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NFL Draft Spotlight on Dezmon Briscoe
Think back for a minute, to the last time we saw Dezmon Briscoe in a Kansas University football uniform.
November 28, 2009. There was Briscoe, decked out in a red jersey, blue pants and a blue helmet, torching the Missouri Tigers for 242 yards and 2 TDs on 14 receptions.
What we saw that day was a playmaker, a guy who, no matter how fast he ran or how well he measured, simply found a way to get the ball and then knew what to do with it.
That is the Dezmon Briscoe that will be drafted into the NFL next week, the guy who some team will decide to take a chance on and be very happy they did.
For the past several weeks, Briscoe has been talked about by NFL analysts more for what he lacks than what he has. Sure, he might not have blazing speed. And no, he’s not the strongest wide receiver available in this year’s draft. But isn’t the wide receiver position the one spot where size and speed don’t necessarily make the player?
Isn’t the NFL a place where guys like the slower Brandon Stokley, the undersized Steve Smith and the slight Marvin Harrison became stars?
So why not Briscoe?
The key to Briscoe’s success in the NFL will be landing with the right team. He’s not the kind of player who teams will take if they’re in need of a No. 1 receiver. He’s probably not even the kind of player a team will take if it needs a solid No. 2 to start opposite their big-time playmaker. But he has No. 3 wide receiver written all over him and could benefit greatly from playing in the shadows of two more proven, more professional wideouts for a couple of seasons before becoming a starter.
Throughout his time at KU, Briscoe often talked about how Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald was his favorite receiver in the league. He likes Fitzgerald’s demeanor, he likes Fitzgerald’s confidence and he marvels — as we all do — about Fitzgerald’s willingness to do whatever it takes to come down with a ball that’s hanging in the air. Briscoe wants to be that guy. What better player to learn from than Fitzgerald himself?
In fact, in the four-round analysis of the upcoming draft done by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. on Wednesday, he had Briscoe going to Arizona with the 58th pick overall.
For my money, that would be the ideal situation for Briscoe. He’d receive second-round money, he’d play with and learn from arguably the greatest receiver in the game today and he’d do so without pressure because of the presence of Arizona WR Steve Breaston, who likely will start opposite Fitzgerald now that Anquan Boldin has left the desert. That puts Briscoe at No. 3 and from there he can learn and adapt to the NFL game while still seeing plenty of playing time.
I’ve followed enough of these drafts to know that things don’t usually pan out the way I see them going. There’s a reason for that. I’m a sports writer, not a General Manager. But Briscoe to Arizona seems to be a perfect plan and, for Dez’s sake, I’d love to see it happen.
Of course, there are a few other teams who could benefit from Briscoe’s services. The Denver Broncos just parted ways with superstar Brandon Marshall and surely will be looking to add a receiver. With Eddie Royal and Jabar Gaffney penciled in as Denver’s likely starters, Briscoe could be a nice addition in the Mile High City. The New England Patriots also are looking to add receiver depth and so, too, are the Seattle Seahawks. Any and all of these teams could pass on the top guys and snag a steal in Briscoe, perhaps as late as the third round.
Any guesses on what type of player Briscoe, 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, will be at the next level? The other day we talked about Darrell Stuckey being a Brian Dawkins type of safety.
I see Briscoe becoming a T.J. Houshmandzadeh (6-2, 203) type of wideout — a big target with reliable hands, decent speed and the ability to become an ideal No. 2 receiver at some point in his career.
Any other names come to mind?