Draft Analysis: Limas Sweed, WR, Texas Longhorns

by Carland B. Whitaker on April 17, 2008 @ 16:04:32 PDT

 


A preseason All-American, University of Texas wide receiver Limas Sweed was viewed as one of the nation's top receivers in the summer of 2007, but halfway through the year, Sweed's senior season was cut short by an injury. After struggling through six games, Sweed underwent surgery in mid-October to repair severely damaged ligaments in his wrist; an injury that happened during spring camp. Thus, after recording 46 receptions for 801 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior, Sweed's final season at Texas ended with just 19 receptions for 306 yards and three touchdowns.

Before missing half of the season in 2007, Sweed had been named to the All-Big 12 first-team in '06 following an honorable mention the previous season. He finished his career second all-time at the University of Texas with 20 touchdown receptions and his 124 receptions rank sixth all-time. He had made 39 consecutive starts, beginning halfway through his redshirt freshman year, before being sidelined last season. Despite the injury, Sweed is expected to be one of the first receivers taken and is a possible first-round pick.

Positives

Sweed is a big receiver (6-foot-3 7/8, 215 pounds) with long arms and soft hands. Scouts consider him tough, strong and possessing good ball skills. The fifth-year senior can overpower smaller corners trying to jam him at the line and is not afraid to run the tough routes across the middle. He can propel his body well into the air and has strong hands to fight for the jump ball, making him even more difficult for cornerbacks to defend.

Sweed runs quality routes and is a natural at locating the soft spots in the zone. He has excellent body control, allowing him to use his size to shield the ball from defensive backs while also making him dangerous while working the sidelines. Sweed can make defenders miss in the open field or can break through arm tackles. He has a tremendous work ethic, which should help him succeed at the next level.

Negatives

A bit raw and unpolished when it comes to route running, Sweed lacks some crispness going into and coming out of breaks and is inconsistent in his execution as well. Concentration has also been an issue, which sometimes leads to him not getting into proper position to make a reception or looking upfield before he has the ball in his possession - both of which can result in drops. Despite his size, Sweed is not an overpowering blocker and can shy away from engaging defenders when runs are called to his side.

The left wrist was a major problem for him that eventually required season-ending surgery. It is supposed to be close to 100 percent, but it still raises some questions about his durability.

Expected Draft Placement

Sweed is among the top receivers in the 2008 NFL Draft and should be selected in the latter stages of the first round or early in the second. The Seattle Seahawks have shown a great deal of interest in him because wide receiver D.J. Hackett (Carolina Panthers) departed during free agency and the team’s No. 1 receiver, Deion Branch (knee), is recovering from ACL surgery. Receiver Bobby Engram is 35 and wideout Nate Burleson is inconsistent, which makes receiver an area of need for Seattle. Thus, if he is still on the board when the Seahawks get their first pick (25th overall), Sweed may be a good fit and might be able to make a difference. Other teams that could have some interest in Sweed in Round 1 include the Philadelphia Eagles (19th), Tennessee Titans (24th), Dallas Cowboys (28th) and San Francisco 49ers (29th). If he falls into the second round, don't expect him to last long as several teams picking in the top 10 have needs at the receiver position.

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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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