Today we present to you part five of our ten part series called “Welcome to the Big Show” where we dive deep into the history, stats, outlook etc… for each of the Vikings ten Draft selections of 2012. We got a little mixed up last week and accidentally skipped Jarius Wright so we are coming back to him today. If you’ve missed any of the previous entries, here are links to the first four: Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith, Josh Robinson and Rhett Ellison.
Name: Jarius Wright
Jarius Wright was born to Jeanette Hooper and Joe Wright on November 25th, 1989 in Warren, Arkansas.
Wright had an impressive high school career at Warren High School where he was a teammate with the other Vikings wide receiver selection in the fourth round, Greg Childs. The long-lasting relationship between Wright and Childs is a very interesting (incredible) one and should definitely be highlighted. Wright was ranked as the 30th best player in the nation at his position as a high school prospect in 2007. He was targeted by multiple colleges (including Minnesota) but ultimately decided to stick with his friend, Childs, at Arkansas as a Razorback.
At Arkansas, Wright was involved in what was recognized as one of the most explosive offenses in college football. He went on to break school season-records with 66 receptions, 1,117 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2011. At Arkansas, Wright majored in Sociology.
Weight: 182 lbs.
Arm Length: 31.4”
Hand Size: 8.4”
40-Yard Dash: 4.42
3-Cone Drill: 6.93
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.03
Bench Press: 11
Vertical Jump: 38”
Broad Jump: 120”
+ Big play ability
+ Great character (team player)
+ Good YAC
+ Very speedy
+ Deep threat potential
+ Knows where he’s at on the field
+ Above average route runner
+ Exceptional vertical
– Dropped balls due to lack of focus
– Struggles in big moments?
– Could get outmatched physically in the NFL
College Production[table “18” not found /]
By the time the fourth round came around in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Vikings had still not addressed their issues at wide receiver. And it’s pretty safe to say that if the Vikings had selected anyone other than a wide receiver in the fourth round, fans would have thrown the little confidence general manager Rick Spielman managed to gain after his stellar first round off of a cliff and gone right back to doubting his every move.
While finding a legitimate #1 receiver in the fourth round is very unlikely, a majority of Vikings fans still approved of the Jarius Wright pick. Wright is an explosive player and, although he is much like Percy Harvin, provides a definite weapon for sophomore quarterback Christian Ponder.
Wright on playing both the slot and outside positions: “I’m pretty comfortable playing either or. Being at Arkansas I had the chance to move around and play a lot of different positions, so I’m pretty comfortable playing inside or outside.”
Wright on the Vikings and Percy Harvin: “I know a lot about the team, and what I’m coming to. I watched the Vikings, Percy Harvin as always been one of my favorite receivers and one of the guys I looked up to in my career.”
Wright on his perception of what his role will be: “I think I can fit anywhere, as a special teams guy, punt returner, kick returner, and also as a receiver playing inside or outside. I think I have the skill set to play inside and outside at receiver. “
Spielman on if Wright can play a role immediately: “Both of those guys; again you know the story; they have been together since birth. Our special teams coach actually went down and worked out Jarius Wright to see how he would be able to handle return duties as well. He is a very explosive playmaker, I just happened to be at the Texas A & M game when he had his big game down in Dallas stadium where he put on a show. He is an extremely gifted athlete, he has great speed and we are trying to increase our speed, both on the offensive and defensive side. We feel that he has the ability to come in and potentially be a punt returner.”
Spielman on Wright’s similarities to Percy Harvin: “He is just another great playmaker. When he has the ball in his hands he can be electric. Because of his speed because of his ability to make people miss in space, he has the ability to take it to the house if he gets in the open field.”
Where He Fits
Expect Jarius Wright to come in and immediately compete to be a return specialist (probably with third round selection Josh Robinson). His evasiveness, speed and quickness make him an obvious solution for that role.
When it comes to wide receiver, though, don’t expect Wright to play a huge role this year. Instead, expect him to be a receiver that develops throughout the year and gets playing time in three or four wide receiver sets and possibly when Harvin lines up in the back field. While he is very similar to Percy Harvin in his physical characteristics, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a place for him. I believe Wright (and from the quotes above, so does he) has the ability to play in the slot and on the outside. He seems to frequently get separation on long balls and I expect that to continue as long as he can get over the hurdle of being beat off the line physically by bigger NFL cornerbacks.
Down the line, I think Wright will be a great contributor to this team. Combined with Percy Harvin and our tight-end duo, our receiving corps could potentially cause nightmares and huge mismatches for defenses.