Is really shifty and instinctive with the ball in his hands. Can cleanly change directions, make a man miss and accelerate into daylight. Has a real feel about his game once he breaks into the open field and knows how to set up blocks, cleanly change directions and is tough to bring down in space.
Now, isn’t a real polished route runner but has the footwork to cleanly get out of his breaks. He will gear down consistently when trying to locate the football and simply isn’t a guy you want to trust on the outside in the NFL. Needs to play in space and looks like a slot guy only. But is a pretty sure-handed wideout that doesn’t consistently extend his arms, but looks comfortable plucking the football underneath.
Has experience running the football from the gun as well. Runs with a low pad level, protects his frame inside and can press the hole quickly. Has some natural running skills in tight areas and knows how to make a man miss and explode out of his break. However, is a bit undisciplined and will take his fair share of negative plays trying to create the home run too often. But, he does play with a chip on his shoulder, runs tough and isn’t afraid of contact in any area of the game.
Does have some character concerns, as he was arrested last season for drunken driving.
Impression: Isn’t a prototype at any position, but the guy is simply a tough kid who can be dynamic with the ball in his hands. Looks like a potential third-down back/slot guy who can help out of special teams and will find a way to create with the ball in his hands. A nice later round gimmick-type option."
Sanders played in every game as a true freshman, rushing the ball 16 times for 105 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught 12 passes for 102 yards. He then moved into a starting role a sophomore, racking up 250 rushing yards on 48 carries with two touchdowns and 53 receptions for 462 yards and seven scores.
He continued his production in 2009 with a career-high 72 receptions for 688 yards and three touchdowns, adding 175 yards and one touchdown on 35 carries. Sanders amassed 728 yards and four touchdowns on 69 receptions with 14-92 as a rusher.
The success of undersized Dexter McCluster with the Chiefs in 2010 may help carve out a niche for players like Sanders, though this Mountaineer lacks the explosiveness the former Ole Miss star used to climb into the second round of the draft. Sanders is worth a look in the late rounds because of his athleticism and return skills, but he will need a lot of coaching to ever contribute as an every-down player in the league.
Strengths: Great overall athlete with superb quickness and agility. Very shifty runner who can weave in and out of defenders to turn short passes into big gains. Has very quick feet. Accelerates quickly after the catch. Very dangerous in the open field and knows how to use head and body fakes to make defenders miss. Changes gears quickly and can bait defenders by starting his routes at less than full speed and then turning on the jets in his break. Changes directions quickly. Often used on WR screens. Shows excellent vision and quickness in the return game and can make people miss. Shows good effort as a blocker. Keeps his body square when blocking and holds his blocks until the play is over.
Weaknesses: Very undersized and a one-dimensional receiver. Not physical with defenders and tries to run around them on every route. Struggles to beat the jam at the line. Telegraphs his routes. Peeks back early on comeback routes. Has a very limited assortment of head and body fakes as a route-runner, only creating separation if there is a mismatch in speed between him and the defender. Lacks the size to shield away defenders and can get out-muscled for the ball. His concentration lapses too often, fails to look the ball all the way in. Will not win many jump balls. Only displays an average burst off the line. Does not do a good job adjusting to errant passes. Defenders easily wrap him up on first contact."
Positive: Multipurpose player who is productive as a receiver, ball carrier, and return specialist. Reliable wide out who makes the difficult catch in crowds and consistently extends to make the reception away from his frame. Comes back to the ball, looks the pass in, and quickly transitions from making the reception to running after the catch. Runs crisp routes and gets separation from defenders. Elusive handling the ball, displays a burst of speed, and has the ability to create his own yardage. Turns it on a single step and shows a nice burst.
Negative: Does not display strong hands. Undersized and will be overmatched by larger defenders.
Analysis: Sanders is a versatile skill player who can help a team in a variety of ways. Should make an NFL roster as a fourth receiver that lines up in the slot, runs reverses, and makes an impact returning punts and kicks. Sanders does not possess great upside, but he has enough skills to be productive on the NFL level."
Weaknesses: Lacks size. Will let the ball into his body at times, and will drop catchable balls. Lacks size to be an outside deep-ball threat at the next level. Can probably be knocked around by NFL CBs, and will have to be examined closely v. aggressive man coverage off the LOS. Does not always tuck the ball away securely after the catch. Not a true slot...more of a RB-WR hybrid, who may turn out to be just too much of a 'tweener for some OCs.
Projection: 6-7th rounder, who would be a UDFA steal if he were to go undrafted."
By the 2009 campaign, Sanders was mostly a receiver and punt returner. He turned into the Mountaineers' most dangerous pass catcher with 72 receptions for 688 yards and three touchdowns. Sanders has continued to be the go-to-receiver in 2010 and through seven games leads WVU with 39 catches. The problem is Sanders is just 5-7 and 179 pounds. He has some strength to fight off bigger defenders, but most of his yardage comes off easy catches where he will make defenders miss and make a big play out of nothing.
However, he does have great speed and can run by most corners in the Big East. But even in the Big East he can be bumped off the line of scrimmage by a bigger corner. That problem will be magnified in the NFL and that severely limits his value at the next level. "
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