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2011 NFL Draft: Fluctuations in the wide receiver market

The prospect evaluation business is an odd one, especially since it takes place so publicly now in the internet age. One man's second round pick is another's late round project. Today comes more debate on a handful of wide receivers who have mostly been seen as mid- and late-round picks. 

Earlier this week, we noted draftnik opinions about LSU receiver Terrance Toliver in the wake of a pedestrian forty time at his school's pro day. Speed has always been an issue with Toliver, and his pro day time was worse than his Combine time. It reinforced the belief held by many that Toliver was mid-round role player, a "meh" prospect as 3k called him. 

Today, comes a report from Tony Pauline who says Toliver is moving up teams' draft boards. He goes on to say that Toliver is a second round prospect who make it out of the third round. What happened? Most likely it's just a case of divergent evaluations, sort of like someone poo-pooing Aldon Smith yesterday. But go back to something Todd McShay said about Toliver at the East-West Shrine Game.

He is a big receiver and today's red zone and one-on-one drills played to his strength as he could use his body to shield defenders. He doesn't have great speed, but he uses his body well to separate, has long arms and big strong hands. On film, he seems inconsistent. But on Wednesday, we saw what he can be with the right coaching and when put in the right position to succeed.

Emphasis on "with the right coaching" that gets at the different valuations teams can have for prospects and why some draftniks reports pf draft stock differ from other opinions and rankings.

Going back to Pauline's report he notes that UNC receiver Greg Little won't be picked before the third round because of character concerns. Those cropped up at the Combine when Pauline reported that some teams felt Little's interviews lacked a little honesty regarding his suspension at UNC. It's not hard to buy this report at all. It also conjures up the inevitable Mike Williams comparison. Can the team that drafts Little, be it in the fourth round or wherever, coax the best out of him? If so, he could be another late-round steal.