Nyck Grayson, February 26th, 2017:
Alright welcome to it, this is the position group that always excites me, every year we lock into the prospects to find our next top ten stud like Julio Jones or steal a late round All-Pro talent like Antonio Brown. This year features two big bodied studs from the MAC and ACC, an explosive speedster from the west coast and the All-Time leader in NCAA for receptions, let’s get to it.
Corey Davis, Western Michigan, 6’3 215lbs
The Given: Most teams WR1 is Corey Davis from the Mid American Conference champion Western Michigan Broncos. Nobody in this years class is as fluid of a route runner in and out of cuts as Davis. At 6’3 Davis moves like a Gazelle through the secondary and should test among the best at that position. Focused through contact and traffic and can make the tight catches. Takes blocking as serious as anybody and with his frame he’ll be a tough block to shed. Some compare his demeanor to the likes of AJ Green, quiet mannered and low key which is a quality that will be coveted by the leagues front offices.
The Unknown/Need to improve: When watching Davis things will be going smoothly and then you’ll be shocked to see a random wide open drop in the middle of the game. The 60 minute focus factor has to improve on the next level. Also due to his excellent footwork, he tends to rely on only that in getting clean releases and doesn’t use his size and hands to the advantage he should be. The one indictment on Davis is going to be the fact that he didn’t play against the top competition in the country like some of his other peers in this draft. Can his play translate against big time NFL DBs?
Something light from Corey, he does that week in week out. Make the bad ball placement look good.
Mike Williams, Clemson, 6´3 205lbs
The Given: Williams shined in the College Football Playoff and if it wasn’t for his Quarterback’s excellence he would’ve been the runaway pick for MVP of the playoff. With his size and physical nature he’s a threat on money downs. Arms are long enough to create space with a variety of cornerback types. Has shown an ability to dominate in big time spots.
The Unknown/Need to improve: Although Williams looks the part physically, but he’s light enough to have more top end speed; he doesn’t have it. A great 40 time in Indianapolis may push a lot of GMs to make him their WR1. Like Davis can be susceptible to random drops throughout the course of a game. Williams is going to have to realize that Cornerbacks at the next level won’t easily cower to his size and strength.
Big time play in a big time spot, by a BIG time receiver.
John Ross, Washington, 5´11 190lbs
The Given: Ross is the BURNER of the draft this season. Home run hitter speed that allows him to abuse the underneath routes due to corners backing off. Shows productivity in the red zone and on money downs. One of the most dynamic prospects after the catch and with the ball in his hands in this draft. Can be plugged into Return game situations and change field position.
The Unknown/Needs to improve: Compared to the top two prospects he is considerably undersized if he can show teams that he can play bigger than his measurements he will be worth the risk in stature. Rarely dealing with situations where he had to contest with combative catches were going to have to see if he can make the contact catches. The indictment on Ross is going to be his lack of productivity in the semifinal game against Alabama.
I’m sorry Mr. Jackson (Outkast voice)
Zay Jones, East Carolina, 6´1 185lbs
The Given – In my opinion Zay Jones is the fastest rising prospect in this class, his Senior Bowl week was among the top of the selection. He’s got the NFL pedigree in his blood because his father was a Super Bowl champion. His catch radius is exceptional in the seams and in the boundary. Also shows a toughness in the YAC game by finishing runs past the the sticks and in the red zone. Slight side not: he’s the nations all time leader in receptions. Going to make his money in this league as a go to guy on 3rd and 4th and short.
The Unknown/Needs to improve: Not a burner by any means although finds a way to make slight separation at times. Average play speed on film. Doesn’t provide a deep threat and some say that he’s a beneficiary to the high amount of screen plays called at East Carolina. Needs to show he can get open and get his production down the field. Also MUST commit himself to being a consistent and tough perimeter blocker.
He can only run screens they said; He can’t produce downfield, they said.
Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma, 6´0 176lbs
The Given – Statistically Westbrook is the most productive big play receiver, gaining 19.1 yards per catch; he can go the distance from any spot on the field. Given his speed and athleticism I can see him being an extremely effective underneath receiver. Transitionally smooth in and out of cuts making slants and digs seamless. All that bundled into his above average hands can make him a hot commodity if he test well in Indy. I could see him being used in a Swiss Army knife roll similar to Tyreke Hill.
The Unknown/Need to Improve: One thing I noticed studying Westbrook is the amount of home run shots that were dropped over the course of the year. Showed solid hands when contested but often times lacked focus on the “easy ones.” Durability is going to be a question with his thin frame. The conference he played in so bad defensively that it’s hard to really judge his ceiling and where he’s at as it is. We know he’s fast and we know he’s smooth but rarely was he pressed and tested physically outside of the OSU game. Needs to show improvement in playing against defensive backs who aren´t afraid of his speed and those that are physical.
Westbrook loves the long ball.
Curtis Samuel, Ohio State, 5´11 200lbs
The Given: Just like Westbrook, Samuel has the versatility and tools to be a jack of all trades weapon in any offense in the league. A nightmare match-up for most OLBs and hard to cover for even, the Slot CBs, Samuel can be trusted to get open down the seams in many situations. Stuck without a true position as he was originally in the RB meeting room at Ohio State; luckily Samuel is polished as a true route runner. Has great feet and the ability to accelerate seamlessly through the secondary. Dangerous with the ball in his hands regardless of how as he was an AP All American all-purpose player.
The Unknown/Need to Improve: Not having a known position can be a blessing and a curse, we´ll find out quickly in Samuel´s career if it´ll pan out as a do-it-all back or just simply a slot guy. Like Zay Jones, although productive, he benefited greatly from designed plays (Jet sweeps, reverses, screens, and wildcat packages) he´ll have to make clear as day that the offense does not have to be created for him and he can make it happen for himself when needed. Improvement in his hands will help his stock rise, sometimes relying on the body catches. Big unknown in the blocking phase of receiving due to a lack of need.
Yeah I’m aware that this is a run play, doesn’t matter, get it to Samuel at all costs.
Carlos Henderson, Louisiana Tech, 6´1 191lbs
The Given: Henderson is exciting to watch on tape, I have a soft spot for the studs that play in the Group of Five schools. Listed at 6´1 Carlos plays much bigger than his measurements would indicate. Not afraid of going over the middle of the field, almost looks like he´s willing to take the punishment. Explosive after the catch and finishes with toughness at the end of the play. One of the more dynamic return men in this years class, two TDs in his final season at LA Tech.
The Unknown/Need to Improve: Just that, he played at LA Tech in the Conference USA, not top tier competition week in and week out, never been a reason that I would pass on a player but many teams may look at that. Attacks ball with inconsistent focus, sometimes using his great leaping ability too late or early; or losing the deep throws by misjudging.
Can not help but see Dante Hall in Henderson.