Sports Debate: Michael Crabtree Elite?
bignerd over at Niners Nation doesn't believe Michael Crabtree is an elite prospect, essentially stating that because of his lack of size, lack of vertical leap, lack of superior speed, needing to work on his route running, he ran the wrong route in the "play" against Texas, questions if Crabtree is a worker, that he had a small playbook in college, and he probably isn't willing to put in the work to be a great player.
Please be respectful if you head over to NN, but I think there are a couple of assumptions about Crabtree that don't seem to have any basis in fact.
First, there may not have been a harder worker at Texas Tech than Michael Crabtree. There's just no basis for that assumption and there are numerous stories of Leach talking about how hard Crabtree worked, especially during the summer.
Secondly, if Crabtree ran the wrong play, then Graham Harrell threw the absolutely worst pass in the history of ever (which he did not). Harrell's pass was thrown before Crabtree broke out of his route and it was intentional. While studying film on Texas and noticing tendancies during the game, the Texas players never looked back to the ball, keeping their backs to the opposing quarterback. Harrell and Crabtree took advantage of that. Crabtree actually adjusted to the pass and made a great play (which Texas Tech only needed a field goal).
This leads me to my third point, which is the fact that Texas Tech doesn't have a huge playbook. Yes, that's right, Leach's playbook is small compared to his peers, but what that means is that Crabtree and other players in Texas Tech's system have a better understanding of what it means to play the game of football, adjust to the defense and find the open space. That is a talent that few people have and head coach Mike Leach recognized it:
Michael Crabtree is as good as utilizing space as anybody I've dealt with. I guess what I'm saying is coupled with the leeway that we try to give a guy in our scheme, he's just a master of utilizing it, building on it, maximizing it and all the rest. He finds a little crease of space. If he's got to stretch the field, he's going to stretch the field. If he's got to hold the flat, he's going to hold the flat. He's really got a good sense of finding just that little bit space of where he can make the play without busting a route.
Am I off-base, or do you guys fear that Crabtree may not be an elite prospect? Let's hear from you.