All about seventh-round pick Richard Crawford, who hasn’t made the team yet but who has looked good since camp opened.
1. Santana Moss gets an assist for his development. Crawford, a seventh-round pick who emerged as one of the bigger surprises in camp, has worked hard on being patient in press coverage. It shows, too. Crawford mirrors receivers off the line, not opening up too soon and allowing his man to make the first move. Then he reacts. Credit Moss. Crawford covered him in the slot all spring and much of the summer. “Santana was always talking to me and he was like, ‘You have to be more patient.’ I wasn’t always this patient… Santana is a real shifty guy; Pierre is different. He’s more speed release, muscle release. But it takes time to be patient and not go for the first move. So it took a while with me getting comfortable.”
Moss initially talked to him every day about this; now it’s whenever he’s asked.
He also worked with his secondary coach at SMU, Derrick Odum. His advice?
“He taught me to take one deep breath before you’re about to play and that’s what I do before the snap,” Crawford said. “When you’re a 5-11 corner you have to be more patient than a 6-foot corner with long arms. They don’t have to be as patient.”
2. He plays with some savviness. You probably already knew that he had played receiver in high school, which certainly helped develop his hands (though he dropped a pick last week). But his dad was a former defensive back as were many of his coaches. Also, just because you played receiver in high school does not mean you can read an NFL receiver’s route. But Crawford did a nice job reading the receiver on his dropped interception last week.
“It was just the way he released,” Crawford said. “When they release and they’re not going deep, they want you to get in front of them so they can break underneath. I felt that. So I let him get into me and I slid under him and played the ball. The receiver will tell you the tale and the down and distance will tell you the tale. You play tendencies and percentages. Sometimes it bites you, but you have to play the percentages. I was happy to be right on that one.”
3. His fellow corners think he can play. Starting corner Josh Wilson raved about him (and Chase Minnifield; by the way, Wilson never realized Minnifield tore his ACL during minicamp – he didn’t find out until after reporting to camp.) Anyway, on Crawford, Wilson said:
“He showed me a lot more than I thought. He definitely has an eye for the football and makes a lot of plays and learns very quickly…. [Early in camp] they were down there practicing with the one’s one day and it was a flat route. I don’t know who threw it, either Rex or Griffin. They threw the flat route and he picked it off and I was thinking to myself, ‘I don’t know if I would have made this play. He has a lot of talent, a lot of instincts. The longer he’s in the league the more plays he’s going to make.”
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