Day 4 of the NFL Scouting Combine shows off the talent at wide receiver in the 2014 NFL Draft
by Chris Fedor
Feb 23, 2014
Get ready for lots of receivers in the first round: It's not hyperbole. This year's receiver class in the one of the deepest in recent memory, and it could rival 2009's when it comes to the number of pass-catchers that hear there name called in the first round. That year, there were six (Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin, Hakeem Nicks and Kenny Britt) taken in round one.
This year, with so many teams needing to address the position, six could be topped. It starts with Sammy Watkins. Although smaller than some teams would like in the Top 10, he's the best in the class. His blazing speed, explosiveness, run-after-catch ability and hands separate him. He's instant offense wherever he lines up, a true difference maker and future No. 1 wideout. But there's plenty of talent and depth behind him.
Texas A&M's Mike Evans might've jumped into the Top 15 after the show he put on in Indy. Everyone knew about his size, catch radius and ability to go up and get jump balls over defenders, but he showed off his speed on the track, running in the low 4.5's during the 40-yard dash.
Then there's the next wave of guys.
Oregon State's Brandin Cooks is a silky-smooth and explosive receiver that catches everything thrown his way. He was the fastest receiver in Indy. Fresno State's Davante Adams has drawn comparisons to Michael Crabtree and was Derek Carr's go-to target. Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin is built like a cyborg. A wide receiver in a defensive ends' body, Benjamin had to overcome some drops and other issues that prevented him from realizing his immense potential until this past season. He caught the ball well in the drills and ran faster than expected, clocking 4.62 in the 40-yard dash.
Then there's LSU's Odell Beckham Jr., Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews – the relative of Jerry Rice – and USC's game breaker Marqise Lee. This is the right year to be looking for a receiver. There are at least 15 of them that look talented enough to make an impact at the next level.
Day 4 risers:
Mike Evans, wide receiver, Texas A&M
– I'm not sure how much he can really rise, but he solidified himself as the second-best receiver. His hands in the gauntlet drill and his speed were the two things that stood out to me. He's already pretty good so it's impressive that Evans is still learning despite starting as a basketball player.
Brandin Cooks, wide receiver, Oregon State
– Finishing with the top 40 time among receivers will help him get into the first round. He was also very smooth and explosive in the pass-catching drills.
Odell Beckham Jr., wide receiver, LSU
– There were some people wondering if he or Jarvis Landry was the better wideout from the Bayou. Beckham made a strong case. Burning the turf with a 4.43 40-yard dash, he showed off good explosion and natural pass-catching skills in the on-field workouts.
Day 4 fallers:
Jarvis Landry, wide receiver, LSU
– His injury ended his chances of running a second 40-yard dash. After his slow 4.77 the first time, I'm sure he would've liked to have another crack. To his credit he showed toughness, trying to get through catching drills. And with good reason. Landry has some of the best hands in the class and is unafraid to go over the middle. He's the kind of guy that I'd like to have on my team, but even I must admit Sunday was disappointing.
Allen Robinson, wide receiver, Penn State
– He dropped far too many passes in the drills and clocked 4.60 in the 40-yard dash. He waved goodbye to the first round and might get lost in a deep receiver class.