Drew Boylhart February 2008
Donnie Avery   WR   Houston
Donnie is another one of these quick, fast WR’s that can impact for your team without touching the ball that many times in a game.  He has decent size and strength and looks to be a very hard worker.  Donnie can play receiver in the slot or on the outside and his speed will open up the running game when he is on the field.  He will impact your special teams return game and that alone could be enough. 
Donnie does not look like his frame can handle the needed bulk that he would need to be a starting WR in the NFL.  He also is a very sloppy route runner because at the college level, his speed was all he needed.  I’m not sure he has very good balance when he runs and is easily knocked off stride.  He needs to be more consistent in catching the ball and he shies away from contact. 
Donnie looks to be a hard worker, but the fact he shies away from contact now most likely means this will be an issue for his entire career.  That old saying about “you can’t teach speed” rears its ugly head when someone talks about drafting Donnie and it is true.  He has speed.  But what I say is you may not be able to “teach speed” but you do have to teach a player how to “use” that speed.  I suspect the reason Donnie is running sloppy routes is because he anticipates contact and that makes him run his routes differently.  Donnie, right now, is a fourth or fifth receiver who may help you on special teams if he does not fumble.  It is true that with his speed and size that most scouts are going to think that with better coaching they can make Donnie into a starting WR in the NFL because he has speed and speed is the main ingredient to a successful WR in the NFL.  This is a trap that everybody in the entire football universe falls into every time we have a draft.  It’s just flat out wrong to rate a player with speed higher than a player who has less speed, but can, and does, play the game better.  Donnie has the talent he just needs to get tougher mentally and physically, but until he does he will just be an good prospect who has excellent speed.