NFL Scouting Combine preview: Wide receivers
NFL Scouting Combine preview: Wide receivers
With the NFL Scouting Combine about to begin -- and the NFL Draft just about two months away -- we'll take a daily look at the collegiate talent available at positions where the Patriots might be looking for help. Today we take a look at some of the best receivers hoping to make a good impression in Indy this week.
NFL SCOUTING COMBINE PREVIEW
Regardless of who's throwing the ball for the Patriots in three years, the group that's catching it will look different. Yes, the Patriots don't have a major need at receiver right now, but take a look at the ages of the guys they have. Danny Amendola, assuming he stays, is 31. Julian Edelman is 30. Chris Hogan will turn 29 in October.
Only Malcolm Mitchell, coming off an encouraging rookie campaign, shows longterm promise as it relates to New England's group of receivers. Should they decide to prepare for life after Edelman and Amendola, they'll have plenty of options early in the draft.
Corey Davis, Western Michigan
Tale of the tape: 6-foot-3, 213 pounds
The good: Elite route-runner, but really he does everything well and is praised for being a very smart player. Averaged 13 touchdowns a season in college.
The bad: Didn’t play in a particularly tough conference, so evaluators have expressed difficulty gauging just how dominant he is compared to other prospects. An ankle injury will prevent him from running the 40 at the combine.
The fit: Could play outside or inside; the Patriots sure do like moving receivers around.
Available at 32? No way. Davis has a shot at being a top-10 pick, with the Titans one logical suitor at fifth overall.
Mike Williams, Clemson
Tale of the tape: 6-foot-3, 225 pounds
The good: The typical No. 1 receiver package of size, strength and athleticism. Comes from a school that’s produced one NFL stud in DeAndre Hopkins and victim-of-being-on-the-Bills-but-still-possible-stud Sammy Watkins and put up similar numbers to both.
The bad: Not the fastest guy in the world. Had some light issues with drops as a junior. Also, “Mike” and “Williams” are two of the most common names ever but the NFL needs to chill with the receivers named Mike Williams thing.
The fit: He’d be an outside receiver with the Pats; CBS Sports describes him as a more athletic, better-behaved Michael Floyd.
Available at 32? No. Williams should probably go anywhere between the top-10 and early 20s.
John Ross, Washington
Tale of the tape: 5-foot-11, 190 pounds
The good: Big play burner who claims to have run a 4.25 40-yard dash. If you’re hoping for a guy who could potentially be an Antonio Brown type, Ross is someone to watch.
The bad: Has had major injuries to both knees, though he did play in every game as a junior.
The fit: New England could use him primarily as an outside deep threat while also seeing time out of the slot.
Available at 32? He should go in the late first round, so the Pats would be wise to move up a bit if they have designs on landing Ross.
Curtis Samuel, Ohio State
Tale of the tape: 5-foot-11, 197 pounds
The good: PERCY HARVIN COMPARISONS! Explosive athlete who played H-back and projects as either a receiver or a running back at the NFL level. Could be a really good slot receiver.
The bad: NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein uses the “jack-of-all-trades, master of none” label to describe Samuel. Teams might be unsure of where to use him.
The fit: That’s the million-dollar question. You’ve seen these swiss army knife offensive weapons come along, but it’s tough to invest a first-round pick in one without knowing for sure that they can be dependable in at least one spot.
Available at 32? Yeah, but would you want to take that gamble?
JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC
Tale of the tape: 6-foot-2, 220 pounds
The good: Solid possession receiver whom NFL.com compares to Anquan Boldin. Physical both as a receiver and as a blocker.
The bad: Dealt with a back injury as a junior. Not the fastest guy in the world.
The fit: Ideally, he’s a smaller Brandon Marshall as an outside receiver.
Available at 32? It’s looking that way for now.
Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington
Tale of the tape: 6-foot-2, 198 pounds
The good: Physical receiver with great hands. Statistically the greatest receiver in FCS history, having set the all-time record in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.
The bad: Faced easier competition as he put up those 6,464 receiving yards.
The fit: Played inside and outside in college. There would be competition for him at both.
Available at 32? Kupp looks like more of a second-round prospect, so the Pats could nab him at the end of the first, take their chances on him being there a round later or move up in the second.