We're passionate about the NFL Draft
by Dwayne Wilton
The 2013 NFL Combine is now in the books. We will give recaps of the top players at every position. Today we discuss wide receivers.
The NFL is a passing league. Every team needs a franchise quarterback to be successful, but you also need lots of receivers. Many teams are in three receiver sets for base and go to four or five receivers on passing downs. You can no longer get by with just one primary receiver. The more receivers you have the more pressure you can put on a defense.
Here’s my analysis of the wide receivers that worked out at the 2013 Combine:
Tavon Austin-West Virginia (5-8 174 lbs.): Known as Tavon Awesome and when you watch him play, you know why. Started the day off with a buzz by running a 4.24 unofficial 40 yard dash that was later adjusted to 4.34 (#2 WR). Also ran a 4.01 short shuttle which was second best among receivers. Very fast and extremely quick. Has elite acceleration. Explosive with the ball in space. Great vision. One he gets the ball in space, he’s almost unstoppable. Great ability to make people miss. Caught the ball well and had a really good day. Likely to play in the slot. Has added value as a break-away threat returning kicks. Stepped in as a running back against Oklahoma and carried the ball 21 times for 344 yards. Doesn’t have great size, but is extremely tough. The problem for the defense is that you have to catch him to hurt him.
Stedman Bailey-West Virginia (5-10 193 lbs.): Austin’s running mate at West Virginia. Not quite as explosive as Austin, but he is still a very good receiver. Runs physical routes and he gets in and out of breaks well. Elevates his game in the red zone. Very good body control. Knows how to find holes in coverage. Adjusts well to underthrown balls. Doesn’t have ideal size or speed (4.52 40 yard dash), but he is a tough, dependable receiver that makes plays when his team needs it.
Josh Boyce-TCU (5-11 206 lbs.): Has very good hands. Able to make cuts without reducing his speed. Locates the ball well and is able to catch the ball at its highest point. Tough to bring down after the catch. Ran a 4.38 40 (4th fastest among WR) and 6.68 3 cone drill (3rd fastest among WR). Also had 22 bench press reps (2nd best among WR) and 10’ 11” broad jump (3rd best among WR). Very solid workout which probably opened a few eyes.
Marcus Davis-Virginia Tech (6-3 233 lbs.): Nice combination of size and speed. Has a second gear to catch up to overthrown balls. Has the size to box our corners and get above them. Has decent hands but sometimes allows the ball to get in to his body. Questionable motor, was benched against Florida State for lack of effort. 19 reps on bench press. 39.5” vertical.
Corey Fuller-Virginia Tech (6-2 204 lbs.): Very fast. Former Kansas track start. Only two years of football experience. Like most track stars, he is a long strider. Explosive out of his cuts. Very fluid with impressive change of direction. Still raw and it takes him a few steps to get to full speed. Ran a 4.43 40 yard dash.
Marquise Goodwin-Texas (5-9 183 lbs.): Former track star that competed in the 2012 Olympics as a long jumper. Created a buzz by running a 4.27 40 (tops among WR). Had an 11 ft broad jump. Extremely raw, especially in route running. Needs some time to develop, but you can’t coach speed. Has small hands that sometimes leads to drops. All in all a good day for him and he likely improved his draft stock.
DeAndre Hopkins-Clemson (6-1 214 lbs.): The man known to Tigers fans as “Nuke”. Natural hands catcher. Has the ability to take over a game, just ask LSU. Makes tough catches over the middle. Game breaking ability once he gets the ball in his hands. Has long arms and a big receiving radius. Uses his hands to snatch the ball from the air. His 40 time didn’t blow anyone away (4.57) but he plays much faster than that. Became Clemson’s go to receiver.
T.J. Moe-Mizzouri (5-11 204 lbs.): It’s probably just me, but his name reminds me of the 3 Stooges! Hey Moe! All joking aside, T.J. Moe is a good football player. He is a tough, physical slot receiver that does whatever is asked of him. He goes over the middle, carries the ball and returns punts. He isn’t blessed with blazing speed, but he has good quickness (6.53 3 cone drill and 3.96 short shuttle were best among the WR group). He also led the group with 26 bench press reps. He will be a good addition to someone’s football team and will probably be a core special teams guy.
Cordarrelle Patterson-Tennessee (6-2 216 lbs.): Freakish athlete with big-time potential. Ran a 4.42 40 and vertical jumped 37”. Only has one year at the FBS level after two years at junior college. Set school record for total yards in 2012. Locates the ball well. Has the speed and explosion to get behind the defense and make things happen. Very smooth in and out of his breaks. Has great vision once he is in the open field. Does not have great hands and tends to let the ball get in to his body. Sometimes drops some very catchable balls. Is currently listed by most scouts as the #1 receiver available for the draft.
Quinton Patton-Louisiana Tech (6-0 204 lbs.): Good size. Has good quickness. Does not have great speed but is able to make plays down the field. Adjusts well to the ball in the air. Has the strength and size to fight off defenders and make the catch. Very good at catching jump balls in the end zone and on deep passes. Has great feet and body control on sideline patterns. Natural hands catcher. Willing to lower his shoulder and take on a defender. Ran a 4.53 40 yard dash and a 4.01 short shuttle (tied for 2nd best in the WR group).
Denard Robinson-Michigan (5-10 199 lbs.): Work in progress. Former QB that is just beginning to learn how to play wide receiver. Has a very positive attitude about the move and is working hard to learn how to run routes. Needs to learn how to look the ball in. Still recovering from an injured elbow and has some numbness in his fingers which sometimes affect his ability to catch the ball. Looked much better at the Combine than at the Senior Bowl. Extremely explosive once he gets the ball in his hands. Has elite change of direction. If he can learn to catch the ball, he will be an extremely dangerous weapon.
Kenny Stills-Oklahoma (6-0 194 lbs.): Has good speed (4.38 40 was tied for 4th best in the WR group). Good hand/eye coordination. Tracks the deep ball well. Good body control. Is a bit of a diva and has some growing up to do. Sometimes hurts his team by getting silly personal fouls.
Ryan Swope-Texas A&M (6-0 205 lbs.): Ran a surprising 4.34 40 yard dash (tied for 2nd best in the WR group). Has a second gear that allows him to catch up to overthrown balls. Prototypical slot receiver. Very reliable. Quick feet that allows him to make people miss in space. Very good on quick screens. Had a good workout and has probably improved his draft status.
Terrance Williams-Baylor (6-2 208 lbs.): Big receiver with big hands. Mismatch in the red zone who goes up and fights to get the ball. Catches well over his shoulder. Tracks the ball well on deep balls. Doesn’t have elite speed (4.52 40 yard dash), but he has a knack for making plays down the field. Had a good workout.
Robert Woods-USC (6-0 201 lbs.): Had an impressive 2011 but numbers fell off a bit in 2012, mostly due to the offense forcing the ball to Marquise Lee. Runs very good routes. Quick feet and shifty hips. Has nice hands and body control. Looked very smooth in the gauntlet drill. Caught the ball well all day and had a very good workout.