2014 NFL Combine Recap: Wide Receivers
The wide receivers are as deep as it has ever been leading into the 2014 NFL Draft. Sunday’s performances at the annual NFL Combine showed the depth that will be open to many teams looking to address their needs in later rounds.
Here are some prospects that increased and decreased their draft stock on Sunday:
John Brown, Pittsburg St.
Brown was an unknown commodity before Sunday. The Division II standout showed great versatility all over the field from his route running to the 40-yard dash. Brown clocked a 4.34 in the 40, which was the second best time for receivers behind only Biletnikoff Award winner Brandin Cooks of Oregon State.
The size isn’t there for the three-time All-American, but he was discovered as a possible late round gem on Day 3. His versatility, ability to excel the return game and stretch the field vertically in the passing game gives Brown a great chance to get a shot at training camps.
Mike Evans, Texas A&M
Evans’ 4.53 time in the 40-yard dash was expected for a receiver with a great 6’5’’ build to attribute to an offense. He certainly will have to exhibit his size as a staple to get off press coverage in the NFL.
Evans was already solidified in the first half of the first round and didn’t do anything to make executives think otherwise. His route running is still shaky, but that can certainly be taught as the maturation process takes place at the next level.
Not a lot of quarterbacks will complain about throwing to a guy of his stature along with a 37-inch vertical leap at the next level.
Odell Beckham, LSU
The story surrounding Beckham before he was about to run his first 40-yard dash was that his shoes were banned. They were the same shoes worn by Tavon Austin and Marquise Goodwin at last year’s combine. Still think it was all about the shoes though?
Beckham’s official 40-time was 4.43 seconds, but he ranked higher in the 20 and 60-yard shuttles on Sunday. The durability of the 2013 First-team All-SEC specialist will attract teams to have Beckham as a number three option as well as a return option.
Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
Matthews put himself onto the scene as the SEC’s leader in career receptions (262) and receiving yards (3,759). His tall frame is what a typical NFL receiver is evolving into and his tenacity fit the bill as a solid number two option for teams.
Matthews registered the second most bench press reps for receivers with 21 on the day.
Brandin Cooks, Oregon St.
The Biletnikoff Award winner took the top spot for the 40-yard dash time clocking in at 4.33 seconds. His speed will be enticing to executives wondering whether or not to take him in the first round or not.
Cooks’ great hands and balance in the gauntlet drill capped off a great day.
Allen Robinson, Penn St.
The speed of Allen Robinson was a question mark heading into the combine. Robinson clocked a lowly 4.60 seconds in the 40-yard dash, despite being near the top in the 20 and 60-yard shuttles.
Everyone knows about Robinson’s elite ability to go up and make plays above the secondary, but his questionable get-off speed may keep Robinson as a second round grade.
Davante Adams, Fresno St.
Adams was a bit of a surprise as an early entry in this year’s draft after playing only two years at Fresno St. He did lead the FBS last year in receptions and receiving yards, but that was also in a pass-first offense under Dave Schremm’s direction.
Adams has average size and speed and quite frankly, didn’t do a lot to get the attention that he can compete right away in the NFL. He will need to win over a lot of executives during the interview process and shine in Fresno St.’s pro day on March 20th.
Ryan Stevens is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Ryan is a senior from Bloomington, Illinois majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in english. He has been involved with numerous radio shows, play-by-plays, beat writes and producing various Penn State athletics events since his first days of being on campus in the fall of 2012 with ComRadio. Since the fall of 2013, Ryan has been involved with State College’s ESPN Radio 1450 as an assistant producer intern and high school football reporter.
During the summer of 2014, Ryan co-hosted Sports Central with Cory Giger streaming over Altoona, Pa. and State College Pa. markets. Ryan also assisted USA Basketball media coverage in New York for World Cup of Basketball exhibition games.
Ryan was the marketing & communications intern for USA Track & Field at the national office in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was the media contact for the 2015 USATF Hershey Youth Outdoor Championships as well as the 2015 National Junior Olympics.