NFL DRAFT: THE WIDE RECEIVERS

Former Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is widely expected to be one of the first receivers selected in the 2009 NFL Draft. The draft is scheduled to be held April 25-26 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

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Former Missouri Receiver Jeremy Maclin Could go Early in Round One of 2009 NFL Draft
INDIANAPOLIS – Football as a full-time job won't be difficult for Jeremy Maclin.

Fact is, it won't be much of a transition at all.

Maclin (6-feet-0, 200 pounds), a wide receiver from the University of Missouri and one of college football's most productive players in recent seasons, said recently that since leaving college and declaring for the NFL Draft that's basically how he has approached it, anyway.

Not as a hobby. And not as something to do when not attending classes.

Not even close.

"All your time's devoted to playing football," said Maclin, one of several receivers projected by many analysts to be selected in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, which will be held April 25-26 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

A lot, as in, seven hours a day or so.

"I'm either working out, warming up, in the weight room, catching balls, in the treatment room, getting in the hot and cold tubs, in the pool, doing pool workouts," he said. "So like I said, I'm definitely devoted to football right now."

That approach, in addition to a dynamic, productive college career, has Maclin – who in addition to being one of college football's top players at his position last season also is considered a premier kick and punt returner – being considered as one of the top receiving prospects in the draft.

How high is Maclin projected?

As with any prospect, that depends on the mock draft, but some project Maclin as high as No. 6 to the Cincinnati Bengals or No. 7 to the Oakland Raiders, and few have him slipping out of the Top 15.

He is part of what is generally considered a solid receiver class, with Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech and several others considered potential first-round selections.

"I think it's a really heavy class if you ask me, as far as the underclassmen, the seniors," Maclin said. "I think there's a lot of good names out there. And a lot of good guys to choose from."

Asked at the NFL Scouting Combine in February if the Top 10 were a goal, he responded, "Oh yeah. It's definitely a goal of mine. Definitely."

Maclin, who has emerged in recent months as one of the 2009 NFL Draft's most intriguing prospects, also may be its top kick returner and punt returner. He played just two seasons in college, returning three punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns during that span. He also caught 182 passes for 2,315 yards and 22 touchdowns, including 102 passes for 1,260 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore.

"You just get the ball in your hands, I'm just looking to make plays," Maclin said. "Every time I touch the ball, I look for the end zone. So that's something I feel I can do, whether it be receiving, running, kick return or punt return. I definitely look to change the game. I consider myself a game-changer."

Maclin, who declared for the draft following his red-shirt sophomore season, has been clocked at a 4.31-second 40-yard dash and recorded a 4.43-second 40 at his Pro Day at Missouri last month.

"I think I bring speed to an offense," Maclin said. "I play receiver and also on the return game. But also, I think I bring good character to the program as well. I think I'm a very respectful young man and definitely a gentleman to everybody."

Maclin, who said he admires NFL receivers such as Steve Smith, Santana Moss, ex-Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison and Torry Holt, said during the combine he expected his route-running to be a significant area of focus for teams during the weeks leading to the draft.

"I'm pretty sure it's a question from teams, but my theory is, I'm a receiver," Maclin said. "I know how to run routes. I'm not going to stress out about it. Just because I didn't play in a pro-style offense doesn't mean I can't run a route. If that's what they think, that I can't run a route . . . I run how they tell me to run it, so I'm not really worried about that aspect."

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, former Rams wide receiver Henry Ellard – now working for the New York Jets – attended the Missouri Pro Day. Ellard, considered one of the NFL's best route runners during his career, spoke to Maclin that day.

"He said I probably did a little better than he thought," Maclin told the newspaper. "But it all comes with getting used to (pro-style routes). It's something that I'm not really used to, but I don't think I'll have any problem getting used to it."

And while Maclin has been projected as a Top 10 possibility, with predraft visits scheduled with Cleveland (No. 5) and Cincinnati (No. 6), he said he has watched enough previous drafts to know predraft speculation means little on draft-day afternoon.

"You try not to get caught up into that stuff too much, because you never know what happens on draft day," Maclin said. "You take Brady Quinn for instance not too long ago. That's something that I definitely don't want to experience. I'm trying not to get caught up in too much of that stuff.

"I'm going to let my numbers and let myself speak for itself."

BREAKING DOWN THE 2009 NFL DRAFT'S TOP WIDE RECEIVERS

Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech and Jeremy Maclin of Missouri are widely considered the top two receivers available, with each each having declared early for the draft. Crabtree was once considered a certain Top 5 selection, but reat the NFL Scouting Combine of the beginnings of a stress fracture in his foot have raised uncertainty. Maclin is one of the draft's most dynamic players and also could be a Top 10 selection. As often has been the case in recent seasons, there are at least 5-to-7 receivers who analysts believe could be selected in the first round, a list that includes Percy Harvin of Florida, Kenny Britt of Rutgers, Darrius Heyward-Bey of Maryland and Hakeem Nicks of North Carolina and Brian Robiskie of Ohio State.

ON THE COLTS' ROSTER

Reggie Wayne, ninth season, Miami; Anthony Gonzalez, third season, Ohio State; Pierre Garcon, second season, Mount Union; Roy Hall, third season, Ohio State; Sam Giguere, first season, Sherbrooke; Taj Smith, first season, Syracuse.

THE LAST FIVE

The last six wide receivers drafted by the Colts . . .

2008: Pierre Garcon, sixth round, Mount Union.

2007: Roy Hall, fifth round, Ohio State.

2007: Anthony Gonzalez, first round, Ohio State.

2001: Reggie Wayne, first round, Miami.

1998: E.G. Green, third round, Florida State.

1998: Jerome Pathon, second round, Washington.

THIS YEAR'S DRAFT

An alphabetical list of 20 wide receivers expected to be selected in the 2009 NFL Draft . . .

Ramses Barden, Cal Poly, 6-6, 230

Kenny Britt, Rutgers, 6-3, 220

Deon Butler, Penn State, 5-10, 180

Austin Collie, BYU, 6-1, 200

Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech, 6-1, 215

Jarett Dillard, Rice, 5-10, 190

Brandon Gibson, Washington State, 6-0, 210

Percy Harvin, Florida, 5-11, 190

Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland, 6-1, 210

Juaquin Iglesias, Oklahoma, 6-1, 210

Aaron Kelly, Clemson, 6-4, 205

Johnny Knox, Abilene Christian, 5-11, 185

Jeremy Maclin, Missouri, 6-0, 200

Mohamed Massaquoi, Georgia, 6-2, 210

Louis Murphy, Florida, 6-2, 205

Kenny McKinley, South Carolina, 6-0, 190

Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina, 6-1, 210

Kevin Ogletree, Virginia, 6-0, 195

Darius Passmore, Marshall, 6-0, 190

Brian Robiskie, Ohio State, 6-3, 210

Brandon Tate, North Carolina, 6-0, 185

Mike Thomas, Arizona, 5-8, 195

Patrick Turner, Southern Cal, 6-5, 225

Mike Wallace, Ole Miss, 6-0, 200

Derrick Williams, Penn State, 5-11, 195

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