9″ 175 lbs.

Cons: When asked to block, the receiver doesn’t keep his feet under him.  He leans too much and either gets shoved aside or knocked down.  Crowder is not a big athlete at 5’ 9” 175 lbs. and shows it with a lack of toughness.  The wide out does not have much leg drive or power and seemed to be brought down by too many arm tackles for someone so elusive.  Crowder struggled with fielding punts, fumbling during the Senior Bowl and in a few of the games I watched.  He seems to focus on what is in front of him, instead of the task at hand. The receiver suffers from a bad habit of him letting the ball into his body, instead of attacking it in the air about half the time.  Snatching the pigskin would help him as he doesn’t always come down with contested passes. He did get jammed at the line by physical corners that put their hands on him right away.

Pros: Crowder lines up mostly in the slot, but spends time as an outside receiver and gets sent in motion quite a bit.  This helps him find the best matchup and creates a clearer route for him to run. The receiver uses his foot frequency to get off the line with a corner lined up right on top of him.  Once away from the line of scrimmage, Crowder creates separation, usually within five yards, and uses double moves to get free in the open field.  He tracks the ball well in the air, runs underneath passes, and has good body control adjusting to poorly thrown passes.  His routes are crisp and fluid.

Some of his most explosive plays were bubble screens that let him take advantage of his start/stop agility and ability to maneuver in close quarters.  On almost every screen I saw, the wide out made the first man miss.  He can out leap most defenders, then uses combinations of hurdling, juking, and stiff-arming his way to daylight. Crowder has a great jump cut that he uses to get away from defenders closing in on him.  The receiver almost hovers an inch in the air, changing directions effortlessly, and accelerates to second/third gear within a step or two with no wasted effort.  He is willing to catch passes in the middle of the field, showing good concentration while protecting himself.

Overall thoughts:  Crowder might be better off as a kickoff returner to start his NFL career, so he can take advantage of his vision and burst.  I still have Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett as a better overall NFL prospect even though most of the fantasy and draft community would disagree with me. This talented receiver could become the next T.Y. Hilton with his deep ball skills or be a flash in the pan like former Lion Titus Young.  I think he will land somewhere between aka a serviceable fantasy WR3, but not a superstar.

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