Heyward-Bey seeks redemption in Indy
Jim Irsay’s “wopper” has landed.
Well, maybe not a “wopper,” but a young wide receiver with the speed to replace Donnie Avery.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, the Raiders’ seventh overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, will be suiting up for the Colts in 2013. Unsurprisingly, there are mixed feelings over Ryan Grigson’s latest, and tenth, free agent acquisition.
In Oakland, DHB was a major disappointment. It’s easy to blame the embarrassing quarterback play the Raiders have experienced since what seems like forever, and possibly the expectations attached to a guy that was brought into a franchise on the verge of a total meltdown.
I mean did the fans really expect him to be a star with all of the dysfunction in Oakland?
However, it’s evident that DHB has fundamental issues that go well beyond the shackles of the dreadful quarterback play he was forced to deal with over the last four years. His hands have been a problem from the very beginning of his young career, along with his inability to get separation consistently. For a speedster like DHB, you’d think this would be the one area he would find a lot of success, but that hasn’t been the case.
Compared to his Oakland offensive counterparts Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford, who have also dealt with the same dreadful quarterback conditions, DHB has enjoyed minimal success as a target for the deep ball.
He’s not exactly a player to rave about, but not one to moan and groan about, either. This is a low-risk, high-reward signing that could, as Grigson suggests, pay huge dividends for the development of both Andrew Luck and Heyward-Bey.
And to DHB’s credit, he’s cleaned up his butterfingers, greatly, over the last two years.
According to Pro Football Focus, his average drops hit a career-low in 2011 at 8.5%, but spiked up to 12.8% in 2012. Those percentages are much, much better than the 21.2% and whopping 35.7% he posted in 2010 and in his rookie year, but there also among the highest for players at his position. In other words, he needs to get a lot better.
His 4.3 speed absolutely screams deep threat, and if he can develop as an intermediate option in Pep Hamilton’s WCO, he could ultimately spread his wings as the deep threat that he was advertised to be coming out of college.
And for those of you disappointed in the signing, I ask you to give it a shot. It’s not Victor Cruz (or even close), but it’s apparent that Grigson isn’t worried about buying popular names. Most of Colts nation was foaming at the chance to have #80 in a different shade of blue in 2013, but his name and exceptional talent would have come with a hefty price tag.
Now, with the addition of DHB, the Colts can see if they can awaken some of his obvious physical talent, while also looking to the draft with the mandatory first rounder they would have used to acquire Cruz.
Some signings are just solid, and if you ask me, this is another solid signing by Grigson.
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