Projected as a mid-first round pick, Robert Meachem mysteriously lasted until late in Round 1 when NFL Draft Day arrived. The New Orleans Saints finally tabbed him with pick No. 27. What happened between the Combine and the Draft to send his stock plummeting?
Apparently, it was weight. Meachem dropped several pounds prior to his junior season at UT last fall and gained a step of speed. Buoyed by the newfound quickness, he had by far his best season as a Vol, catching a team-high 71 passes for a school-record 1298 yards and 11 touchdowns. He averaged an eye-popping 18.3 yards per catch in 2006, up from 13.2 as a sophomore.
Based on published reports, however, Meachem has regained the weight he lost last offseason – and then some. Consider this item from Peter King's Monday Morning QB column at sportsillustrated.com:
I think the rookie who's made the worst first impression in the three weeks since draft day, easily, is New Orleans wide receiver Robert Meachem. How on God's green earth can a rook be 19 pounds overweight at the team's first mini-camp? And what kinds of red flags must that send up to the coaching staff and front office about to make the man a jillionaire? "I think I had like nine [pre-draft] visits to teams,'' Meachem said after injuring an ankle at the Saints' minicamp last week. "And every visit they gave you a big old meal. I tried to work out when I could, but I don't think I got enough workouts in.'' Uh-oh.