April 26, 2009
As we detailed yesterday, the biggest surprise of the NFL draft was the Raiders passing on two-time All-American wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Al Davis still chose a wideout, but instead went with Darrius Heyward-Bey, a speedster who didn't even make second-team All-ACC.
It wasn't just Oakland who passed on Crabtree though. The Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals were also in need of a receiver, but collectively passed on Crabtree. Mike Leach, Crabtree's college coach at Texas Tech, thinks he knows why.
According to Matt Barrows' 49ers blog at the Sacramento Bee, Leach thinks Crabtree unjustly developed a reputation as a "diva" before the draft and that perception is what caused his stock to slip so low. This knock, Leach suggests (without much evidence, it seems), originated with Browns coach Eric Mangini.
Obviously, Leach disagrees with Mangini's rumored opinions:
"Michael Crabtree has been more successful as a receiver than that guy [Mangini] has as a coach at this point ... Part of the reason is he's [Crabtree] too shy to be like that.
My definition of a diva is someone who's loud and self-absorbed. Michael Crabtree is the furthest thing from loud that I've seen."
That's fantastic smack-talk from Leach. People have always said he leans a little crazy and this certainly does nothing to dispel that notion.
It's natural for a college coach to come to the defense of one of his players, particularly when there's a misguided perception floating around in league circles about said player. But does Leach really think Al Davis chose Heyward-Bey over Crabtree because of something Eric Mangini said? Davis is so crazy he makes Mike Leach look sane. Plus, the biggest accomplishment of Mangini's career has been appearing in "The Sopranos."
Also, since when has becoming a "diva" been a bad thing for receivers and/or Raiders players?
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