Ryan has decent size and speed to play his position. He is more quick than fast and is a perfect fit as a slot receiver and zone receiver. He has very good hands and will catch the ball for the first down or the touchdown every time you need him to. Ryan has those quick feet that make it easy for him to get separation and will make most defensive backs stumble to keep up with him. He doesn't have the long speed to get open deep, but he gives his quarterback a window to throw him the ball on almost every play if the quarterback throws the ball on time. He reminds me a lot of Wes Welker only Ryan is a little more fluid in the hips, which will help him run routes at the next level. Ryan is very smart and understands situational football. He will become a very good friend on the field for a quarterback and offensive coordinator. You can depend on him to get open and make a play when a play is needed. He is the type of receiver that will adjust the way he runs routes and the speed he runs them to make his quarterback successful. Ryan may not be the star of your team, but he just might be one of the best players for your team.
Ryan plays light. He is easy to tackle and can be knocked off balance. Ryan can be covered one-on-one easily. He is courageous, but he takes hits and has to learn to protect his body so that he can stay on the field. He is smart and sure handed and could be used on punt returns, but he is not going to take the ball to the house too many times because, he is more quick than fast and does not show the top end speed to scare the crap out of a coverage team. Ryan is not going to be a great player unless he is in the right system and can protect himself from injuries.
Every team needs a Wes Welker type player to be successful in their passing offense and Ryan is that same style of player. I'm not sure if he is as fast as Wes, but I will tell you he is as quick. In the right system, Ryan will be one healthy pain in the ass for a defensive coordinator to deal with in a game plan. Ryan is that player you see on tape and say to yourself, "he shouldn't be a problem". Than you get to the game and he is constantly getting open and making catches and making you change your game plan all day long. He is the guy on offense that keeps a defensive coordinator off balance the entire time. If a defensive coordinator changes how he plays Ryan in the middle of the game and starts to shut him down, the defense will be lulled to and all of a sudden Ryan will emerge with two or three plays in a row that breaks their back. At the end of the game he will catch the ball for 70 to 100 yards, return punts and kicks for another 30 or 40 yards and score two touchdowns and the defensive coordinator will not give him credit for being a good player. All he will do is scream at his players, "How could you let that little snot beat you?!" Ryan doesn't show (athletically) anything special when he plays the game of football. He has good athleticism, but nothing that sets him above others in this draft. What he does show, is that one thing all good players must have to be successful at the next level. When Ryan went down with his knee injury this year their quarterback was not the same. He struggled because Ryan was the one receiver in the passing game Landry Jones threw to with confidence. After the NY Jets cut Jerricho Cotchery, Mark Sanchez has struggled to connect with his wide receivers and Mark's impact has been questioned because of it. This style of receiver is not impressive in workouts; however, in a game, Ryan (like these other receivers) just knows HOW to play the game and get the most out of their athleticism. That's worth drafting in my opinion. Wes Welker was an undrafted rookie free agent who was signed and then cut by the San Diego Chargers. He went to the Miami Dolphins and just when Joey Harrington showed some life as a QB using Wes as his main target, and just as Wes was showing his impact playing special teams, he got traded to the New England Patriots. A move I will never be able to figure out to this day. Players like Ryan sometimes have to come up the hard way and sometimes get cut until they find the right team. The Patriots passing game was struggling until the Wes Welker trade. Sometimes the best player is not the one who can jump the highest or is the tallest or has workouts that amaze you. Sometimes the best player is just that, the best player!
The BS Detector
Drew Boylhart March /12