Are you looking for a wide receiver sleeper who is flying not only under, but probably completely off, most radars and has the potential to start? LaVon Brazill may be just the guy you are looking for. He is competing with Austin Collie and Donnie Avery to start opposite Reggie Wayne for the Indianapolis Colts, hardly an imposing group to overtake (especially if the team decides to keep Collie in his role as the slot receiver, though at this point reports have Collie working on the outside in two receiver sets and in the slot for three receiver sets).
The 5’11″ Brazill was drafted in the sixth round (206th overall) out of Ohio University. His five year college career really hadn’t amount to much until last season when he exploded with 73 catches for 1,150 yards and 11 TD. For good measure he returned punts (he had three return TD in 2009) and kickoffs as well
A knee injury cost him all but three games in his junior season, so that is something that has to be monitored closely. As it is, scouting reports prior to the draft pointed to a lack of speed. In Sports Illustrated’s scouting report prior to the draft (click here to view) they said, “Lacks a second gear and top-end speed” to be exact.
That would make you think that there were concerns about his ability to make plays at the professional level. However, that is far from the case. The same scouting report also said:
“Dependable, creative pass catcher who also impacts the game as a return specialist. Displays a sense of timing, possesses good eye/hand coordination and easily makes tough over-the-shoulder catches downfield. Comes back to the ball, finds the open space on the field and makes himself an available target. Extends his hands to make the reception away from his frame and shows skill running after the catch. Easily adjusts to grab the errant throw in stride. Possesses soft, reliable hands. Competitive and holds onto the ball when he takes a big hit. Follows blocks running after the catch and returning punts.”
In other words he has all of the skills necessary to be a dependable play maker, except he lacks a bit of break away speed. At the end of the day there are plenty of receivers who don’t have the best speed who produce big numbers.
Time will tell if he wins a starting job or exactly what his role is with the Colts. So far, however, things appear to be pointing in the right direction. George Bremer of The Hearld Bulletin (click here for the article) recently said:
“Brazill has opened eyes and wowed fans with an assortment of one-handed catches, but he’s also shown the consistency coaches love. No dropped passes immediately spring to mind after more than a full week of practices, and his pure speed is extremely difficult to ignore.”
There is an awful lot to like from what we have seen and heard to date. He may be among the deepest sleepers on draft day, but one that you want to keep in mind.
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