Scouting Combine Research: WRs, Part 1

We continue our most popular series of the year with the first quarter of a bumper crop of wide receiver prospects. Leading off is Wisconsin's Jared Abbrederis, who was selected the best walk-on player in the nation, and includes LSU star Odell Beckham, who won an award named after a Packers legend.

Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin: Abbrederis came into Wisconsin as a walk-on and scout-team spread quarterback. He finally was awarded a scholarship in January 2012. He was supposed to get it a year earlier but it went to Russell Wilson, instead. Abbrederis awarded the Badgers' faith in him with two consecutive seasons that resulted in consensus first-team all-Big Ten selections. In a loss at Ohio State this past season, Abberdaris torched the Buckeyes for 10 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown. He earned the Burlsworth Trophy in 2013 for being the best player who began his career as a walk-on. At Wautoma (Wis.) High School, Abbrederis was named the state's Gatorade Track Athlete of the Year as a senior. As a high school sophomore, he sustained a serious knee injury in which his ACL was pulled off the bone during an October football game. In March, he finished fourth in the 110-meter hurdles and fifth in the 300 hurdles at the state track and field meet.

Davante Adams, Fresno State: Early entrant. The 6-foot-2 Adams was a favorite target of touted quarterback prospect Derek Carr. Adams led the country in receptions (131) and touchdowns (24), but faces some questions on how that will translate to the pros due to the type of offense he played in with the Bulldogs. He was on the preseason watch list for the Fred Biletnikoff Award and earned some All-American recognition but didn't garner a whole lot of national acclaim. Adams is "a team guy, he doesn't complain about it outwardly," coach Tim DeRuyter told the Las Vegas Review Journal. "When you lead the country in touchdown catches and you lead the country in receptions, you would think that would count for something." Adams is an athletic player, who in addition to his football abilities was a two-star recruit in basketball, and has a 48-inch vertical jump.

Odell Beckham, Louisiana State: Early entrant. Beckham started 34 of 37 games in his three seasons at LSU. In 2013, he teamed with Jarvis Landry, forming one of the most prolific receiving duos in the country. He caught 59 passes for 1,152 yards and eight touchdowns this past season, and ranked second in FBS with 178.1 all-purpose yards per game. Beckham is an all-purpose threat, proven by his record-tying 109 yard return for a touchdown off a missed field goal against UAB. He won the Paul Hornung Award in 2013 as the nation's most versatile player. "It's a huge honor and a huge accomplishment for my team and my family," he told the Louisville Courier Journal. "Just to be in the same class as a guy like Paul Hornung is an honor for me." Said Hornung, the Green Bay Packers legend: "Usually every football player that has come through has been very successful in the NFL. This kid is going to be a number one draft choice. He'll be playing right away. He's got all kinds of talent. He can do a lot of things on the field." Beckham comes from a family of athletes that also attended LSU. His mother was an All-American sprinter for the Tigers and his father was the starting running back during his time at LSU in the 1980s.

Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State: Early entrant. The 6-foot-5 Benjamin emerged as Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston's favorite target this past season, and is most famous for his game-winning touchdown reception in the national championship game against Auburn. Benjamin played in every game after redshirting his freshman season in 2011, and caught 84 passes for 1,506 yards and 19 touchdowns during the last two seasons. He dominated Florida this season to the tune of nine catches for 212 yards and three touchdowns. "I said 'KB, you are an unstoppable force,'" Winston recalled of a team meeting during an interview with the Miami Herald. "If you go out there and do what you've got to do you will be unstoppable and no one will be able to cover you. I told him in front of the whole team, ‘no one will be able to cover you.'"

Christopher Boyd, Vanderbilt: Early entrant. The 6-foot-4 Boyd was named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list after putting together an impressive sophomore campaign of 50 catches for 774 yards while he teamed with fellow draft prospect Jordan Matthews. During his sophomore season, Boyd made his name known with a spectacular catch against Tennessee that earned top play honors on ESPN's "SportsCenter." He failed to build off of his strong sophomore season, however, as he was dismissed from the Vanderbilt football program for attempting to cover up a rape that allegedly involved some of his teammates. After Boyd's dismissal, he chose to enter the draft early as opposed to transferring to another school.

Corey Brown, Ohio State: Early entrant. Brown was a two-time Paul Warfield winner, claiming the prize as the school's best receiver in 2011 and 2012. During his freshman season, he was voted the team's most outstanding first-year offensive player. In 37 career games, Brown caught 95 passes and eight touchdowns. Brown made his mark on offense as well as special teams, being named special teams player of the week twice in his 2012 season. Despite preferring to be called by his first name, Corey, he is most commonly known by his nickname, Philly. Why? As Cleveland.com explained, there was another Corey Brown on the team. Former coach Jim Tressel called them by their hometowns of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

John Brown, Pittsburg State: Brown had a three-year total of 124 receptions and 20 touchdowns for the Division II school located in Pittsburg, Kan. Brown was a two-year captain and an All State AFCA Good Works Team Candidate in 2013. Brown started his career at Division II Mars Hill, let his academics slip and wound up at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College. Brown redshirted to get his grades back in order. Word of Brown's performance at practice got to Pittsburg State's coaches, who offered him a scholarship. "One day at practice Pitt came and watched me and at first I wasn't real interested because they weren't D-I," Brown told the Joplin Globe. "But they offered me a scholarship and my family doesn't have much at all and they can't pay for my school, so I decided to go." On the eighth play of his first game at Pittsburg State, he returned a punt for a touchdown. His older brother was slain outside a nightclub in Miami in 2010.

Martavis Bryant, Clemson: Early entrant. The 6-foot-5 Bryant is often overshadowed by teammate Sammy Watkins but showed his skill with 61 receptions and 13 touchdowns this season. The big 2013 season comes on the heels of 2012, when he was limited to 10 receptions and was suspended for the bowl game for academic reasons. "He's been a guy that's been the dog house a lot," coach Dabo Swinney told CUTigers.com. "But since January -- and I was the biggest skeptic of all, believe me -- he's been completely consistent in everything. His teammates trust him now. They totally trust him. He's paid the price." Bryant is a rare combination of size and speed, as shown by his 17 receptions of 20 yards or more in 2013. His ability down the field helped him become Clemson's career leader with 22.2 yards per reception. Bryant was rated as the No. 3 prep-school player coming out of Hargrave Military Academy, where he played with Doug Williams Jr., son of former Washington Redskins quarterback Doug Williams.

Isaiah Burse, Fresno State: Like teammate Davante Adams, Burse enters the draft after a decorated career at Fresno State. Burse is an all-purpose player who was on the preseason watch list for the Paul Hornung Award as well as the College Football Performance Awards all-purpose player of the year award. As a senior, he caught 100 passes for 1,026 yards and six touchdowns and averaged 12.5 yards with two touchdowns on punt returns. He was an honorable-mention receiver and second-team returner on the all-Mountain West team.

Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest: Campanaro comes into the draft as one of the more accomplished receivers by the numbers. Campanaro finished his career with the Demon Deacons with 229 receptions – tops in school history -- for 2,506 yards and 14 touchdowns. He caught 16 passes against Louisiana-Monroe and 10 passes against Miami. However, his senior season was cut short by a broken collarbone, though he returned for the Senior Bowl. "He reminds me of Wes Welker," said Syracuse coach Scott Shafer. He ran a 4.41 in the 40 in high school.

Brandon Coleman, Rutgers: Early entrant. The towering Coleman (6-foot-6) caught 77 passes the last two seasons at Rutgers and finished his senior season as the all-time leader in touchdown receptions at the school with 20. Offseason knee surgery limited him in 2013, however, as he went without a 100-yard game and had a seven-game drought without a touchdown. Coleman was selected as a captain by his teammates for his final season. Coleman was selected as a third-team All-American by The Sporting News. Coleman was a star in two sports at Bishop McNamara starring in basketball, and football, where he excelled as a wide receiver and a safety.

Kain Colter, Northwestern: Colter is a college quarterback looking to make the transition to wide receiver in the NFL. He completed 78.8 percent of his passes as a senior. "After playing quarterback, I feel like I can be the smartest receiver in the draft," Colter told the Chicago Tribune. "Teams nowadays love having a guy who can run those option routes and read a defense. That's what I bring to the table. Now it's all about learning the tricks of the trade, how to run routes." Colter played wide receiver briefly during his time at Northwestern and caught 63 passes with four touchdowns in his career. Against Indiana in 2012, he ran for 161 yards and four touchdowns and caught nine passes for 131 yards. Colter was elected captain of his team twice and, despite playing multiple positions, ranks at the top of several statistical categories in school history. He was the recipient of the Wildcat Warrior Award. Despite the fact that his first name is Theodis, he is commonly referred to by his middle name Kain.


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