The Dallas Cowboys' Dez Bryant is Bleacher Report's top wide receiver for 2014, beating 99 other players for the honor.
The Dallas Cowboys' Dez Bryant is Bleacher Report's top wide receiver for 2014.
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Bryant came out on top of Bleacher Report's NFL draft lead writer Matt Miller's list which was released on June 15. Miller used the B/R 1000 metric, which relies heavily on scouting and several sub-critierias for each position.
The highest possible grade a wide receiver can get is 100, which is broken down as follows, per Miller: hands (50 points), route running (25), speed (20) and "their value as starters or backups" (5).
Miller says should a tie ensue, the determining factor is deciding which player he would rather have on his team. He says he and several other members of the Bleacher Report staff such as Dan Bazal, Cian Fahey, Dan Hope, Marshal Miller and Justis Mosqueda pored over film and scouting reports.
The process took several months to finish, per Matt Miller.
Here was how Bleacher Report graded Bryant, who received an overall grade of 95:
"Dez Bryant (6'2", 220 lbs, 5 seasons) was an unstoppable force in 2014, and the Dallas Cowboys are lucky to have a sure-handed star at receiver. Bryant's hands aren't the very best in the NFL -- he dropped five passes on 135 targets in 2014 -- but they are very, very good.
"He's able to make the routine catches and the ridiculous ones...even if the refs won't recognize them as catches."
"An elite route runner, Bryant has mastered the route tree since coming to Dallas. He's perfected his craft and has the skills to break off routes at full speed and manipulate his hips and feet to create separation from defenders."
"Most big receivers can't move with the speed and grace of Bryant, who shows his burst out of breaks but also the speed to run away from defenders after the catch. Getting separation over the top is no issue for him.
"Bryant's 4.52 speed coming out of college doesn't do justice to his speed on the field."
"Bryant has become the standard by which wide receiver prospects are judged thanks to his combination of strength, speed and agility. He's a game-changer."
In another development, Bryant told NFL Media's Michael Silver on June 12 he is thinking about skipping several regular-season games due to a contract dispute with the Cowboys:
That same day, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Bryant is inclined to sit out the Cowboys' regular-season opener if he is unable to strike a contract extension with Dallas by July 15. He has yet to sign his franchise tag, guaranteeting him $12,823,000 for 2015.
Mortensen says Bryant either plays under this tag or he does "not play at all."
Bryant is technically not under contract because he hasn't signed his franchise tag, per David Helman of the Cowboy's official website. Because of his status, he is not required to be at the Cowboys' mandatory minicamp this week.
Cowboys executive vice president of player personnel Stephen Jones told ESPN the team will try to lock up Bryant to a long-term deal before the July 15 deadline.
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