Former draft ‘bust’ has carved out a career
ALAMEDA >> Some $38 million and change later, can we agree Darrius Heyward-Bey is not a bust?
It’s an over-used term in the draft process, and incorrectly applied when it comes to one of the most controversial draft picks in the tenure of late Raiders owner Al Davis. Heyward-Bey is a reserve receiver and special teams player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who visit the Coliseum on Sunday.
Heyward-Bey never became the game-breaking wide receiver Davis envisioned. Instead, he came to understand his limitations, maximizing both his career and income.
“We appreciate what he brings, but it’s interesting, he’s a football player first and a wide receiver second,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said this week. “A lot of the contributions he’s had over the course of his career has been in the area of special teams, and it has been a significant one.”
Leading up to the 2009 NFL draft, one of the Raiders’ many needs was wide receiver. During a pro day at Cal, I talked with Scot McCloughan, the 49ers’ general manager at the time, about the top prospects.
The top receivers were Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech, Jeremy Maclin of Missouri and Percy Harvin of Florida. McCloughan knows the Raiders organization well. His late father was an All-AFL cornerback with the Raiders and then a long-time scout. His brother David still scouts for the Raiders.
McCloughan told me to keep an eye on Heyward-Bey, who was an honorable mention AllAtlantic Coast Conference pick