Naaman Roosevelt

Naaman RooseveltWide Receiver
6’ 0” 187 lbs.

Strengths: Route Running, Hands, Quickness, Intelligence, Agility, Open Field, Production

Weaknesses: Strength, Frame, Toughness, Durability, Blocking, Level of Competition

Update January 3, 2010- The Bulls were unable to match their offensive production of the 2008 season minus QB Drew Willy, a Colts practice squader, finishing with roughly 500 fewer total yards and a drop of 135 points. Losing senior RB James Starks to injury, costing him the entire 2009 season, hurt badly when coupled with the loss of Willy. As a result, Roosevelt’s production dropped off dramatically. His 70 catches, 954 yards and 9 TD represent a very good year for most receivers but pale in comparison to his 2008 totals of 104 catches, 1,402 yards and 13 TD. His average receiving yards per game dropped from 100.1 to 86.7. His final game as a Buffalo Bull resulted in 8 catches for 135 yards and 3 TD against Ohio.

A knee injury shelved him for Buffalo’s final two games. Despite his slight frame, the knee injury appears routine and he will be healthy in time for the East West Shrine Game, which he has been invited too. Roosevelt finished his college career as the school's all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and all- purpose yardage. Never a candidate for the first round, he needed a repeat of his 2008 season to cement himself as a 2nd round pick and that didn’t happen. He turned in a great season though and will hear his name called as a 3rd rounder. He has the potential to be very good at the next level and projects as a #2 receiver or at minimum a slot receiver with return potential.

Pre Season Scouting Report

This silky smooth senior flies under the radar while toiling for Buffalo but Naaman Roosevelt is arguably the MAC’s best wide receiver. Roosevelt ended 2008 tied with the Western Michigan’s Jamarko Simmons with 104 catches but paced the conference with 1,402 yards receiving. His 13 TD catches was tied for 1st with Temple’s Bruce Francis. Roosevelt was named All-MAC 1st team in 2008.

Roosevelt was dominant down the stretch for Buffalo, recording 100-yards in 5 straight games to help Buffalo overcome a 2-4 start and win the MAC title over Ball State and play in the International Bowl, a 38-20 loss to Connecticut. In all Roosevelt topped the century mark 7 times in 2008 and has 9 100-yard games in his career. Roosevelt also owns 2 of Buffalo’s three 1,000-yard receiving seasons.

In addition to being a prolific receiver, Roosevelt has also done damage as a kick returner, mostly as a freshman before he became one of college’s best receivers. As a freshman, Roosevelt gained 724 yards on 28 kick-offs, scoring one TD. He followed that up with 471 yards on 21 returns in 2007 but was breaking out as a receiver. Roosevelt’s receiving totals jumped from 31 catches for 429 yards and 2 TD to 63 catches for 766 yards and 4 TD and exploded to 104 catches for 1,402 yards and 13 TD last year.

The Bulls deep threat, Roosevelt does not have elite speed but he has more than enough to get behind a secondary and he has great quickness that surprises defenders. Roosevelt’s greatest assets are his route running and body control. He bursts in and out of his breaks, slashing his way through a defence. He jumps well, has a nose for the end zone and possesses very good hands to make tough catches. In the open field Roosevelt is tough to get a hand on and if you do that’s usually all you get. This makes him equally tough on special teams, where he will likely have to make his mark in the pros first. He can be a little straight-lineish but he can dance very well and once he sees daylight he’s gone. Very bright and should pick up the playbook.

His lack of size and elite speed and his level of competition will give teams pause. He probably should have declared for the 2009 draft because he’s lost QB Drew Willy and it’s tough to expect one of Willy’s replacements to fill his shoes. Roosevelt has not produced against out of conference opponents the way he has against MAC foes.

In 2008 Roosevelt had 9 catches for 87 yards against Missouri and 6 catches for 65 yards against Pittsburgh, not scoring a TD in either game and accounting for 2 of Roosevelt’s 4 scoreless games in 2008 including the International Bowl.

Roosevelt looks like a solid 3rd or 4th round pick next year and will likely get tagged as too small and too slow to succeed in the pros. He has potential to develop into a big play threat thanks to his loose hips, route running and hands. In 2009 he must prove he can produce at the same level with a new QB and do it against top competition as well. If he does that he could push himself into the 2nd round.

By Daryl Breault