Birthday: January 19, 1981
40 Time: 4.45
Strengths: Think Randy Moss, both on and, unfortunately, off the field. Antonio Bryant’s big, strong and fast — easily the most dynamic Panther since Tony Dorsett. He was an All-American last year, as well as the Biletnikoff Award winner, given each year to the nation’s top receiver (he and Moss are the only two sophomores to ever win the award).
Willing to do the small things to help his team win (like block and run decoy routes), Bryant, at 20 years of age, is just about as complete a wide receiver as humanly possible, and likely to get better.
Bryant has soft hands and a big frame (which he knows how to use to his advantage), and caught 69 balls last year while being double-covered far more often than not. He has a knack for making the impossible look easy and has natural receiving skills. If this was just about talent, he’d be a can’t miss, top of the board prospect, but…
Areas of concern: …his head is a major question mark. Already this spring, Bryant’s been suspended twice by coach Walt Harris, the final time indefinitely. He’s missed mandatory winter conditioning sessions, instigated several fights with teammates and coaches and last January, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct when he became verbally abusive toward a campus officer trying to give him a parking ticket.
He also has admitted that football, right now, is a bit too easy for him, and he showed signs of lacking concentration last year, dropping several easy catches. Remember Haywood Jeffires — how he always somehow caught passes three feet over his head in the middle of tight double coverage but couldn’t handle the ones right between the numbers? Bryant has a bit of that in him.
Is he sponge-worthy?: 2001 will be an important year for Antonio Bryant. He claims to have matured since his April suspension, and at 20, probably deserves the benefit of the doubt. But he’ll need a quiet year off the field almost as much as he’ll need a loud one on the field in order to restore some of the luster he lost with his tumultuous off-season.
No one questions his talent, but the line to question him begins here and wraps around the building. Single file, please. If he grows up, the Texans will likely be interested, especially if they can trade down and/or acquire a Brunell-esque quarterback prior to draft day. Bryant is, in short, a game-changer, a guy a defense has to account for on every single play.
Antonio Bryant Return to The War Room
Panthers’ Bryant learning to cope with the demands of football stardom The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports on how Antonio Bryant is dealing with stardom.
Pitt’s Bryant: Team’s success will impact Heisman vote The Sporting News goes one-on-one with Antonio Bryant.
Too Good, Too Fast? ESPN The Magazine looks at the rise and potential fall of Antonio Bryant.