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Draft Preview: Early Doucet

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Isn't the internet great? With a little work and a lot of perseverance, I was able to find a good deal of video on Early Doucet. What I saw was impressive, with a but.

Doucet is a tough guy who doesn't get jammed at the line or flinch when working the middle. He'd be an instant upgrade for Seattle on slant, drag and crossing patterns--essential stuff in the West Coast. He catches the ball away from his body, though I wouldn't say hands are his hallmark. His best trait has got to be his feet. He generates a lot of speed with short, choppy steps. It allows for the quickness out of cuts that creates separation and the agility and explosiveness in the open field that maximizes yards after the catch. He's quick enough to make hay with a direct snap, and tough enough to bounce back. A talented receiver among talented receivers and one more nail in the coffin of JaMarcus Russell's prospectdom.

Doucet isn't a super-clean route runner. His cuts are round if not looping. Given his feet, it's reasonable to think he could improve, and he's by no means bad or incapable of succeeding in the NFL as-is, but there's room for improvement. Doucet isn't a sensational athlete either. Something that might cap his potential. He's a good receiver, very quick, a willing and eager open field blocker, a definite hard worker and someone who isn't too far from starting in the NFL. But I don't think his open field prowess will survive the translation. He could be an above average tackle breaker, but he won't be hip-bending around DBs with the kind of consistency and alacrity he did as a Tiger.

With all that said, I don't think he's worth a first round pick. Seattle might need a wide receiver, and it might be prudent to draft one who won't need a ton of time to get up to speed, but when I think of the potential impact of a first round pick, I want more than Doucet offers. He may be a shade above Courtney Taylor, more exciting in the open field and more dangerous deep, but that's a modest, minor even, return on a first round pick. Whoever drafts Doucet will have themselves a low downside possession receiver with a little dynamite in his shoes, too bad that doesn't hold a candle to a starting left tackle, three-tech DT or balanced safety. After further review, unless DeSean Jackson miraculously falls, I'm not sure any eligible wide receiver is worth a first round pick.