Mel Kiper's Wrong: Michael Crabtree Won't Be a First Rounder

Bryan GoldbergSenior Writer ISeptember 18, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 25:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses with with San Francisco 49ers #10 draft pick Michael Crabtree at Radio City Music Hall for the 2009 NFL Draft on April 25, 2009 in New York City  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

"With the 21st Pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select...Randy Moss!"

Those words should be haunting Michael Crabtree right now.

If Mel Kiper, or Crabtree's deadbeat cousin, or Eugene Parker, or any other delusional dreamers think that he has a snowball's chance of becoming a top 10 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft...all they need to do is remember the quote above.

Let's revisit the year 1998, shall we?

There was no doubting Randy Moss's talent. In fact, he had many parallels to Crabtree.

Like Michael Crabtree, he was a top Heisman candidate—Moss finished in fourth place. Also like Crabtree, Moss came from a school that wasn't exactly a perennial BCS contender (Marshall). Finally, Moss had a "full of myself" reputation that was highlighted when he worse sunglasses to the Heisman ceremony.

And like Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss was supposed to be a top pick.

Many analysts expected Moss to join the Cowboys, who held the No. 8 pick in the draft. Even that would have been a slide down the draft board. His talent was clearly Top Five potential.

But because of his attitude and his off-field issues, Moss fell to No. 21. His episode with marijuana and a domestic violence rap cost him untold millions of dollars.

That's where the two stories part. Moss accepted the money that he was offered, became a rookie sensation, and put himself on the right track. Crabtree wants his reward before making a single NFL reception.

The reason we must examine this story is because it shows how seriously teams treat bad apples. They don't want to touch them. They don't want to look at them. They don't want to waste their brain power even thinking about them.

And here's another dirty little secret...

...GM's can forgive drug use or domestic violence. They will NEVER tolerate crimes that affect their financial statements.

If Randy Moss had held out the 1998 season and re-entered the draft, he would have fallen to the fifth round. Guaranteed.

Mel Kiper's argument that Crabtree will go Top 12 next year is so asinine that it's hard to know where to begin. I'll make three simple points to counter his sensationalistic attention grab:

* If teams wanted him so bad, he wouldn't have fallen to No. 10 in the 2009 Draft. There were two other teams in between the Raiders (No. 7) and the 49ers (No. 10) who felt that Crabtree's skills did not make him valuable enough to obviate their positional needs. If he was really that good, he would have gone to the Packers at No. 9.

Oh, and 2010 is a much more loaded draft than 2009, so it only gets harder.


* There is no position where conditioning and attitude matter more than WR. Let's face it, if a receiver loses a step, or even a half-step, he's done. Falling out of shape is the death knell for a wide receiver, even one of unmatched talent. Just ask Charles Rogers. Crabtree will have missed a year of top-tier conditioning (and no, catching passes from Shaun Hill doesn't count).

Let's not even get started on attitude problems. Is there any position in sports that is more susceptible to attitude problems than wide receiver? Nope. T-O, Ochocinco, Keyshawn Johnson, the aforementioned Detroit Lions bust.

Wide receivers drive teams nuts, and Crabtree is looking like he has studied his predecessors well.


*Risk. Risk. Risk. Risk. GMs hate taking unnecessary risk. There is more to lose than to gain. Making a seemingly good draft pick and having that pick turn into a bust...that's bad. Picking somebody who has existing red flags and having that guy bust? That is career-ending for a GM.


There is no chance that Crabtree will be a top 10 Pick. He probably won't be a first rounder. And because Al Davis clearly doesn't like him, he may not get taken in the early second round either.

If he thinks that the three reasons above are not convincing, he should hop on the phone with Randy Moss.