Jerry Rice, Eddie Royal and DeSean Jackson

What do these three dudes have in common?

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Well, one's the greatest receiver to ever play football and the other two are unproven rookies, but in a few weeks, DeSean Jackson and Eddie Royal might have already earned their stripes, if they haven't already. And Jerry saw it coming.

Before the season, I spoke with Jerry Rice for about a half hour over the phone, and I learned many things from that conversation. First of all, Rice is still in phenomenal shape, and he still runs the hills to stay fit. Second of all, he'd been working with DeSean Jackson, rookie receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles, on route running, and he liked what he saw. Jackson, who made a splash last week for the Birds in their opener with the Rams (he's first rookie to start at wideout for Andy Reid in what seems like forever) will face off against the Cowboys tonight on Monday Night Football.

Rice mentioned another receiver who he thought would do well this season: Eddie Royal, the Broncos rookie out of Virginia Tech. Royal caught everything thrown his way last week, and was instrumental in Denver's upset of the Chargers this week (as much as as Ed Hochuli, anyway).

Here's what Rice had to say about both young receivers:

"I think Eddie Royal out of Virginia Tech and Desean are both going to do exceptional in the NFL, just because of the school's they came from, but also, what I notice about these guys is they play with a lot of confidence and they also catch the football with their hands, that's the most important thing. When you look at receivers on film, that's what you want to see. Because if you see a receiver catching the ball with his body, that's trouble. That shows that he doesn't have confidence in his hands."

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