After week one, we've got our first two losers and one of our winners. First up, the losers of round one are the two relative unknowns of Antonio Robinson and Greg Matthews that tied with one vote a piece. It seems the Nicholls State and Michigan products just didn't resonate with the readers. However, in the defense of everyone who didn't see fit to vote for them, they are such unknowns I don't know if their names would resonate with their own mothers. Robinson is a small school project known more for his return skills than his ability as a receiver, and that's when he's known at all. Greg Matthews is the big bodied Michigan product that failed to impress despite showing flashes of quality and having excellent measureables.
Follow me below the fold where we will take a look at the first winner in our little fan poll, and we'll vote again for round two. Remember the lowest leaves, and the highest gets added to the list and a small write up about them. Feel free to campaign for your favorite in the comments.
The winner of the last poll was Devin Aromashodu by a little over 200 votes, considering there were only around 900 votes in total that's a fairly impressive margin of over 20% over his next closest competitor. To say that Bears fans have bought into DA would be an understatement, but it's easy to understand why they the Bears might finally be paying off those IOUs for one quality wide receiver.
First up, a couple of points from Devin's scouting report coming out of Auburn courtesy of CBS Sports
Positives: Has long limbs, good linear quickness and the acceleration to stretch the field … Shows good body control to adjust in his long routes and if given room, he can generate the short burst needed to escape the jam … Has good cutting agility and can adjust in his routes to make the over-the-shoulder grabs … Has good separation ability when he knows the ball is coming to him … Needs minimal reps to retain plays … Has the ability to time his leaps in order to get to the ball at its highest point … Normal strider who can quickly eat up the defender's cushion.
Negatives: Needs to improve his work habits (does what is asked, nothing more) … Will throttle down when not involved in the play … Prefers to operate on sideline and deep routes, as he shies away from contact too much to be effective working underneath … Has some stiffness turning and facing the quarterback … Lacks natural hands, but does look effective making the over-the-shoulder catches … Lacks toughness to compete for the ball in a crowd … Needs to demonstrate better hand placement when blocking … Needs to play with better consistency, as he disappears for long stretches.
Aromashodu is a long-limbed athlete with a lean frame with tight muscles and a very thin waist. He is more of a deep threat due to his quickness and has a sharp linear burst to easily eat up the defender's cushion. He has decent strength to combat the press coverage, but needs to get more physical with his hands in order to keep from being rerouted. He has the body control to make adjustments to the ball in flight and runs good routes upfield.
However, he appears too tight in his hips to generate double moves and does not have the natural hands to secure the ball when facing the quarterback (does a better job catching over his outside shoulder on deep routes). He seems to shy away from contact and is the type of player that needs to be pushed in order to produce. He has frustrated coaches on occasion when he simply throttles down and looks uninterested when not involved in the play. He showed better focus as a senior, but he lacks leadership skills and has yet to answer questions about his overall desire for the game.
One of the best things that can be noted from his scouting report are the knocks against him. The vast majority of them seem to be purely motivational and psychological in nature. They aren't knocks like being too slow, too small, or even not intelligent enough. They are simply knocks about the effort given, and at times his mental toughness. You might be thinking, why is this a good thing? The reason this is actually something to celebrate is these were his knocks coming immediately out of college. Devin has had four years of bouncing around practice squads, inactive lists, active rosters, and the unemployment line. If there was ever a test of the drive of a player, and a way to help them develop that mental toughness it's that kind of life for the past four years.
If he didn't have the drive to be a full-time player in the NFL, he would have already washed out. He wouldn't have been out there every day attempting to learn all he could to crack the roster. He wouldn't have continued honing his skills, and looking for another opportunity after getting waived by the Dolphins of all teams. He had plenty of opportunities to hang up his cleats and settle into a normal life away from football. He didn't, he gutted it out and continued to hone his already noticeable abilities and found himself claimed to the Bears active roster in 2008.
As far as his measureables go they aren't anything that will make you leap from your seat, but they are solidly respectable in almost all regards. Standing at six feet two inches tall, and weighing in just north of 200 pounds he definitely qualifies as a tall receiver in our group filled with quality guys, but most stand 6ft tall or shorter. DA's 40-yard dash again isn't amazing, but is respectable clocking in right around 4.51 on the 40 yard dash, along with having decent scores on the bench. He's not the fastest receiver in the game, but he's fast enough. He's not the strongest receiver in the game, but he's strong enough. He's not the tallest receiver in the game, but he's tall enough. Oh, and most importantly. Sir Sizzle wanted him on the field.
We can sit here and talk about measureables, route running, conditioning, and all sorts of other common points of contention when it comes to receivers, but nothing really compares to the franchise quarterback saying he wants to throw the ball to you. When Jay Cutler made a point of mentioning Devin Aromashodu on multiple occasions, something that isn't a small feat due to his unique name, that meant more than any game tape or coaches evaluation. The guy actually chucking the ball around out there wanted to throw the ball to him, and thought he should be in the mix. Of course, we didn't actually get to see it until later in the year but once we did it was obvious why Sizzle had wanted his company on the field. DA actually had the experience that most of the group lacked, his ability to know where he needed to be and to retain that even when not on the field every down was a help to the beleaguered quarterback.
Much like the over the middle pass to Earl Bennett last year there are some passes that can only be completed when the QB and the receiver have a relationship between them, and Cutler found one with the journeyman with the hard to pronounce name. While he may not be the hard nosed guy that is just dying to lay a hit on the opposing DB, or someone like Earl Bennett who relishes working the middle of the field, there have been plenty of his breed that have been pro-bowl contributors for different teams over the years. One can only hope the story of the journeyman receiver who burst onto the scene can be a fine chapter in the novel written about the 2010 Super Bowl champions during the next off season.