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FANTASY FOOTBALL nfl draft coverage

NFL Draft: Player Profile - Earl Bennett
John Tuvey
April 25, 2008
Wide Receiver - Vanderbilt

Combine Height: 5-11
Combine Weight: 209
Combine 40 Time: 4.48

Caught 75 balls for 830 yards and five touchdowns last year.

Skill Set:
The draft is full of fast, athletic guys the NFL projects as pass catchers. A large portion of these players never make it to the field on Sundays because while they can run fast and jump high they can’t get open or catch the football if they do. So there will always be room for guys like Bennett, who might not have the same eye-popping athleticism as other receiver candidates but comes to the NFL as a relatively polished pass-catcher. The politically correct term for his projected role in the NFL is “possession receiver”, as he’s well-suited to work across the middle and in traffic rather than run fly patterns down the sideline. His ability to pick up yards after the catch will be particularly appealing to teams running the West Coast offense.

Possible Destinations:
Bennett falls in between the towering freaks like Limas Sweed, James Hardy, and Malcolm Kelly and the speedy dwarves such as DeSean Jackson and Dexter Jackson. His game is a fit for any team seeking a pass catcher as opposed to a track star, so from the middle of the second round on Bennett could be fielding a phone call from the Bengals, Eagles, Redskins, Bucs, Titans, Colts, Cowboys, or Giants. If he lasts until Sunday the 49ers, Bengals, and Eagles will make sure he’s off the board before brunch.

Fantasy Impact:
There isn’t much immediate upside here, as Bennett isn’t likely to walk into a lineup as either a consistent deep threat or a towering red zone target. He should be a quiet contributor, however, and if he walks into the right situation—Indy’s third receiver? Vince Young’s new favorite target? A reliable option for Donovan McNabb?—he could be considered for a late-round fantasy flier. Dynasty leaguers would be drafting the situation more than the receiver, as Bennett doesn’t project to have a big sexy upside but is more than capable of filling a need in a competent NFL passing game.

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