Fresno State's Davante Adams, with the benefit of playing with quarterback Derek Carr and in a pass-happy spread offense, led the nation with 131 receptions and was second with 1,718 yards. His 24 touchdown receptions were a whopping eight more than any other player. Adams (6-1, 212) ran his 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds with a 39.5-inch vertical jump.
Indiana's Cody Latimer, one of the best size-speed prospects in the draft, caught 72 passes for 1,096 yards and nine touchdowns. Latimer (6-3, 215) ran in 4.44 with a 39-inch vertical.
Penn State's Allen Robinson, the Big Ten's two-time Receiver of the Year, caught 97 passes for 1,432 yards; four of his six touchdowns covered at least 45 yards. Robinson (6-3, 220) ran in 4.60 with a 39-inch vertical.
Green Bay ultimately went with Adams, with the others following at the end of the second round (Latimer went No. 56 to Denver, Robinson at No. 61 to Jacksonville and Landry at No. 63 to Miami).
It's a decision that Dave-Te' Thomas, the NFL's longtime head scout, would have made, as well, if in general manager Ted Thompson's shoes. Adams was the "best of the rest" after Marqise Lee, Jordan Matthews and Paul Richardson went earlier in the second round.
"I like his strength," Thomas said of Adams. "He is fearless going over the middle. When I'm playing the possession game, when I'm trying to move the chains, that's what I want. He's a very good blocker, too. That's one thing that you'll see in the ground game. He'll go out there and he'll lay the wood on somebody. He's got very good strength to power through tacklers and he's got a very good stutter-step move. He's a good, elusive guy. The big thing on him is going to be concentration and ball protection. If you're looking for a guy that's going to win foot races down the field, nah, that's not going to happen. He's going to have to get savvy and make some moves along the way. I'm not worried about a wide receiver who's played in a spread offense because you've got to get to the ball. No matter how quick that quarterback is throwing the football, you've still got to catch it. One thing about this guy is he wastes no time — no time whatsoever — getting off the line of scrimmage. He's really good with beating the press."
Adams is far from perfect. First, Adams lacks game-breaking speed. In that regard, Thomas compared Adams to James Jones, who signed with Oakland during the offseason. Thomas also dinged Adams for dropping too many passes and for a tendency to fumble (three in 2013).
Still, Adams was easily the choice as the ninth receiver off the board, according to Thomas and an NFC scout.
"Latimer is a pure athlete who I think still is a neophyte as far as recognizing where the soft areas are on the field," Thomas said. "He did it more so with size this year than with savvyness, and I'll take a savvy wide receiver over an athlete any day. I need somebody that knows how to get open. I don't need somebody battling for jump balls on every play because, sooner or later, you're going to go against somebody who's bigger and faster and stronger who's going to get that ball. Give me somebody that knows how to elude, give me somebody that's got good leaping ability who's got that big radius. If you look at Latimer, even though he had a lot of catches, he also left quite a bit on the ground."
With Justin Blackmon's issues in Jacksonville, the Jaguars doubled-up on receivers by grabbing Lee early in the second round and and Robinson late in the round.
"I'm not a Robinson fan," Thomas said. "I think Robinson needs some testicular fortitude. He won't go out over the middle of the field. I'm sorry, but when you're that big, I want you going into a crowd. The kid up at Colorado (Richardson) is 35 pounds lighter and he's more fearless than Robinson is. If I've got $50 laying on the middle of the field, you better go out there for it."
Landry was the 12th receiver off the board and the last until Oregon's Josh Huff, Mississippi's Donte Moncrief and Pittsburg State's John Brown at the end of the third. While Landry almost matched Adams in the 40, he was blown away in the vertical leap, broad jump and three-cone drill.
"I think Landry lived off of the double coverage that Odell Beckham saw," Thomas said. "I don't like guys that labor off the line of scrimmage. To me, he's a tight end trapped in a wide receiver's body. If I want to move the ball 5 or 6 yards, yeah, but as soon as he catches the ball, that's where he drops."
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