Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee Volunteers

by Carland B. Whitaker on March 8, 2007 @ 16:00:00 PDT

 


University of Tennessee wide receiver Robert Meachem was one of the most highly sought after high school athletes in the country four years ago. He burst on the national scene in two prep sports and created untold consternation throughout his native state of Oklahoma when he signed to play football at the University of Tennessee. Once there, he disintegrated into near obscurity.

Meachem emerged with a vengeance in the fall of 2006 as he not only led the Volunteers, he led the entire Southeastern Conference in receiving yards and was second in the conference with 11 touchdowns.

Based upon the credentials Meachem established with that one season, Meachem, a red shirt junior, opted to leave college and make an assault on the National Football League.

Table: Robert Meachem - Collegiate Statistics (2004-06) 

Year
Rec
Yards
Avg
TD
2004
25
459
18.4
4
2005
29
383
13.2
2
2006
71
1,298
18.3
11
Career
125
2,140
17.1
17

Background

First, let's take a look at the history. Raised in Tulsa, Okla., Meachem was a Prep All-America and Player of the Year in football. He also played point guard for a team that won two state basketball championships. That should establish that this is a talented athlete.

After a lot of courting, Tennessee managed to land Meachem's services, but a knee injury in August cost him the entire 2003 season. He was given a medical redshirt and sat out. He returned to the field in 2004, played in 13 games but did not start any of them. Nonetheless, he was third on the team with receptions and first in receiving yards. Along with that, he had four touchdowns and was the only receiver to have a 100-yard game.

As a split end, Meachem actually started two of the 11 games he played in 2005. He led the team with 29 receptions, gained 383 yards and scored two touchdowns.

The Vols moved him to flanker for the 2006 season and Meachem exploded, once again, on the national scene. Due to his numbers (71 receptions, 1,298 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns), he ended the season ranked as the nation's number three wide receiver.

Positives

Meachem has been described as the total package. He's big, strong, fast and also quick. His speed and arm extension may be his best two assets but, he also has strong legs that enable him to make indefensible cuts. Once he has the ball in his hands, the fun really begins. His speed, moves and agility make him a tremendous open-field threat.

Meachem posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.39, officially. This is a hair faster than many believed he was.

The list of attributes in the "plus column" include: balance, field awareness, explosion, body control and great hands. Meachem is able to scoop up the difficult passes and can leap which, at 6-foot-3, gives him a distinct advantage over practically all defensive backs. Add to the mix that he comes off the line as an immediate threat to the deep secondary.

Negatives

Meachem's speed may actually get in his way sometimes as he may come out of transitional cuts a bit too narrow. He carries the rap that he occasionally misjudges the ball but, because he is such a tremendous athlete, he generally recovers.

Meachem is a physical blocker, but in order to sustain those blocks, particularly in the NFL, he has to get lower.

Draft Placement

As to his future, going into the 2007 NFL Scouting Combine Meachem was considered a first-round pick by most observers. Following the combine, he actually moved up in the minds of many scouts.

Meachem should be targeted by the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers in the latter portion of the first round.

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About Carland B. Whitaker

Carland Whitaker, a graduate journalist, is a fierce competitor of fantasy football. A former high school football coach, he brings a unique "old school" philosophy and passion for the game. Carland has been a KFFL contributor since 2004.

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