Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC Trojans

by Ilan Mochari on March 29, 2007 @ 16:00:00 PDT

 


After a winning, record-setting career at Southern California, wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett is likely to be one of the first six receivers selected in the 2007 NFL Draft.

Background

During 2003, when Jarrett was a senior at New Brunswick High in New Brunswick, N.J., his team won the state championship. One season later, when Jarrett was a freshman at the University of Southern California, the Trojans won the national title. Jarrett had five catches for 115 yards and one touchdown in the championship game, a 55-19 demolition of Oklahoma. On the season, Jarrett caught 55 balls for 849 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Spanning the duration of his sophomore year, Jarrett posted 91 catches for 1,274 yards and 16 touchdowns. USC finished 12-1 and lost in the national championship, 41-38, to quarterback Vince Young's Texas squad. Jarrett finished with 10 catches for 121 yards and one touchdown in the title contest.

Finishing his junior season, despite missing one game with a shoulder injury, Jarrett logged 70 catches for 1,015 yards and 12 touchdowns. In his final game, in which USC defeated Michigan 32-18 in the Rose Bowl, Jarrett caught 11 passes for 205 yards and two scores. USC finished with an 11-2 mark. 

Overall, in a college career spanning 38 games, Jarrett amassed 216 catches for 3,138 yards and 41 touchdowns. He now holds the USC record for career receptions and the Pac-10 Conference mark for career touchdowns. He also ranks second in career receiving yards at USC, behind only Johnnie Morton (3,201). 

Positives

Jarrett - who measures 6-foot-4, 219 pounds - had three outstanding statistical seasons at one of the nation's elite college football programs. His touchdown numbers are especially impressive as he averaged more than one score per game.

Moreover, Jarrett excelled in important games. He played twice for the national title. Each time, he scored once and racked up more than 100 yards.

In addition, some of Jarrett's physical attributes are first rate. He excels at snatching jump balls because of his height, long arms and the superb timing of his leaps. For a tall, long-striding player, Jarrett also has terrific balance and body control along the sidelines.

Negatives

Jarrett's speed has been his major Achilles' heel. Jarrett only exacerbated suspicions of his slowness when he refused to run at the NFL combine Feb. 25 in Indianapolis. Jarrett cited a hamstring injury as his reason for not running, but many believed he was simply worried that a poor showing would damage his draft position.

Jarrett's slowness is not his only weakness. There are reports that he becomes vocal or slacks off when he is not the primary target in the offense. Other reports question his practice intensity, his raw physical strength, his desire to go over the middle and the precision of his route running.

Clearly, none of these flaws prevented Jarrett from achieving a great deal in college. However, it does not help Jarrett's case that current Detroit Lions wide receiver Mike Williams - Jarrett's slow but statistically productive predecessor at USC - has failed to overcome a lack of straight-line speed at the pro level. Jarrett often received comparison to Williams, an assessment that doesn't bode well for Jarrett's draft stock considering the failure Williams has been thus far during his short NFL career.

Draft Placement

Jarrett ran at USC's Pro Day March 28 in Los Angeles. He was clocked at 4.60 and 4.65, which was on par with times expected. In fact, some projected Jarrett to run in the 4.7-4.8 range, so he may have helped his stock in some eyes. 

A possible landing spot for Jarrett is the Tennessee Titans, who select 19th. The Titans need reinforcements at receiver, having lost Drew Bennett (St. Louis Rams) and Bobby Wade (Minnesota Vikings) in free agency. Furthermore, Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow coached Jarrett at USC in 2004.

Other potential first-round homes for Jarrett include receiver-starved teams such as the Kansas City Chiefs (who pick 23rd) and San Diego Chargers (who pick 30th).

While no one disputes Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech will be the first wide receiver chosen, there is no consensus on which receiver will go second. That is why Jarrett could land anywhere between 10th and 30th. Jarrett might even slide into the second round, if teams decide he is an inferior prospect to Ted Ginn Jr. of Ohio State, Dwayne Bowe of Louisiana State, Robert Meachem of the University of Tennessee, and Sidney Rice of South Carolina.

It does not seem likely is Jarrett falling out of this first tier and into the second tier, a reputable group including Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio State, Craig Davis of LSU, and Jarrett's teammate, Steve Smith of USC, who is on the rise.

In a draft so deep at receiver, it is also conceivable that a player of Jarrett's caliber will fall on draft day, even after he ran efficiently at his Pro Day. Teams with a need at receiver might simply opt to wait until Round 2 to select one, in the belief that the pool of talent at other positions will dry up much sooner.

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About Ilan Mochari

Ilan Mochari has been a KFFL contributor since 2007.

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