Rice-Jarrett Comparison

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 29, 2009 – 12:55 pm

On its website, Pro Football Weekly currently has an entry about Panthers WR Dwayne Jarrett, with a title of “Third year could be the charm for Jarrett”. In the story, PFW author Dan Parr says Jarrett has been “a major disappointment thus far, as he has made just 16 catches in the two seasons since Carolina drafted him in the second round.”

But after including a quote from Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams, who supports Jarrett, Parr goes on to say that Jarrett “has a firm grasp on the No. 3 receiver spot” and that “he may take snaps away from veteran starter Muhsin Muhammad if he shows signs of breaking out in training camp.”

So what does this have to do with the Vikings, you ask? Well it’s a relatively slow time, so I found it appropriate to show you the link between this story on Jarrett and the Vikings.

When it was the Vikings turn to make their 2nd-round selection during the 2007 NFL draft, both Jarrett and Sidney Rice were available. And WR just happened to be a position the team could easily justify addressing.

Jarrett, the 6-4, 219-pound record-breaking WR from powerhouse Southern California, was a widely-known prospect who surprisingly dropped to the 2nd round. In college, Jarrett was a 2-time All-American who left school as the all-time receptions leader with 216 and the Pac-10’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions with 41. He played many of his games on national TV and had the athletic ability and large frame that is so often coveted by pro scouts and fans alike.

The Vikings selected Rice, however, a younger player who was similar in height to Jarrett, but wasn’t nearly as big and didn’t come with nearly as much fanfare. He played collegiately at South Carolina, of course, and didn’t spend as much time on national TV or on SportsCenter highlight reels.

Because so many thought Jarrett should’ve been the Vikings pick, Rice began his career with A) a Vikings fan base tentative of his potential and B) the reality that he might always be compared to Jarrett.

Neither player has come close to their potential, so the Jarrett-Rice comparison doesn’t rank up there with the Ryan Leaf-Peyton Manning or Eli Manning-Phillip Rivers comparisons.

But now that they’re each entering their 3rd seasons, this might be an appropriate time to re-engage that comparison. Rice had the better rookie season, hauling in 31 receptions and 4 TDs compared to Jarrett’s meager totals of 6 receptions and 0 TDs. And he also fared better last year despite missing several games due to injury.

So Rice, who many thought should’ve been picked behind Jarrett, has clearly had the better career to this point. And Jarrett, who has drastically underperformed to this point, seems poised to resurrect his football career in Carolina after a disappointing start to his pro career.

It’s just 1 more interesting storyline for Vikings fans to follow in the 2009 season.

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