The Detroit Lions have selected Boise State WR Titus Young 44th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. The Lions still need help in the defensive back field after the pick of DT Nick Fairley 13th overall in the 1st round of the draft and went with some offensive help instead.
There’s no doubt Young can stretch the field. He averaged more than 15 yards per reception over his four-year career at Boise State, and he reeled in 25 touchdown passes. Of course, those totals could be quite a bit higher if not for some off-field issues.
As a sophomore, Young was suspended for the final nine games of the season, including the Poinsettia Bowl loss to TCU, for breaking unspecified team rules. He has kept his nose clean since, becoming a real Rubik’s Cube for WAC defenses.
As a freshman, Young caught at least one pass in all 13 games, finishing third on the team with 44 receptions and five scores. After his sophomore hiatus, he became the only player in the conference to earn two first-team All-WAC honors, making the cut as both a receiver and a return specialist in 2009.
That all pales in comparison to his senior stat sheet. His 71 receptions, 1,215 yards and nine touchdowns once again placed Young on the conference’s first team, and he was also recognized by the Associated Press as a third-team All-American.
He’s not a big-bodied guy and he lacks ideal height, but he’s a sneaky player off the line with the ability to consistently slip press coverage and get behind the secondary. If he can continue to walk the straight and narrow, his versatility and value as a kick returner could land him in the mid-rounds as a potential dynamo in the slot.
Strengths: Very quick receiver who eats up the cushion out of his breaks and gets on top of the corner in a hurry. Has a solid second gear to get down the field after initial moves and can run away from defenders. Explodes out of his stance with no wasted steps and does a nice job of stemming his routes. Is a sudden athlete who moves seamlessly in and out of his breaks without sacrificing acceleration. Maintains his balance when cutting and keeps his feet under him in his routes. Runs crisp routes to earn consistent separation from defenders and is shifty enough out of his stance to slip press coverage. Has great lateral quickness in the open field and can create on his own after the reception. Sells out to make tough catches and fully extends his body and arms when going over the middle. Possesses strong wrists to snag the ball and hold onto it in traffic. Tracks passes over either shoulder. Understands spacing and will not drift back into coverage. Versatile player who brings added value as both a kick and punt returner due to this combination of straight-line running, toughness and elusiveness.
Weaknesses: Slight, thin frame that may not hold up in the NFL with his playing style. Loses focus and drops catchable passes. Concentration wavers all too often and will look to run upfield before securing the ball. Does not win jump balls often and struggles to out-leap defenders. Can be stymied at the line by physical corners and lacks the strength and drive to be an effective run blocker. Has nice timed speed, but lacks elite ability to burn by defensive backs on a consistent basis. Has a reputation as an egotistical player who can resist coaching.
Young, a three-time first-team All-WAC selection, wrapped up his career at Boise State as the school’s all-time leading receiver with 3,063 yards. Thanks to a 64-yard effort in the Broncos’ bowl game, he also set the school’s all-time single season receiving yards record with 1,215 on the year. He finished second behind Pettis in career receptions (204) and fourth in career receiving touchdowns (25). He is the first Bronco to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark twice (2009, 2010) and is also a threat in the return game, averaging 152.42 all-purpose yards per game during the regular season-a mark that ranked in the top 20 in the country. Young’s 43-game streak with a reception is currently tied for second best in the country.
Played in each of the Broncos’ 12 games during his final collegiate campaign, including 10 starts … named first-team All-Western Athletic Conference for the second-straight year … caught 65 passes for a career-high 1,151 yards … reception total is seventh-most in single-season history, and his yardage total is the second-most all-time … 198 career receptions is the second-most in school history … 2,999 career receiving yards are the most in school history … nine receiving touchdowns in 2010 are tied for the ninth-most in Boise State single-season history … 25 career receiving scores are the fourth-most in school history … has 35 total touchdowns on his career, tied for the seventh-most in school history … second-straight 1,000-yard season was the ninth in Boise State history … first Bronco to record two 1,000- yard seasons … 1,436 all-purpose yards is tied for the team high with Doug Martin … his 4,386 career all-purpose ranks sixth all-time at Boise State … four 100-yard receiving efforts, and had eclipsed triple digits by halftime in three games … at least four receptions in every game, including a season-high eight for a career-high 164 yards against Fresno State (Nov. 19) … season-high two touchdowns against the Bulldogs.
Caught five passes for 136 yards and a touchdown – all in the first half – against No. 24 Oregon State (Sept. 25) … led the team in catches (seven) and yards (105) against San Jose State, and had 101 yards at halftime … led team in catches (six) and yards (129) at No. 19 Nevada (Nov. 26) … also had 99 yards against Hawai’i … also ran for and caught a touchdown against the Spartans … 83-yard touchdown catch against Hawai’i was the ninth-longest pass play in school history … also caught a 58-yard touchdown pass against Idaho … rushed 11 times for 85 yards and a touchdown on the season … returned 23 kickoffs for 550 yards (23.9-yard average) … returned four punts for 43 yards, three of which came against the Beavers … season-long 36-yard return at Wyoming (Sept. 18) … received the team’s Outstanding Offensive Player of the Year Award in a vote of his teammates at the season-ending banquet.
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