Michael Crabtree > Larry Fitzgerald

I still have no idea what the Seahawks are going to do in the first round of the NFL Draft, and we’re only days away at this point. I have no idea what will happen in the top five; I’m assuming Matthew Stafford will get a deal done with Detroit, but nothing is for certain. We all can speculate, but no one truly knows how things will end up this weekend.

What the Seahawks do on Saturday will be dependent on what the three teams ahead of them decide. No one knows for sure what will happen, but the picture is starting to become a little clearer. It seems more likely that Michael Crabtree, specifically, will be available with the fourth overall pick.

I never thought of Crabtree as a realistic possibility for the Seahawks; everything about him goes against what Tim Ruskell prefers in potential draft choices. The production and skills are there, but he declared early as a sophomore and seems to be lacking maturity. It sounds like Crabtree is shaping up to be the next prima donna wide-out in the NFL, and will expect preferential treatment from teammates and management. This is something Tim Ruskell certainly wouldn’t endorse – I don’t think, at least. Couple these problems with the T.J. Houshmandzadeh signing, and the Michael Crabtree selection doesn’t make much sense at all.

With all of that said, the Michael Crabtree-to-Seattle hype is picking up steam again. I’m not completely riding the bandwagon just yet, but I am starting to warm up to the idea.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter, new head coach Jim Mora has a “mancrush” on Michael Crabtree. This platonic relationship was triggered after Mora watched film of the Texas Tech product, and was excited by his run blocking ability. Jim Mora won’t have the final say about the decision on Saturday, but I’m sure his voice will at least be somewhat influential in the war room.

Tim Ruskell wants to select a player who can help the team right away. He has said that he believes Matt Hasselbeck is still “in his prime”, and likely will not choose a quarterback. With plans already laid out for the offensive line and Walter Jones capable of playing for a few more seasons, it is unlikely one of the top tackles would find a starting spot next season. Ruskell has also mentioned his preference to drafting offensive linemen in later rounds, citing group cohesion as a primary predictor of success. When looking specifically for only players who would be able to make an immediate impact on Sundays, the field of prospects narrows to Michael Crabtree, Aaron Curry, and possibly Brian Orakpo.

Is Michael Crabtree our guy?

A lot of people have been high on Crabtree for awhile. Several people believe he is the best prospect, regardless of position, in this year’s draft. Just looking at his incredible statistics at Texas Tech would transform any casual fan into a believer. If the Seahawks pass on Crabtree and he becomes the next great receiver in the NFL, a lot of fans, in hindsight, will be calling for Tim Ruskell’s head (again).

As I mentioned previously, I’m warming up to the idea of selecting Michael Crabtree with the fourth overall pick. He might develop into the playmaker that the Hawks have been sorely missing on the offensive side, and would be a great addition to their arsenal. However, I’m not going to buy into Crabtree just yet.

If selected in the top five, Michael Crabtree will become the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL, according to Matt Bowen at the National Football Post. This means he’ll receive more compensation than Larry Fitzgerald, who has proven his worth with the Cardinals. Hell, Crabtree has already signed a national endorsement deal with Subway, and he hasn’t even played a down in the NFL. Pretty impressive for a college receiver who posted gaudy numbers in a spread offense full of tricks and gimmicks.

If Michael Crabtree is successful in the NFL, he’ll be more like Terrell Owens than Larry Fitzgerald.

In a recent article in USA Today, Crabtree said, “I am a complete football player. If anybody wonders about me, I’m a complete football player. I can say it twice. You can’t do no better.”

ESPN’s Mike Golic recently asked Crabtree why he felt the need to gloat, and he responded, “They were asking questions about me … and I feel like I work real hard, night and day. I got up in the morning thinking about football, working hard and for anybody to say anything about me, I had to show them, I had to let them know. That is what I live by. I always strive for greatness. I can’t settle for less.”

I find that especially interesting, because I’m a little curious as to what Crabtree considers working “hard”. From the April 20th issue of ESPN The Magazine:

Each morning, Crabtree wakes up at 11:30, then sits in bed, simultaneously watching movies on his flat-screen and Young Jeezy videos on his laptop. At around 2 p.m. he makes a move, but he can’t shower, not with his foot in a cast. So the 6’1″, 215-pound former Texas Tech receiver climbs into the tub—his first baths since grade school—bum foot hanging over the edge. At 3 he leaves his place for the first time, impressively fleet on a set of crutches, for lunch at Pappadeaux. The menu: fried shrimp and mashed potatoes, with two lemonades—one with freshly squeezed straw-berries, the other with uncut berries floating in the drink like ice. Then it’s back home for more movies and videos. At 10 Crabtree orders a pepperoni thick-crust from Pizza Hut, the empty box joining nine others stacked like a Jenga game on his kitchen counter. “That’s my regimen,” he says.

Sounds like an outstanding work ethic. Definitely something that has “greatness” written all over it. Or maybe I’m just over-analyzing all of this. Either way, I’m not sold on the idea of spending a top five pick on Crabtree. I think he is a talented player, and if the Seahawks do take him I won’t be upset. But I can’t see how to justify investing so much money in such a risky player.  I’ll have to trust that Ruskell and company have done their homework, and I know their evaluation process is a lot more extensive than mine.

Regardless, I’d rather take Aaron Curry.

Tags: Aaron Curry Arizona Cardinals Brian Orakpo Detroit Lions Draft Draft Pick ESPN ESPN The Magazine Greatness Jim Mora Jim Trotter Larry Fitzgerald Matt Hasselbeck Matthew Stafford Maturity Michael Crabtree Mike Golic National Football Post NFL NFL Draft Offensive Tackle Prima Donna Quarterback Seattle Seattle Seahawks Sports Illustrated Subway T.J. Houshmandzadeh Terrell Owens Texas Tech Tim Ruskell USA Today Walter Jones Wide Receiver Work Ethic

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