The next few weeks here on State of the Texans we will be doing some draft profiles of some particular players who could possibly fit into the Texans plans. We are not going to try to piece together scouting reports, but we enlist help of bloggers who actually cover the respective player and their school.
We get help from Jon from On the Banks and blog dedicated to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. We ask him about the potential 1st round pick Mohamed Sanu, the big play wide receiver from Rutgers and at 6'2" 215 lbs. Sanu is an interesting prospect. He is currently considered one of the top five wide receivers coming into the draft, and Sanu is leaving school early to make his mark in the NFL.
Can you give us some background on Sanu?
Sanu's parents are from Sierra Leone, and he shuffled back and forth between there and the United States as a child. As a result, he was a year behind in school, and came to Rutgers as an overaged freshman. He was already physically developed, and Rutgers had just lost two receivers to the NFL in Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood, so the stage was set for Sanu to start as a freshman. He really blossomed in 2011 when he was able to focus on receiver instead of having to pull double duty at quarterback.
What was Sanu's role when he first got to Rutgers?
What's interesting actually was that he first started out as a safety, and was looking great there by all accounts. The receivers weren't looking so hot though, so Sanu switched to WR near the end of spring practice in 2009 as sort of trial run. He instantly rocketed up the depth chart, so the coaching staff decided to keep him there. It is interesting though that his best position may well have been safety. He also ran a lot of plays under center in college as a wildcat quarterback. He was not really a dynamic runner from that spot, but had a lot of power as a runner, and actually was a legitimate option as a passer. He could have at least played quarterback in a spread option. You could say that Sanu is an extremely versatile player; he can punt too.
What are Sanu's strengths and weaknesses?
Mohamed Sanu has a very big frame for a receiver. He is hard to bring down after the catch, and as a junior, he caught almost everything. If the team needed a first down, he would get it, no questions asked. That was in contrast to how played as a freshman and sophomore, where Sanu would drop a fair number of easy catches due to concentration and mental lapses. Another downside could be top-end speed. He would usually play a possession role in the offense, and it is hard to say whether that was because he had the best hands on the team, or that was the best fit for his skill set. I think he has intentionally sacrificed some speed in order to bulk up and take more of a beating from defenders.
How does Sanu compare to previous wide receivers who came from Rutgers?
Sanu is not very similar at all to Kenny Britt or Tiquan Underwood, both of whom were more about the vertical game than anything else. Mohamed does compare favorably though to possession WRs like Hakeem Nicks, Hines Ward, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Muhsin Muhammad, etc... That would make him an ideal complement to a big play threat like Andre Johnson. You could have Johnson running deep as the big play threat, and then Mohamed working underneath in the seams. I don't know whether Houston needs a guy like that or not, but between his style of play, and Rutgers running a pro-style offense, I think Sanu will be able to contribute from day one just like Nicks did. He is a very good player and a top character guy, and it will be hard to find many safer picks in the draft. Any team who needs a player like him should feel very lucky to have the opportunity to grab him in the first round this year.
After this you may want to see Sanu in Houston.