Scouting Combine Research: WRs, Part 4

What son of a former Packers receiver had a monster season? What record-breaking receiver will be joined in the draft by his brother? We have more great stories and record-setting numbers from the receiver class that will test for scouts at the Combine.

Kevin Norwood, Alabama: Norwood has a championship pedigree, having played for two national championship teams at Alabama. He emerged as a go-to receiver for the run-heavy Crimson Tide in 2012 as a nice complement to Marquis Maze. Norwood led the team with 11 receptions of 15 yards or more, and 24 of his 29 receptions were converted into first downs during his junior year. He built off that momentum as a senior, with career highs of 38 receptions for 568 yards and seven touchdowns. While Norwood looked up to Jerry Rice as a young man, he said at the Senior Bowl that he had shifted his focus into modeling himself after San Francisco 49ers receiver Anquan Boldin. Norwood believes he and Boldin are similar players in that they can be in the right spot at the right time. Norwood lacks big-time speed; Boldin ran a 4.72 at the Scouting Combine in 2003.

Walt Powell, Murray State: Powell appeared in 10 games as a senior, finishing with 66 catches for 837 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also averaged 11.6 yards on punt returns, and 31.5 yards on kickoff returns, with a touchdown in each. Powell closed out his standout career as the Racers' all-time leader in receiving yards (2,650) and touchdowns (29) while ranking second in catches (208). Powell is the brother of former Wisconsin receiver Brandon Williams, who was drafted by the 49ers in 2006. In October, Powell was arrested for fourth-degree assault and the unlawful taking of $500, though he was not indicted and charges were dropped.

Tevin Reese, Baylor: Reese caught a combined 104 passes during his sophomore and junior years, including 16 touchdowns. He struggled through a wrist injury during his senior year, which limited his production to just 38 catches. But he turned those limited catches into 867 yards, good for a 22.8-yard average. He played with current Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty on the USA Junior National Team in 2009, and his explosive nature earned him the nickname "Sweet Feet" from his teammates. Reese was a track standout in high school in addition to football. During his senior season, Reese found Internet fame when he was caught on video shaking his dreadlocks back and forth. 

Paul Richardson, Colorado: Early entrant. Richardson, who is friends with USC's Marquis Lee, had a monster junior season with 83 catches for 1,343 yards and 10 touchdowns. In 2010 and 2011, he caught a combined 73 passes for 1,069 yards and 11 touchdowns but missed all of 2012 with a torn ACL. His return to action gave the Buffaloes a spark and helped him earn the respect of his teammates, as evidenced by his captaincy during his junior season. He opened 2013 with back-to-back 200-yard games, giving him three of the five in school history. He's the son of Paul Richardson, who spent some time with the Packers (but recorded no stats), and lettered in basketball and track while he attended high school in California.

Allen Robinson, Penn State: Early entrant. Robinson caught school records of 97 passes for 1,432 yards in 2013 to be named the Big Ten's Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year and plenty of All-American accolades. He is the first player since at least 1985 to lead the Big Ten in receptions and receiving yardage in consecutive seasons. Robinson's combined 174 receptions and 2,445 receiving yards the past two years rank No. 3 in Big Ten history for consecutive seasons. Robinson had many highlight plays in 2013, but perhaps his biggest came against Michigan, when he made a one-handed grab along the sideline to help the Nittany Lions tie the game late in the fourth quarter. Robinson was one of the players who could have transferred after the discipline brought upon the university by the NCAA, but chose to stay and finish his career.

Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma: Saunders is one of the smallest receivers at the Scouting Combine, with a school-listed 5-foot-9 and 157 pounds, but makes up for that in straight-line speed. He excelled as a receiver and a returner at Fresno State and Oklahoma, where he transferred to after his sophomore season due to a coaching change at Fresno State. At Oklahoma, he averaged 17.6 yards per punt return with a touchdown in 2012 and 15.4 yards per punt return with two touchdowns in 2013. One of the punt-return scores in 2013 came against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. He had back-to-back seasons of 62 and 61 receptions for the Sooners. Saunders is a gifted sprinter. In high school, he was clocked at 10.78 for the 100-meter dash. ""Size shouldn't stop you from having a great work ethic, from wanting to be good," he told the Sacramento Bee. "What's the saying? Hard work beats talent any time? That's a true statement." Due to his size and speed, Saunders compares and models himself after Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson. One of his uncles is former NFL standout receiver Webster Slaughter.

Willie Snead, Ball State: Early entrant. Snead ranks second in school history with 214 receptions for 2,940 yards and 25 touchdowns. Snead finished his career with an emphatic statement with 106 receptions and 15 touchdowns. Snead played for his father, former NFL player Willie Snead III, in high school. Snead was initially a backup quarterback in Belle Glade, Fla., but moved to wide receiver when his father moved the family to Grand Rapids, Mich., and then a dual-threat quarterback when his dad became coach at Muskegon Heights, Mich. This season, he played with "Snead IV" on his jersey. "My father always had me around football," the Ball State wide receiver told before the GoDaddy Bowl, "so I was able to learn football at a younger age than everybody else. Having a dad that was a coach is always beneficial."

Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State: Early entrant. Stewart caught 60 passes for 703 yards and three touchdowns in 2013 after a sophomore campaign in which he caught 101 passes for 1,210 yards and seven touchdowns and was named first-team All Big 12.  Stewart was a two-sport athlete in high school, excelling in basketball as well as football, before giving up basketball at the end of his career to focus on football. Stewart overcame an adverse childhood, when his family had to move due to the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in his family's New Orleans home. He relocated to Denton, Texas, where he met his best friend, J.W. Walsh. Stewart and Walsh were part of Oklahoma State's 2011 recruiting class. Stewart and Walsh were featured in CBS's "Courage in Sports" in November. As the CBS promo put it: "A Bond of Brotherhood: Oklahoma State receiver Josh Stewart lost both parents to tragic accidents before the age of six, and his misfortune only continued in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina devastated his hometown of New Orleans and destroyed his house. After relocating to Denton, Texas, he discovered the ties that bond between football, family and ultimately a brotherhood with teammate and Oklahoma State quarterback J.W. Walsh."

Devin Street, Pittsburgh: The 6-foot-4 Street finished his career with the Panthers as the school's career leader with 202 receptions and third with 2,901 receiving yards. He was able to achieve this despite missing three games as a senior due to various injuries. During his senior season, Street drew strong praise from former Chicago Bears wide receiver Bobby Engram, who serves as Pitt's receivers coach. "He's tall. He can run. He's got good hands," Engram told "You know, it's hard to judge how guys make that transition from this level to the next. But I think he has all of the attributes. I think he has a desire to be good and go to the next level and do well." Engram compared Street to players like Jerry Rice, Andre Johnson and Greg Jennings. Street leaped off the screen for Pittsburgh's coaches in his freshman season, where he made an impact in just his second career practice.

L'Damian Washington, Missouri: The 6-foot-4 Washington enters the draft after a senior season that saw him snag 10 touchdown passes among his 50 receptions for 893 yards. He's the second-youngest of four children in his family that was struck by tragedy during his childhood. Washington lost both of his parents, forcing the siblings to look out for and take care of each other. When he was a high school sophomore, a teacher told his class that they would be in the newspaper she was reading, and not for anything good. His response? "I'm going to be on the front of that paper one day, and it's going to be for something great. I'll show you. I'm going to get out of this school."

Sammy Watkins, Clemson: Early entrant. Watkins enters the draft as one of the more decorated receivers in college football. He was one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award and first-team All-American by the AFCA. Watkins caught 101 passes for 1,464 yards and 12 touchdowns in his final season at Clemson. In three years, his 240 receptions for 3,391 yards, 15 100-yard receiving games, 27 touchdown receptions and 5,129 all-purpose yards are all school records. He also boasted a career average of 22.9 yards per kickoff return. His most impressive performance came in this year's Orange Bowl against Ohio State, when he caught a school-record 16 receptions for a school-record 227 yards in the Tigers' victory. Watkins' brother, Jaylen, was a starting defensive back at Florida and is projected as a midround pick in this draft. Watkins came from a troubled neighborhood and remembers a quote from his stepfather and Pop Warner football coach, Mike McMiller. Watkins had witnessed the shooting of his friend Willie Fletcher. That night, McMiller told Watkins to, "Remember this night, and stay on your course."

Albert Wilson, Georgia State: Wilson is an explosive wide receiver who also excelled in the return game. Wilson, who stands just 5-foot-9, finished his season with more than 2,000 all-purpose yards, helping him be an honorable mention on's All-American team. His 6,235 career all-purpose yards ranks in the top 30 in NCAA history. He's responsible for six of the seven longest plays in school history and he's the school's career scoring leader with 26 touchdowns. He boasted a career average of 24.6 yards on kickoff returns and 9.2 yards on punt returns. The highlight of his career that put him in the national spotlight was a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Alabama in 2010. He has the play saved on his computer and claims to watch it every now and again. Wilson played for former Packers offensive lineman Bill Curry while at Georgia State.

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