A Raiders assistant coach who watches WR Darrius Heyward-Bey closely said he saw the seventh overall pick in 2009 improve over the course of the season, despite totaling only nine catches for 124 yards and one touchdown. "Darrius made some great strides," wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal told PFW. "He really focuses on attention to detail. (He's a) very good route runner. He improved in all respects. He's a real student of the game. He could tell you what every position does at receiver. … (He has a) great work ethic. He worked on everything every day. He came and caught the ball extra before practice, after practice, between practices. He did everything we asked of him. He'll have a good future if he keeps doing that." The Raiders were highly criticized for drafting Heyward-Bey, who missed the last five games of the season with a foot injury, ahead of Michael Crabtree, who was selected 10th by the 49ers.
The third issue of PFW’s new Draft Newsletter series, focusing on underclassmen in the upcoming draft and an exclusive 20-year analysis of how underclassmen have panned out over the years, is now ready. Produced by PFW's player personnel department under the direction of Nolan Nawrocki, the series consists of four information-packed issues. For more info or to subscribe — click here for PDF e-pub or here for print format. You can also find details about other draft-related publications in the PFW store.