Darrius Heyward Bust
9 games into the season, Darrius Heyward Bey's value as the #7 pick in the 2009 draft is evident. DHB is a bust. $23M guaranteed to a WR who is averaging less than 1 reception per and a shade under 11 total yards receiving per game (6 receptions, 96 yards).
These minuscule numbers are hard to believe. He has played well over 80% of the total offensive snaps yet his season totals would be considered nothing more than an average day at work for Wes Welker. In 4 games this year, DHB rang up zeros. He has caught only 1 ball in all the 2nd halves combined.
In the game vs. Kansas City on Sunday, DHB had 2 key opportunities to contribute to his unit's success. The first opportunity was a deep 52 yard strike from Russell inside the 5 yard line that was right in his bread basket. DHB dropped it. In the game deciding drive, DHB was wide open around the KC 10 yard line. Gradowski's pass to DHB was right on the mark. Inexplicably, DHB jumped up when he didn't need to jump at all. Instead of securing the ball and keeping a game winning drive alive, DHB played patty cake with the ball, batting it up for Safety Mike Brown to easily catch the carom.
These 2 plays are a microcosm of DHB's season. When the ball is thrown to DHB he fights it, uses poor technique, and seems to panic. DHB lacks the basic football instincts and fundamentals for doing what he is paid to do ... catch the ball. In a nutshell, he lacks the poise, confidence, and abilities to perform the rudimentary elements to being a productive WR.
Is there hope for a guy who has been a complete bust to develop into a solid, reliable WR in the near future? I personally think that DHB could one day become a serviceable, complimentary WR if he works tirelessly at his craft. He could be used as a decoy and and occasional big play WR. We all know he can stretch the field with his speed. We also know the Raiders will give him an extended "try out" due to the HUGE investment sunk into him already.
As far as becoming a "star" WR, true starter, productive 50+ catch WR, DHB lacks the football instincts and sure handed abilities. Until a Head Coach is hired who has complete authority on the 53 man roster, a guy like DHB will continue to earn a steady, sizable scholarship paycheck. None of the other 31 Head Coaches in the NFL would have DHB starting this far into the season based on his performance.