NFL Draft: Receivers Put Speed on Display at Combine
Sunday was a day to get a look at one of the deepest wide receiver groups we’ve ever had in an NFL Draft.
Questions were answered as all of the top prospects decided to fully participate.
Here are a few of the standouts:
Mike Evans (Texas A&M) - Speed was the biggest question for Evans, but he put those questions to bed with times of 4.47 and 4.50 in the 40-yard dash. At 6’5” and 230 lbs, Evans is a big-bodied receiver with the speed to stretch the field for big plays. Most people will be enamored with Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, and rightfully so, but Evans solidified himself of being top 10 worthy with his performance on Sunday. Evans film was already impressive, so to combine that with his natural speed will be overly attractive.
Sammy Watkins (Clemson) - Watkins has had unbelievable expectations placed on him since the college football season has ended, and he lived up to those expectations on Sunday. He measured in at just under 6’1”, but ran 4.34 and 4.37 on both of his 40-yard dashes. He looked smooth in all of the drills, and displayed soft hands as he caught the ball away from his body. Watkins has done nothing to deter teams from taking him very early in May’s draft.
Brandin Cooks (Oregon State) - Cooks ran the fastest 40-yard dash of any receiver when he posted an official time of 4.33. Cooks game is quickness and speed. At 5’10” 189 lbs, Cooks won’t beat you with size, but after displaying elite speed, and showing the ability to play in the slot or on the outside, Cooks could find himself into the 1st round discussion. In my 1st mock draft, I had Cooks going to the Bucs in the 2nd round.
Odell Beckham & Jarvis Landry (LSU) - Coming into the draft, it was expected that Beckham would prove to be the bigger and more explosive playmaker. While Beckham ran a strong 4.43 40-yard dash, Landry was disappointing after he posted an official time of 4.77. Of course, people will immediately point out Anquan Boldin and his slow 40 time at the combine, but there have been many more receivers who have had slow 40 times and not been successful in the NFL.
Kelvin Benjamin (FSU) - Benjamin ran an official time of 4.61. I’d say that was expected and he is still considered a 1st round pick.
Donte Moncrief (Ole Miss) - Moncrief (6’2” 221 lbs) was impressive at the combine as anticipated. He ran an official time of 4.40 and displayed those freakish athletic qualities. He is inconsistent as a pass catcher, and did drop a pass in the “gauntlet” drill. I think Moncrief could sneak into the 2nd round, but likely a mid-round selection.
Jeff Janis (Saginaw Valley State) - I won’t act as if I know everything there is to know about Janis, but that is what makes the combine important. Janis (6’3” 220 lbs) ran an official time of 4.42, but was a smooth athlete that did a very good job at catching the ball away from his body with soft hands in the drills. All Janis did was force NFL GMs and scouts to go back and reevaluate more of Janis on film to see if this ability that he showed is displayed on film. Janis might end up as a nice sleeper. I’ll let you know once I get to see more of him.
Follow Justin Pawlowski on twitter @Commishonline for updates on the NFL Draft and the Buccaneers.