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NFL Draft: Player Profile - Donnie Avery
John Tuvey
April 25, 2008
Wide Receiver - Houston

Combine Height: 5-11
Combine Weight: 192
Combine 40 Time: 4.40

Caught 210 balls for 3,289 yards and 19 touchdowns in four collegiate seasons.

Skill Set:
Avery has two attributes the NFL loves—speed and character. However, his week at the Senior Bowl showed he’s still plenty raw. For starters, playing in Houston’s spread offense means he’s not familiar with the full complement of routes he’ll be asked to run in the pros. There are also concerns about his slight frame, though some time in the weight room should help correct that flaw. Comparisons to Ted Ginn aren’t altogether inaccurate, though Avery is even less finished of a product than Ginn was entering the league last year. Donnie’s speed and return skills ensure he’ll go off the board on Day One of the draft, but it may be some time before he’s called on to do much more than run fast in a straight line.

Possible Destinations:
It’s possible teams will view Avery as a “consolation prize” for missing out on DeSean Jackson, though Avery’s learning curve is certainly steeper as a receiver. But the same teams who might be sniffing around Jackson—the Eagles, the Bucs, and the Titans—could address other needs in Round One, then circle back and add Avery in Round Two. The 49ers could certainly come into play as well, and the Colts wouldn’t be out of the question either.

Fantasy Impact:
That scouts toss out terms like “raw” and “learning curve” in association with Avery’s game suggest that for the first year or two he’ll be little more than a return man and “you go deep” receiver. There’s at least some fantasy value in such a role, especially in leagues where long touchdowns tally bonus points, and if Avery lands in a situation where he won’t be asked to do much more than learn and burn—the Colts, for example—he could be an intriguing last-pick-of-the-draft kind of guy. His speed ensures teams will look for ways to get him the ball, and his work ethic suggests he’ll tackle the learning curve aggressively; stashing him away in a dynasty league, using the three-year plan common amongst receivers, could be a potentially profitable investment.

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