We're passionate about the NFL Draft
By Dwayne Wilton
The 2014 NFL Combine is now in the books. We will give recaps of the players that made money by improving their draft stock. Today we continue on day two of the Combine when the skill players were on display. The second group to compete were the wide receivers.
This year’s crop of wide receivers is deep and has many different body types and skill types. Sammy Watkins has the best combination of size (6-1, 211 lbs) and speed (4.43 40 yard dash). He will likely be a top 10 pick with a very real possibility of being selected in the top 5 picks. Then there are guys like Kelvin Benjamin (6-5, 240 lbs) that out-muscle defenders or you could take someone like Brandin Cooks (5-9, 189 lbs,) that is a threat to go all the way on every play. Every NFL team has a certain body type and skill set that they look for and this group has them all. Whatever you need in a receiver, you should be able to find it in this draft class.
My notes on the wide receivers that worked out on day two:
Odell Beckham – LSU – (5-11 188 lbs.): Small, quick and fast. Tracks the ball well on deep throws. In 2013 he set an LSU record for all-purpose yards. Has the ability to return kicks. Had a tendency at times to drop sure passes, but then make tough catches. Ran a 4.43 40 yard dash and 3.94 short shuttle (#3 WR).
Kelvin Benjamin – Florida State – (6-5 240 lbs.): Huge body. Uses his frame and strength to create mismatches. Deadly in the red zone. Long strider. Has long arms and big catch radius. Soft hands. Made the game winning catch in the BCS title game.
John Brown – Pittsburgh State – (5-10 179 lbs.): A relative unknown that improved his draft position at the Combine. Very quick and fast. Good footwork. Very nice hands. Gets in and out of his breaks quickly. Versatile player that can return kicks. Was the second fastest wide receiver at the combine (4.34 40 yard dash).
Martavis Bryant – Clemson – (6-4 211 lbs.): Big and fast. Has long arms and big play ability. Had some drops during the drills, but made a nice over the shoulder catch on a deep ball. Very raw and will need some time to fully develop. Tied for the 5th fastest 40 yard dash in the receiver group (4.42).
Brandin Cooks – Oregon State – (5-9 189 lbs.): Very fast and explosive. Threat to take it the distance on every play. Looks the ball all the way into his hands. Quick feet and good footwork. Has the ability to juke defenders after the catch. Ran the fastest 40 yard dash of the receiver group (4.33) and the fasted short shuttle of the entire Combine (3.81).
Damian Copeland – Louisville – (5-11 184 lbs.): Average speed (4.50 40) but did well in some of the other drills. Does not run smooth routes. At times he will drop some balls. Makes good adjustments to the ball in the air. Ran a 6.53 3 cone (#1 WR) and 2.90 short shuttle (#2 WR). Vertical jumped 40” (#2 WR).
Mike Evans – Texas A&M – (6-4 231 lbs.): Great size and strength. Great hands. Doesn’t let the ball get into his body. Adjusts well to the ball and will use his body to go up and get the ball above defenders. Has lots of natural ability. At times he can be immature and let his emotions get the best of him.
Jeff Janis – Saginaw Valley State – (6-2 219 lbs.): Another relatively unknown that had a very good Combine. Good combination of size, speed and strength. Big play receiver. Good acceleration off the line of scrimmage. Very good work ethic and passion for the game. May need some time transitioning for Division II to the NFL, but definitely improved his draft stock. Ran a 4.42 40 yard dash (tied for #5 WR) and 6.64 3 cone (#3 WR). Had 20 reps on the bench press (tied for #4 WR).
Marqise Lee– USC – (6-0 192 lbs.): Smooth route runner. Catches the ball well. Makes the tough catch. Great body control. Fluid out of his breaks. Very polished. Very good running after the catch. Ran a 4.52 40 yard dash and broad jumped 10’7” (tied for #3 WR).
Jordan Matthews – Vanderbilt – (6-3 212 lbs.): Extremely productive receiver that is the all-time leading receiver for receptions and receiving yards in the SEC. Runs very smooth routes and has the hip flexibility to explode out of his cuts. Good hands and decent speed (4.46 40 yard dash). Distant cousin of Jerry Rice, who has a similar skill set. Thrives on possession passes and not afraid to go over the middle. Ideal fit for a West Coast system. Hard worker with a passion for the game. Had 21 bench press reps (tied for #2 WR).
Donte Moncrief – Ole Miss (6-2 221 lbs.): Big and strong with good speed. Playmaker that is able to high point the ball over defenders. Quick and smooth off the line of scrimmage. Makes people miss in space. Has the speed and athleticism to create separation. Ran a 4.40 40 yard dash (#3 WR). Vertical jumped 39.5” (tied for #3 WR) and broad jumped 11’ (tied for #1 WR).
Tevin Reese – Baylor (5-10 163 lbs.): Former track star. Small, quick and fast. Adjusts well to the ball in the air. Freakishly athletic. Very good body control. Uses his hands to snatch the ball out of the air. Playmaking ability. Ability to get big chunks of yardage after the catch. Great leaping ability. Very thin and frail. Needs some work in the weight room. Ran a 4.46 40 yard dash and a 6.63 3 cone drill (#2 WR). Had a 41” vertical jump (#1 WR) and 11” broad jump (tied for #1 WR).
Paul Richardson – Colorado (6-0 175 lbs.): Good speed. Very thin frame. Good hands. Snatches the ball from the air. Long strider that looks fluid in and out of his breaks. Good ability to stretch the field vertically. Able to make circus catches. Ran a 4.40 40 (tied for #3 WR).
Sammy Watkins – Clemson (6-1 211 lbs.): Top rated receiver who looked the part at the Combine. Explosive after the catch. Very quick acceleration. Very smooth. Plays with a chip on his shoulder. Extends his hands and doesn’t let the ball get into his body. Ran a 4.43 40 yard dash and broad jump 10’6” (tied for #5 WR).