Is the next Anquan Boldin out there?
Anquan Boldin came to Baltimore via a 2009 trade with Arizona, and Boldin is coming of his best season in a Ravens uniform (65 catches, 921 yards, 4 TD) that ended with an impressive performance (6 catches, 104 yards, TD) in Super Bowl XLVII.
Not bad for a 32-year old receiver who ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.7-second range at the 2003 Combine. Boldin doesn't have the flashy speed of Baltimore running mates Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones, but he makes up for it with a physical style.
Boldin is a savvy route-runner who knows how to get open underneath, but he doesn't have to separate from coverage to make plays. He uses his 220-pound frame to box defenders out and has the strong hands to pull the ball in with defenders on his back. Boldin is a shade under 6-foot-1, but he's strong and aggressive enough to come down with jump balls.
His power also shows up after the catch. Boldin won't make many defenders miss and he's not going to run away from NFL pursuit, but he'll lower his shoulder and drive his legs through contact.
Finally, there's no questioning Boldin's toughness. A crushing hit by Jets S Eric Smith in 2008 required Boldin to undergo surgery to repair a sinus fracture and wires to be inserted in his lower jaw. Boldin also sustained a concussion on the play, but he was back in the lineup and less than a month.
So which receivers in the 2013 draft class are cut from the same cloth as Boldin? Here's a look at three wideouts who are expected to run better 40 times than Boldin but who clearly rely more on size, strength and competitiveness than explosiveness and top-end speed.
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