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NFL Combine: Scouting the Wide Receivers

Posted Feb 23, 2014

An in-depth analysis of the wide receivers who worked out at the NFL Scouting Combine.



Ricky Henne’s Take: Everywhere that Jordan and I turned the past few days, people have wanted to talk about this year’s crop of wide receivers.   Having just watched them live and in person, it’s easy to see why.  This group is phenomenal, and there will be major playmakers selected not only in the first round, but later on as well.  What I love best is the size of some of these players.  I’ve been a big Mike Evans fan for a while, and at around 6-5, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds.  He showed off his tremendous catch radius during drills with a great knack for locating the ball and snatching it.  Another tall prospect who caught my attention was 6-6 Brandon Coleman out of Rutgers, but perhaps the most explosive player on the field was one of the smaller ones in Brandin Cooks.  The 5-10 wide out from Oregon State posted the fastest WR 40 time (4.33), but also excelled during drills such as the vaunted gauntlet.  I'm a fan of LSU skill players, and Odell Beckham looks like he can be the next NFL star from Baton Rouge.  One prospect who didn’t have as great a day as some expected was Kelvin Benjamin, but with his size and success at Florida State I don’t think his stock really dropped.  Meanwhile, Martavis Bryant has been overshadowed somewhat due to his teammate at Clemson, Sammy Watkins, but I came away enamored with his size (6-4) and speed (4.42). Watkins is considered the top wideout available, and he cemented that ranking this afternoon.  The game-breaking Clemson star ran a 4.43, and some are whispering he may be a top three pick come May. 

Jordan Beane’s Take: One of the points consistently repeated here in Indianapolis is that this wide receiver class is among the deepest many scouts can remember (another is that you have to get a shrimp cocktail while in town, something Ricky and I took care of earlier this week). ESPN’s Todd McShay is predicting seven receivers will go in the first round while Mel Kiper is predicting nine. So after all this hype, today we finally saw the wide outs on the field and they did not disappoint.   Sammy Watkins, who came into Sunday as the consensus top wide out in the draft, showed speed (4.43) and strength (16 reps on the bench press) during his workout. He looked good on the field as well, using his 6-1 frame to get up and make all types of catches during drills. Another potential first rounder that looked good here was Mike Evans of Texas A&M. While not a speedster, he’s got the size at 6-5 to be a dangerous red zone target for whichever NFL team takes him in May.  Part of what I love about the Combine is when a small school player makes big waves. This year it was Pittsburg St. (KS) wide receiver John Brown who came out of nowhere to turn heads. Brown had the second fastest official 40-yard dash time at the position (4.34) and looked very confident making catches on the field. While he’s only 5-10 and may best be a kick returner in the pros, Brown showed that there are good football players at all levels of the collegiate game.  Plus who doesn’t want to root for someone whose school nickname was the Gorillas?


TOP PHOTOS OF THE WIDE RECEIVER PROSPECTS WORKING OUT

HEAR DIRECTLY FROM SOME OF THE TOP WIDE RECEIVER PROSPECTS

TOP FIVE PERFORMANCES

40-Yard Dash

1. Brandin Cooks, Oregon St. – 4.33
2. John Brown, Pittsburg St. (KS) – 4.34
T-3. Donte Moncrief, Mississippi – 4.40
T-3. Paul Richardson, Colorado – 4.40
T-5. Martavis Bryant, Clemson – 4.42
T-5. Jeff Janis, Saginaw Valley St. – 4.42

Bench Press

1. Cody Latimer, Indiana – 23
T-2. Brandon Coleman, Rutgers – 21
T-2. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt – 21
T-4. Mike Campanaro, Wake Forest – 20
T-4. Jeff Janis, Saginaw Valley St. – 20
T-4. Marcus Lucas, Missouri - 20

Vertical Jump

1. Tevin Reese, Baylor – 41.0 inches
2. Damian Copeland, Louisville – 40.0 inches
T-3. Davante Adams, Fresno St. – 39.5 inches
T-3. Bruce Ellington, South Carolina – 39.5 inches
T-3. Donte Moncrief, Mississippi – 39.5 inches

Broad Jump

T-1. Donte Moncrief, Mississippi – 132.0 inches
T-1. Tevin Reese, Baylor – 132.0 inches
T-3. Marqise Lee, USC – 127.0 inches
T-3. Allen Robinson, Penn St. – 127.0 inches
T-5. Bennie Fowler, Michigan St. – 126.0 inches
T-5. Sammy Watkins, Clemson - 126.0 inches

3-Cone Drill

1. Damian Copeland, Lousiville – 6.53
2. Tevin Reese, Baylor – 6.63
3. Jeff Janis, Saginaw Valley St. – 6.64
T-4. Ryan Grant, Tulane – 6.68
T-4. Kevin Norwood, Alabama – 6.68

 

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