One of the biggest positions of need for the Jacksonville Jaguars heading into the NFL Draft is wide receiver. Realistically, this has been one of the team's biggest needs since Jimmy Smith retired after the 2005 NFL season. The team has swung and missed in the first round of the draft and in free agency, but the 2012 NFL Draft is loaded with good wide receiver prospects, so there should be a guy or two the Jaguars can target.
One player in particular who I've liked for quite a while and has been connected to the Jaguars because of going to a small school, is Appalachian State wide receiver Brian Quick. Quick has been a big time playmaker for the Mountaineers since his sophomore season with App State and really turned it on his final season. While some will cite the level of competition, Quick seemed to do just fine playing against the big boys, including a 3 reception 110 yard performance against Virginia Tech, which included a 59-yard catch and run.Here is a game cut of Brian Quick against Elon, courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com. Quick ended the game with 11 receptions for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The first thing that's easy to notice about Quick is his size. Measuring in at just under 6'4" and 220 pounds, he's a big framed receiver with long arms and big hands. He shows the ability to go up for the football and pluck it out of the air with his hands, but at times can let the ball get into his body somewhat. This play in particular shows one thing that Quick is very good at, especially for his size, which is getting low and plucking the football. It looks like a busted play and an overthrown ball, but Quick plucks the ball out of the air with his hands and turns it up field for a long gain. Here is another nice scooping catch by Quick on a low pass.
Quick ran just in the 4.55 range in his 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, but he displays good build up speed when trying to get down the field. He can beat guys deep, but he's not going to be a team's primary deep receiver.
On the very next play, Quick lines up in the slot and appears to be uncovered as the Elon defense looks like it's in some kind of zone, but the App State quarterback lobs the ball up to Quick and he leaps, extending his body and hauling in the touchdown while taking a hit from the safety. These are the type of plays Quick routinely uses his hands for, despite letting some of the shorter quicker passes get into his body.
If Quick catches the ball with a little bit of cushion, he can do a nice job with the ball after the catch and use his size to shake smaller defenders. On this 21-yard reception, Quick catches the ball and spins off the tackle to turn a short gain into a long first down.
Here is another touchdown by Quick in this game and it's probably the best indication of the type of things he can do for a team in the NFL in the redzone. The route should look familiar to Jaguars fans, as it's a route that Jason Hill attempt to run last year but did not push the corner to the sideline enough and just failed to sell the route. Quick on the other hand hard sells the route to the sideline and then cuts it inside for the easy touchdown catch.
The final catch by Quick I want to highlight is a nice sideline grab, where he makes sure he is still in bounds when he comes down with the football. As you can see, Quick goes up for the football and is aware of where he is on the field and it looks like he might have gotten both feet down, making it not only a catch in the NCAA, but a catch in the NFL.
Given his size and how he plays the game, Quick has drawn comparisons to New Orleans Saints receiver Marques Colston. I think that's a good comparison, though I believe Quick is a little faster than Colston, but their games are very similar. The Jaguars used to go out and bring in a bunch of power forwards to play wide receiver, but now they've seemed to have gone in the opposite direction with smaller guys. Adding a player like Quick to the outside with Laurent Robinson and Mike Thomas offers something they're missing in the group and a guy with a very high ceiling if he can grow with coaching.
Quick, in my opinion, headlines that next tier of wide receiver in the draft and will likely be taken early in the second round.