Here’s a look at some the receivers who improved and hurt their draft stock at this year’s NFL Combine.
Tavon Austin, WVU:
It was easy to see that Tavon Austin was a weapon at the collegiate level, but how he would translate to the NFL was a question that was less unclear. While he seemed like a lock for a top 50 pick, it would have been understandable for some teams to be wary about drafting a 5’8” receiver in the first round.
After a huge Combine where he ran sub 4.4 and looked great in all the drills, Austin is clearly someone NFL team’s will be considering in the first-round of this year’s draft.
Robert Woods, USC:
People may point to the fact that Woods came in shorter than projected and didn’t show as well as he could have in the workout drills, but the reality is that Woods had a big Combine overall. No receiver was more fluid in his routes and caught the ball better than him, and at the end of the day, that matters more than a 40 time. Woods deserves some first round consideration, particularly if you want a receiver who can contribute early on.
Justin Hunter, Tennessee:
Hunter has been overshadowed by his teammate Cordarrelle Patterson in the draft process, but he showed well at the NFL Combine with great workout drill numbers, and measure in at 6’4”. His size helps separate him from a number of receivers and should help him get drafted in the top 50, despite some concerns he could slip out of the 2nd round.
Ryan Swope, Texas A&M:
Swope is a guy who a lot of people thought was a good cheap slot option in the 4th-5th round range. After an injury knocked him out of the Senior Bowl it was unclear where his draft status was.
Swope had a huge Combine, tying Austin’s 40 time, and looking really good in all the drills. Every now and then he’ll drop an easy one, but overall he’s looking like a good weapon to have in the slot and could now be in the mid-to-late 3rd range.
Josh Boyce, TCU:
Every year there are a number of players who declare for the NFL Draft early that are surprises, and Josh Boyce was one of those guys.
He had three good years at TCU, but never came close to dominating the competition. As a Junior, he was unable to help his stock at one of the bigger All-star games which left him needing a big Combine (and Pro Day) to prove his draft stock.
He didn’t disappoint, as he was among the best at just about every workout drill. In the positional drills, he wasn’t quite as good, but definitely showed enough ability. With some of the question marks removed, he looks to be a good value, possibly in the 5th round.
Keenan Allen, Cal:
Allen all year was considered the most talented draft-eligible receiver, but wasn’t able to separate himself from the pack, which really opened things up for some other prospects. Allen could have used a big Combine to jump back into top 20 consideration, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to participate in the workouts due to injury.
With a number of receivers having big Combine’s, the gap between Allen and his competition appears to be closing. There’s a chance he could be sliding back towards the end of the first round and possibly even the earlier second.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee:
Patterson has a plenty of supporters out there and he flashes quite a bit of talent, but he also has one of the higher bust factors out there. He only has one year of big time college football to his credit, which makes him a risk to be the first receiver selected, especially when you consider that he could be a top 15 pick. He could have a big Combine to solidify his draft stock, but the results weren’t as good as many would have hoped.
Patterson had a great 40 time, and jumped extremely well in both the vertical and broad jump, but that is about it. He didn’t participate in the bench press, 3 cone and 20 yard short shuttle drills. He came in with below average hand size and average arm length, both of which can be cause for concern. Finally, in the positional drills, his routes weren’t as crisp and multiple errors were apparent.
For a guy with more experience, it wouldn’t be as much of a concern, but Patterson’s Combine probably raised its fair share of questions. He should still be a first round pick based on potential alone, but there’s at least a chance that someone could catch by the time April rolls around.
Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas:
Hamilton was considered a top 100 prospect who had some nice potential. Unfortunately, he didn’t test well in any of the drills, and dropped some passes in the positional work. He also came in with one of the smaller hand sizes, which could limit his overall effectiveness as a receiver. He’s probably dropping into the fifth round range.
Terrence Williams, Baylor:
Williams came in with a reputation of a deep-threat receiver with good size. That didn’t seem to translate in his Combine numbers, as he was fairly average across the board.
His hand size of 8 ¾ is another concern, as is the fact that he had mixed results at the Senior Bowl. Williams looks to be dropping back into the mid-to-late second round.
Ace Sanders, South Carolina:
Sanders declared for the draft despite a lack of production at South Carolina. It was expected that he would test well throughout the Combine and showcase himself as a solid slot receiver/return man, but that was not the case.
Many of his workouts were average to below average. He also came in at 5’7,” which will make it tough for him to find a spot on a 53 man roster if he can’t show an exceptional part of his game.
At this point in time, he looks to be late round pick and could end up undrafted.
Be sure to stop by Fanspeak.com to read more NFL Draft related articles from Steve.