BY GEOFF HOBSON
A look at the roster fight at wide receiver heading into Saturday's scrimmage with the player's years of experience.
LOCKS: Darnay Scott (7), Peter Warrick (1), Ron Dugans (1). LOOKING REAL GOOD: Craig Yeast (2), Damon Griffin (2).
PRACTICE SQUAD MAYBES: Marvin Chalmers (1), LaVell Boyd (1), Tariq McDonald (1).
HAVE TO HURRY: James Hundon (4), Eddie Hardaway (1), Tariq McDonald (1), Ben Clampitt (1).
You've got possible Pro Bowlers (Darnay Scott), Cover Boys (Peter Warrick), All-Time Conference Leaders (Craig Yeast), First Day Draft Picks (Ron Dugans). But you don't have experience. Of the 11, Scott and Hundon have only played more than a year in the NFL.
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Receivers coach Steve Mooshagian loves the way Warrick has picked up the system in the first week because they've thrown so many different formations at him as the split end in the base offense and in the slot in three-receiver sets. Scout Duke Tobin also likes Warrick's thick legs and build (5-10, 196 pounds) that he says gives him good leverage as a blocker. Dugans has impressed with his ability to pick up the scheme, although he's in fewer spots than Warrick.
Scott won't play much if at all in Saturday's scrimage as he rests his Achilles tendinitis. That means Yeast will get to show off what he's learned at flanker. Some think he's the most improved receiver from last season, with Tobin noting he's, "finally figured out how to get separation (from the defender) coming out of his cuts."
Yeast is a near lock because of his ability to return punts (he took two the distance on 10 tries despite a gimpy ankle) and so is Griffin because of his work on special teams. Griffin and Hundon are staging an interesting battle for the last spot because they are the only veterans who can play all four positions. Griffin has the edge because he's a good cover guy on kicks and is the No. 1 flyer on punts, while Hundon is only a special teams backup.
"He's a tough, reliable kid," Tobin said. "He'll mix it up when he's blocking."
Still, Hundon's speed has given him some support in the organization despite his inconsistency catching the ball. It's a trait that dogged him again the first week of practice.
Mooshagian is hoping he can keep two of his five rookie free agents on the practice squad. At 6-2, 210 pounds, Wake Forest's Chalmers looks to have the edge on the rest of the kids because of his size, speed, superior hands, and ability to play all four spots. They think he could be a solid split end down the road. Louisville's Boyd has the best physical potential, but McDonald is a more polished receiver coming out of Arizona State's pro set offense.
Hardaway (C.W. Post) could be the quickest getting off the line and Clampitt (Western Washington) has easily moved into the scheme. But both are fighting the small college blues of size and speed.