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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Pro/Con: Which offensive standout is set for the better pro career?

Juron Criner

Take away former Arizona wide receiver Juron Criner’s 40-yard dash time of 4.68 seconds, and the Las Vegas native has everything you want in an NFL receiver. He measures 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, and plays even bigger. Despite a slow 40 time, he’s shown breakaway speed in game situations — see 2009 against Oregon or last season at ASU.

Criner’s vertical jump of 38 inches placed him ninth-best among receivers at this year’s combine. He also has skills that can’t be taught, like the exceptional body control to get his feet down in bounds or to shield a defender on a jump ball.

While he’s not an electric playmaker, Criner has the moves to make people miss in the open field. He battled drops at times last year, but that’s the only time in his career questions have come up about his hands.

If there’s a major knock on Criner, it’s that he hasn’t been able to play through injuries. He’s battled turf toe in the past and missed time last season with a knee sprain. But if Criner can get over that mental hurdle accompanying his injuries — and an NFL-caliber training staff will help — he’ll be on the field more than ever.

It’s typically underperforming athletic freaks — the opposite of Criner — that see their stock rise before the draft. But Criner has the performances on film to warrant a high draft pick; he just didn’t test as well as some had hoped.

But after a senior season that saw him grab 75 passes for 956 yards and 11 touchdowns, Criner is a talent that will be hard to turn down come April. He’s shown flashes of brilliance throughout the last four years. If Criner can consistently put everything together, he’ll be a starting wideout in the NFL for the next several years.

– Alex Williams

Nick Foles

Statistically, Nick Foles is one of, if not, the best quarterbacks Arizona has ever seen.

In his senior season, he completed 69.1 percent of his passes on his way to 4,334 yards, 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Will he be able to replicate those numbers in the NFL? Probably not. But if he gets put in a system that fits his abilities, Foles can be a solid NFL quarterback.

At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Foles has the ideal size for a NFL quarterback. He may have run a mediocre 5.14 second 40-yard dash, but his game speed is a lot better than those numbers might indicate. He’s no Robert Griffin III, mind you, but Foles can move around the pocket when he needs to. Scouts question his deep passing accuracy, but in the right system, he can succeed in spite of that.

In the NFL, there have been numerous cases of quarterbacks sitting on the bench and biding their time while a more proven starter leads the team. If Foles gets drafted into a team that can afford to sit and develop him for a few years, he will be all the better for it. Matt Schaub is the perfect example of that. Schaub, who is the same height as Foles, wasn’t highly touted coming out of Virginia. He wasn’t fleet-footed, but he was still drafted in the third round by the Atlanta Falcons.

Pre-prison Mike Vick was Atlanta’s quarterback at the time, so Schaub was able to sit and learn for three years, filling in occasionally when Vick was injured, until he was finally traded to Houston and got an opportunity to start. He has flourished ever since.

If Foles gets the right opportunity and can sit and learn behind someone like Ben Roethlisberger or Drew Brees or even Vick, he will be a starting quarterback in the NFL, the best starting QB in the history of the UA and the best Arizona Wildcat in the 2012 draft class.

– Zack Rosenblatt

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