• CB Will Davis out for season CB Will Davis out for season Miami placed CB Will Davis on the IR, ending his season
  • Fins stay in playoff hunt Fins stay in playoff hunt Miami upends the Bills, 22-9, keep playoff hopes alive.
  • Fins dominate Chargers Fins dominate Chargers QB Tannehill threw 3 TDs as the Fins rout the Chargers 37-0
  • Fins beat Jags, 27-13 Fins beat Jags, 27-13 It wasn't pretty, but Miami put down the Jaguars, 27-13

     

Pre-Combine Scouting – Wide Receivers

 

Player Height Weight Proj 40 Proj Rd
1) Keenan Allen 6’3″ 210 4.5 1

Keenan is a big target with excellent length and catching radius. This ex-safety is a physical WR that excels at making tough catches in traffic. Although Keenan’s straight line speed is not elite, he has a sudden burst and change of direction that allows him to create separation and make plays in space.

I would have liked to see more down-field passing plays to Keenan, as his yards per catch numbers were on the conservative side, but it’s right to note his production in college was limited by poor QB play and a weak supporting cast at CAL.

Despite this, he had a stellar 2011 season, making big plays versus talented and well coached defenses. He had continued success in 2012 but was hampered by a minor knee injury that caused his production to dip.

Keenan has exceptionally quick feet for a player of his size, good lateral movement skills and has adequate ability to get off the jam. He is versatile and can fit just about anywhere in the formation, but has the makings of aSplit End receiver that can play up at the LOS.One Liner: Add up all of his attributes and skills, the package you get is the real deal. Reminds me of WR Miles Austin.  
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Player Height Weight Proj 40 Proj Rd 2) Cordarrelle Patterson 6’3″ 205 4.4 1

Elite acceleration, speed and agility packed into a 6’3″ 205lbs frame. He has the potential to run a sub 4.4s 40 yard dash at the combine.

Cordarelle is a triple threat player that can stretch defenses vertically, create plays with the ball in his hands on shorter routes and can be an explosive player in the return game. His elite agility and speed will make defenders miss in a phone booth, and the potential is always there for him to turn expected short gains into six points. He has excellent body control and can make adjustments to poorly thrown passes.

Cordarelle has made the most of his opportunities this season. He impressed early on with a spectacular performance against NC State’s David Amerson in the season opener. But struggled to find the same degree of success in the receiving game versus top SEC competition. Although it is fair to mention that he did contribute in other aspects.

Cordarrelle remains a high risk, high reward player. He is still a raw prospect in terms of his route running, some may even draw comparisons to Ted Ginn Jr., and with only one solid year of college production as the #2 WR behind the talented Justin Hunter, his career stats are far from elite. A lot of his value will be based on his projection at the next level.

At the combine I will be looking at how he attacks the ball at its highest point, his route running and examining his tendency to catch the ball into his body. He is best suited for the “Z” receiver position where he can get a cleaner release and cause some confusion with pre-snap motion.

One Liner: Explosive player with supreme blend of size, speed and agility, simply astounding measurables.

Reminds me of WR Julio Jones.

 

Player Height Weight Proj 40 Proj Rd
3) DeAndre Hopkins 6’1″ 200 4.53 1-2

Consistency in the SEC! DeAndre has been solid since his freshman year at Clemson, but his production soared this season because #1 WR Sammy Watkins was suspended. Hopkins took over the #1 spot and never looked back.

Hopkins produced in every game this season, scoring in 12 out of 13 contests. Hopkins shows excellent adjustment skills and body control to put himself in a position to make plays on the football. And while he is not the biggest of WRs, he will aggressively contest the ball in the air and consistently uses his hands to catch the ball away from his body.

He has quick feet and is able to separate from defenders with his route running ability. His elusiveness allows him to create plays after the catch. DeAndre does not disappear under the spotlight and has risen to the occasion for big games. His performance versus LSU in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl capped off stellar collegiate career.

He can line up at the “Z” or the SLOT position. He has versatile scheme fits, but can excel in a Spread or West Coast style offense.

One Liner: The more I watch DeAndre the more I want to believe that he is the second best WR in the class.

Reminds me of Victor Cruz.

 

Player Height Weight Proj 40 Proj Rd
4) Terrance Williams 6’2″ 205 4.5 1-2

Williams has elite production at the college level. He proved that he is capable of producing big numbers even without RG3 at quarterback. Williams had a huge year with 97 receptions, 12 TDs and led the nation with 1,832 yards.

He has prototypical size and build-up speed. Terrance shows a remarkable ability to adjust to the deep ball, together with his excellent hands and his proficient over the shoulder catching ability, he is a legitimate vertical threat.

Williams will make the tough catches over the middle as well and take it for big gains once he catches it in stride, but he does not have the elite quickness or agility to make defenders miss in the open field on a consistent basis.

He will attack the ball in the air at its apex, and catch the ball with his hands away from his body. He uses his frame very well and out-muscles defenders for the ball, he can be an excellent possession receiver on the outside and a viable Red Zone Target.

I will be focused in on his agility drills, his leaping ability, and his 40 time at the combine. One point of concern is that he has extremely short arms for his height, I don’t know how much of an issue this will be for NFL teams. Terrance projects solely as a “X” receiver.

One Liner: Phenomenal college production, deep ball threat, excellent possession target, works the sideline very well.

Reminds me of Kenny Britt.

 

Player Height Weight Proj 40 Proj Rd
5) Justin Hunter 6’4″ 200 4.48 1-2

Rare talent seeking to find his pre-injury form! Hunter had just about everything you will want in a WR: height, speed, agility, hands, route running but he tore his ACL in 2011 and his post injury form has been heavily scrutinized. He proved this season that he was back healthy and in football ready shape, but he did not appear to be as explosive and dynamic as he was before his torn ACL.

His production this year was decent, not great, and he disappeared at times versus top level competition in the SEC. Justin showed glimpses during the season that the talent is still there, but at times he tried to do much, often running the risk of losing yardage with his cut backs. The more time he puts between himself and the injury the better.

He has a lean athletic frame with very good length. He is a WR that will run every route in the tree and he is not afraid of going across the middle. He has been criticized a bit for drops, but it will happen from time to time especially when catching in traffic.

He can be a valuable target on 3rd down when trying to move the chains. If teams believe he can eventually regain his explosiveness and return to his pre-injury form, it will be an easy selection in the first round. He can line up at the Split End “X” or the Flanker “Z”.

One Liner: Could have been the #1 WR in this draft class, very polished WR, can help move the chains, teams will evaluate his knee.

Currently reminds me of Dwayne Bowe.

Player Height Weight Proj 40 Proj Rd
6) Quinton Patton 6’0″ 202 4.53 2

Put on the LA Tech v Texas A&M tape and you will be a believer. The General had 21 catches, 233 yards, 4 TDs against the Aggies. Patton has great hands and superb route running skills.

He does not have elite straight line speed or elite height, but he has the quickness to create separation in short and intermediate routes. This is one of those instances where you draft the football player and not the measurables.

His college production has been very good over the last 2 years playing in LA Tech’s high powered offense, this had led many to believe that his production has been a product of the system he plays in. As a result, the small program prospect came to the Senior Bowl with something to prove and he did just that, demonstrating his ability to get open and make plays after the catch.

He will still have to answer those questions about his speed and size combination, but if he falls out of the 2nd round on draft day, someone will get a very good football player at great value. He should be looked at for the “Z” receiver position.

One Liner: One of my favorite prospects this year, playmaker in every sense of the word, where-ever he is right now, I am sure he is “open”.

Reminds me of Hakeem Nicks.

 

Player Height Weight Proj 40 Proj Rd
7) Robert Woods 6’1″ 190 4.47 2

Woods is not the most physical of WRs, he has decent height but carries a lean athletic build. He has great speed and is a natural hands catcher. He has polished route running ability and has a nose for the End Zone. He has great acceleration and is dangerous with the ball in his hands.

His production has been consistent in college, and was once considered a first round lock in this class. This season he was slowed by an ankle injury which affected his ability to get separation from defenders. He is capable of running 4.4s 40 yard dash if his conditioning and health is back to full strength.

Durability will be a concern and the question will be asked about his ability to add weight to his frame, while maintaining his speed. I will be looking at his ability to get in and out of his breaks and create separation at the combine.

Because of his lean build, he can encounter difficulty with press coverage and have the timing of his routes disrupted. I see him as a “Z” receiver playing just off the line of scrimmage, using motion to his advantage.

One Liner: Fast athletic receiver, with pro ready tool kit, needs to add a bit of weight.

Reminds me of Jeremy Maclin.

 

Player Height Weight Proj 40 Proj Rd
8) Tavon Austin 5’9″ 172 4.38 2-3

Austin is a diminutive but dynamic player, with elite speed, vision and elusiveness. You will be hard pressed to find a WR with more touches of the football than Tavon Austin this season.

He is a versatile playmaker that featured at WR, HB and Kick Returner for WVU. He has game breaking speed and exceptional lateral agility, but his size and durability at the next level will be an issue for most teams.

WVU did a great job of spreading the field and using motion for Tavon to exploit speed mismatches. Tavon has elite production at the college level and his game versus Oklahoma was simply astounding: 21 carries, 344yds, 2 TDs, and 4 receptions for 82yds. His production warrants him being higher on this list, but at the next level, I see him strictly as a SLOT receiver with situational HB duties in the passing game.

He will fit nicely into a high powered multiple receiver set passing attack. For me I am always looking at positional flexibility, and though Tavon was versatile in college, I don’t see it translating completely to next level. If I am drafting a SLOT receiver in the early 2nd round, I need that receiver to have the ability to become the full-time “Z” in case of injury to the outside receivers. I just don’t think that’s possible with Tavon.

One Liner: Can be a dangerous player in the right scheme, will be an amazing SLOT guy with existing weapons on the outside, can he survive NFL hits?.

Reminds me of Dexter McCluster.

 

Player Height Weight Proj 40 Proj Rd
9) Aaron Dobson 6’2″ 205 4.51 2-3

Dobson has superb hands, he consistently catches the ball away from his body, and will climb the ladder and attack the ball at its highest point. With his upper body strength and length, he has no problem beating the press.

He is not the quickest WR, but has adequate speed. He needs a couple extra strides to get up to full throttle but once at full speed he can be formidable. Dobson had a very good showing at the Senior Bowl, impressing with his physique, length and awesome catching ability.

He is a legit deep ball threat that displays elite ability to track the ball in the air and make adjustments down field. He shows great awareness along the sideline. There is a bit of concern about his ability to create separation immediately off the LOS due to his lack of elite quickness, and this may hamper his ability to get open in short to intermediate routes.

His college production is a bit underwhelming as well. But Dobson’s physicality and catching skills are that good, that he still is a legitimate vertical receiver and Red Zone target.

I will be looking at his footwork, route running and explosiveness off the LOS at the combine. I can only see him as a Split End receiver. He can excel in a vertical style offense that has a strong arm QB such as Philip Rivers in San Diego or in Detroit with Matt Stafford.

One Liner: Big physical WR, with great catching radius, he has a knack for making spectacular catches.

Reminds me of Terrell Owens.

 

Player Height Weight Proj 40 Proj Rd
10) Markus Wheaton 5’11” 183 4.42 2-3

Markus does not have great size, but he is blessed with blazing speed. He is an exceptional route runner, with quick feet, and the ability to create separation off the LOS. He has outstanding catching ability and can adjust to the ball in the air. He has 3 years of solid college production and is Oregon State’s all-time leading WR.

He had an excellent Senior Bowl week, showing his ability to get open versus elite competition. He has a lean build at 5’11″ 183lbs, but plays surprisingly well up at the LOS and is able to get good releases versus press coverage. His size will be concern for teams regarding his durability.

Markus, has wowed with his play making skills and his ability to shake defenders out of their socks. His natural track star speed will intrigue NFL evaluators. I won’t be surprised if he continues his ascension up the boards. He is perfect for the SLOT, but can also work in the “Z”.

One Liner: Super-fast, high energy competitor, with solid career credentials, CBs will have a difficult job sticking to him.

Reminds me of Percy Harvin.

 

Player Height Weight Proj 40 Proj Rd
11) Marquise Goodwin 5’9″ 180 4.3 3

The Texas track star and US Olympian put himself on the radar at Senior Bowl week. Goodwin flashed his world class speed and his ability to leap out of the stadium, but what surprised everyone was his route running and the ease at which he got off the press. He ran crisp routes showing explosiveness out of his breaks and he caught everything in his vicinity.

Despite his giant performance at the Senior Bowl, Goodwin is still under-sized at the position and his college production was not great, this will limit his draft stock. Teams will have to go back to the college tape and reconcile his season at Texas with his Senior Bowl performance. Was it him? Was it play calling? Was it poor QB play? Was it missed time due to the Olympics?

Regardless, his arrow is pointing up, as he was undoubtedly the star of the WR class at the Senior Bowl. There aren’t many players that can match Goodwin’s speed in college or in the NFL. Cornerback’s better be warned “If Goodwin is even, he is leavin”. With his quick feet and separation ability, he can be an impact player at the SLOT position and return game.

One Liner: Projected to run in the 4.3s, but if he runs a sub 4.3 40 the ESPN universe will explode and Al Davis may just come back to life to draft him.

Reminds me of Jacoby Ford.

 

Player Height Weight Proj 40 Proj Rd
12) Stedman Bailey 5’10” 195 4.49 3-4

Bailey does not possess elite size or straight line speed. But he plays fast and displays superior quickness. He has quick feet, great hands, and excellent route running skills. He has excellent awareness and vision.

He is a highly intelligent route runner and has a knack for finding the soft spots in the defense and getting behind the secondary. He adjusts well to the ball in the air and is a dangerous player in the open field.

Bailey has generated elite college production in the high powered passing attack of WVU where he was the favorite downfield target of QB Geno Smith. Despite his production he will find it hard to make it into the early 2nd round with his lack of measurable and the log-jam of talent ahead of him.

He can do wonders for his draft stock, if he can run 4.45 or below. He will project to be a SLOT receiver at the NFL level.

One Liner: Plays bigger than size, plays faster than his wheels, and lives in the End Zone.

Reminds me of Wes Welker.

 

Buyer Beware Rant – Miami Dolphins

Player Height Weight Proj 40 Proj Rd
Ryan Swope 6’0″ 206 4.55 4-5

 

The only positive with Ryan Swope is that he went to Texas A&M where OC Sherman and QB Tannehill have connections, if it weren’t for that no one would be projecting Swope to Miami!

Ryan Swope lacks a lot of things: He doesn’t possess elite traits in height or speed. He is projected to run in the high 4.5s, and does not show any sort of explosiveness on film. He will have difficulty making defenders miss and gaining YAC in the NFL. I won’t consider him a threat in the Red Zone, in fact he maybe a liability in the Red Zone with the short field, since his route timing can easily be disrupted because of his difficulty getting off press coverage.

When I looked back at tape of Swope and Tannehill together, I can’t tell you how many times he caught the dump off on the WR screen or the bubble, his reception stats and production are a bit inflated as a result. He does have decent route running skills and awareness which allowed him to find gaps in the second level of the defense.

Most of his down-field plays came from the 3 and 4 wide sets, where Texas A&M stretched the defense horizontally and Swope was able to exploit some 1v1 with the safeties. NFL CBs will out-run him, NFL safeties will be all over him and run toe to toe. A lot of Swope’s production was result of the system, not his athletic ability.

A guy with his lack of measurables needs to run perfect routes and catch everything in sight whenever given a chance. Unfortunately for him, he dropped everything thrown his way at the Senior Bowl and had extreme difficulty getting off press coverage, he was being man-handled at the line. As the practices progressed, Swope did not rise to the level of the competition around him.

This is why I love Senior Bowl week, the simplicity of the game plan and the 1v1 match-ups, exposes player deficiencies that are normally hidden within a scheme. Swope eventually did “catch” something, it was the bus as he left Senior Bowl week with an “ankle injury”, after a very unimpressive showing.

With Receivers like Q. Patton performing at a high level, and prospects like M. Goodwin and M. Wheaton stepping up to the plate, Ryan Swope should not even be in the conversation for mid round consideration.

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Pre-Combine Scouting - Wide Receivers, 5.0 out of 5 based on 5 ratings
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8 Responses to Pre-Combine Scouting – Wide Receivers

  • James Lancaster

    I like Steadman Bailey…..WVU used him as a runner out of the backfield at times with HUGE results. I think if his 40 speed is high, his stock might raise him into the second round.

    I don’t see the Fins drafting him, as I agree I think he is better suited to the slot. But I like him none the less.

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  • Hi all, thank you for replying and showing interest in the post.

    Gary, you will be happy to know that I actually have Chris Harper ranked a bit higher than rounds 4-5. For publication purposes, I usually have to edit and scale down my observations. There must also be a cut-off somewhere for the article, otherwise it will just be too long. With this in mind I decided to publish a TOP 12 rather than a TOP 20 etc.

    With regard to Chris Harper out of Kansas State, he is currently ranked as the 15th WR on my big board behind Da’Rick Rogers and Cobi Hamilton. Chris was moved up a couple spots on the big board after a solid Senior Bowl, he is narrowly ahead of Marquess Wilson out of Washington State. Below I provided you with my unedited assessment (longer version) of Chris Harper thus far. Enjoy.

    15) Chris Harper 6’1″ 228 4.46 3-4

    Harper is an intriguing prospect whose advertised size and speed combination garner a lot of attention. He has an athletic frame, with a well-developed upper body. He possesses adequate height, and he uses his size and strength to fight for positioning. He is fearless and is physical with defenders for contested balls.

    Harper as expected is not over-powered when called upon to block and he isn’t fazed at the LOS when faced with press coverage. Harper has relatively long arms for his height and has a pair of massive hands (9 5/8s), which he uses effectively to secure his catches. He consistently catches the ball away from his frame and excels at holding onto the ball in traffic. Harper has great body control, a good attitude and is a try-hard player who will lay himself out to make a play. He is an ex-QB who should not have issues understanding his role within the play concept.

    Harper’s production history in college was mediocre, but it’s fair to say that he wasn’t exactly playing in the most pass friendly offense at Kansas State. His 40 times are listed in the 4.46 range which is great for a 228lbs receiver. But when I throw on the tape there is a significant disconnect between his listed speed and what I see on film.

    He lacks the suddenness at the LOS and does not display quick feet, Harper seems to need a few extra yards to accelerate to top speed and fails to separate from defenders both in the short and long passing game. He doesn’t have elite lateral agility to make defenders miss in open space, but does have the power to break tackles and gain a few extra yards after the catch.

    He lacks that extra gear to pull away from defenders, contrary to what his listed 40 time may suggest. He needs to sharpen his route running skills and become more cunning at creating separation without relying exclusively on his physicality.

    Harper always seems to have defender right on his toes, but with his excellent ability to track the ball in the air and position his body, he continually over-powers pursuing defenders to make the catch. The question is whether or not he can he make those catches versus NFL level CBs and Safeties without being able to separate?

    Harper had a solid showing in Mobile for the Senior Bowl, displaying his great catching ability and surprisingly looked better than expected with his route running, but still did not flash his advertised speed. Maybe it was a bit unfair to him that he had both Marquise Goodwin and Markus Wheaton in the North Squad, it’s tough to look fast next to those two WRs.

    Harper will have to continue to impress at the combine and in individual workouts to dispel the evidence on tape. I will be looking at his 40 time, but also his 3 cone drill and 20 yard shuttle. There is no question that he can catch! He may not be the best fit in a West Coast or timing based offensive scheme. Harper looks to be suited for the role as a Split End.

    One Liner: Thick physical receiver, with exceptional hands in traffic, does not show the ability to separate from defenders at various levels, but uses his size to win matchups.

    Reminds me of Anquan Boldin.

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  • I agree with Gary, it seems to me like the top end of this WR group isn’t especially good/dominant. I like Hopkins if we can get him in the second round.

    I like your analysis of Swope and hope Miami does NOT draft him because I don’t think he has what it takes to be an impact player on the NFL level.

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  • Great analysis—well done.

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  • i can see you do the usual and build up the top ranked guys. they are overvalued. and patterson is no julio jones. not as big by far. julio is like 230.

    now chris harper is 6’1 230 and fast. big boy and fast. dont be surprised if we get this guy in round 4-5.

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  • Great article! Looking forward to more!

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