Pre-Draft Measurables40-Yard Dash: 4.44 seconds3-Cone Drill: 6.54 seconds20-Yard Shuttle: 4.08 secondsBench Press: 16 repsVertical Jump: 38 inchesBroad Jump: 123 inches________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Breakdown
Anthony Gonzalez joined the Colts as a one-year starter on a nationally ranked team at Ohio State University (OSU). At OSU, he was not the primary target due to the collegiate success of Ted Ginn Jr. Gonzo did not play second-fiddle due to a lack of physical talent, though. While being slightly slower than his speed demon teammate, Anthony Gonzalez was one of the most agile WRs measured in the combine in the past decade.
Anthony Gonzalez's 3-cone drill ranks as one of the fastest Combine times on record, and his 4.08 was the third best for all receivers in the 2007 combine. Even his 4.44 second 40-yard dash time, while not elite, is one of the fastest times by a Colts receiver -- Gonzo's vertical leap also ranked near the top of the receiver class.
This combine performance, and a great upside, drew a considerable buzz around Gonzalez, leading to speculation that he could be taken anywhere between the Patriots picks in the 20's and some of the early second round picks. While many felt a top 25 pick was too high, some felt the New England Patriots may take a stab at him. As it ended up, the Colts were equally enamored with Gonzalez, and held a more palatable draft position (last pick of the first round).
When drafted, Gonzalez was expected to be a developmental player, possibly a kick/punt returner due to his agility. In the Colts offense, though, Gonzalez thrived under the tutelage of Peyton Manning (especially given the one-on-one practices they had together), and Gonzo's maturity showed through. Gonzo was a complete receiver prior to the draft, with universal praise directed toward his maturity, balance, speed, route-running skills, vision, hands, and overall control in game. The only negative concerning Gonzo was his small size (193 lbs. at the combine).
As the second option in the Colts 2007 offense -- due to a Marvin Harrison injury -- Gonzo provided some memorable receptions, and impressed with his ability to play wide and in the slot from one play to the next, creating significant match-up issues. As a wideout (2007), Gonzalez had the second best catch percentage in the league, behind only Andre Johnson by one percent. As a slot receiver -- playing as the third or fourth option -- Gonzo increased his production and improved his hands. In 2008, Anthony Gonzalez caught over 70% of his passes and had the third best catch percentage in the NFL among all receivers.
Sadly 2009, which started out so promising for Gonzalez, fell apart when he tore his MCL mid-way through the first half of the first game of the season. His rehabilitation took the whole season, and the lack of information on his rehab led to numerous intense discussions amongst fans over his future in the Colts' loaded receiving corps. His detractors took no information as bad information, while his proponents held onto the hope that all the time off would allow him to fully recover. In the end both groups got fodder for their arguments, with detractors pointing to a pulled hamstring as evidence of Gonzo's inadequacy as a Colts receiver, while his proponents noted the sizable amount of reps, and great quality of his OTA and Training Camp performance as a signal that Gonzo was back to his 2008 form.
In 2010, Gonzo's role is still in doubt, with some talk of him competing for the punt returner, while others think he may see the field about as often as Curtis Painter. The most likely scenario for Gonzo will be his slow integration back into the starting lineup, ultimately splitting time with both Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie in the slot and out wide. Much of this timetable for his integration will depend upon his play, and the play of others in pre-season games.
(What the Colts rematch with the Saints may be like this next year...-meant in jest-)