Scouting Combine Research: Receivers, Part 2

Part 2 of our look at the 44 wide receivers invited to the Scouting Combine include one with blazing speed, one with towering size, one with major off-the-field question marks, a two-way star and an all-around dynamo. (Scott Sewell/USA TODAY)

Phillip Dorsett, Miami (Fla.) (5-9, 187): Dorsett hopes to run faster than 4.3 at the Scouting Combine; he allegedly ran in 4.21 in the offseason. He showed that speed for the Hurricanes. As a senior, he turned his 36 receptions into 871 yards — a whopping 24.2-yard average — and 10 touchdowns. At midseason, he was averaging 34.4 per catch, which would have shattered the national record. He’s come a long way since a dreadful night vs. Notre Dame in 2012.

Devin Funchess, Michigan (6-5, 235): Funchess, in his first season at receiver after playing tight end, recorded 62 receptions for 733 yards (11.8 average) and four touchdowns to earn second-team all-Big Ten in 2014. With that, the junior with the dominating size is heading for the NFL. He had big games against big-time competition: seven catches for 108 yards vs. Ohio State, seven catches for 69 yards and a touchdown vs. Penn State and nine catches for 107 yards against Notre Dame. In 2013, he was voted the Big Ten’s Tight End of the Year. With the position change, he went from No. 87 (reserved for tight ends worthy of the jersey worn by former Michigan and Packers star Ron Kramer) to No. 1 (reserved for great receivers).

Antwan Goodley, Baylor (5-10, 221): Goodley finished his career fourth in receiving touchdowns (21), sixth in receiving yards (2,366) and ninth in receptions (150). During an injury-shortened senior campaign, he caught 60 passes for 830 yards and six touchdowns. Goodley had a breakthrough junior campaign as he totaled 71 catches, 1,339 yards and 13 TDs. He was a consensus first-team All-Big 12 selection and a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, while earning All-America honors. A brief conversation with his basketball coach as a high school sophomore would define his career. He became a dad when he was 17. Goodley, whose father was in jail for most of his teenage years, knows the importance of being there for his son.

Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri /Oklahoma (6-5, 225): What’s a GM to do? At 6-foot-5 and a scout-timed 4.49 in the 40, his size-speed combination is beyond compare. As a sophomore at Missouri, he caught 59 passes for 883 yards (15.0 average) and 12 touchdowns. However, he was kicked off the team. Green-Beckham landed at Oklahoma but the NCAA refused a request to play immediately, and now it’s onto the NFL. With plenty of baggage.

Rashad Greene, Florida State (5-11, 178): Greene had a monster senior season, with 99 catches for 1,365 yards (13.8 average) and seven touchdowns. He led the team in receptions all four seasons and piled up a four-year total of 270 catches, 3,830 yards (14.2 average) and 29 touchdowns. Those figures rank third, first and fourth, respectively, in ACC history. He also scored two touchdowns on punt returns as a sophomore. After a rare emotional outburst at halftime against Clemson, with the Seminoles losing and Jameis Winston suspended, Greene dominated with eight catches for 131 yards, including a 74-yard touchdown. One day after the 2013 Orange Bowl, his dad was sentenced to 30 years in prison for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. "My father is my best friend," he said. "That's who I like to call 'my main man.' He's everything to me. He and my mom (Cassandra) are. They taught me what it meant to be a family. … Nothing in the world means more to me than my father."

Rannell Hall, Central Florida (6-0, 198): The senior caught 49 passes for 500 yards (10.2 average), rushed 25 times for 129 yards and averaged 27.5 yards per kickoff return in 10 games. He finished his career with 145 receptions for 2,051 yards (14.1) and five scores, with a 25.4-yard average on kickoff returns. His speed was well-known at an early age.

Justin Hardy, East Carolina (5-11, 186): Hardy capped a brilliant career with a typically brilliant season. The All-American ranked second nationally in receptions (121) and fourth in receiving yards (1,494) — both single-season school records. He caught more passes than any player in the FBS history, with his 387 receptions obliterating Ryan Broyles’ old record of 349. He owns ECU career records for receiving yards (4,541) and touchdown catches (35), nabbed at least two catches in all 49 career games played, recorded 15 double-digit career reception games, 17 100-yard receiving contests and hauled down at least one TD pass in 31 contests. He won the Burlsworth Trophy given to the nation's most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on. Not bad for a high school quarterback who nobody — not even ECU — wanted.

Josh Harper, Fresno State (6-1, 184): Harper, a first-team all-Mountain West selection, was a one-man band with 90 receptions for 1,097 yards and seven touchdowns. Nobody else on the team had more than 35 catches or 419 yards. Even with Davante Adams leading the nation in receptions in 2013, Harper had 79 catches for 1,011 yards and 13 touchdowns in 11 games. Harper is the son of Willie Harper, a three-time All-American at Nebraska who played linebacker for the 49ers for 11 seasons. One of his six brothers is a special-teams coach for the Eagles.

Christion Jones, Alabama (5-10, 189): With Amari Cooper monopolizing the ball, Jones settled for 19 receptions for 264 yards (13.9 average) and one touchdown as a senior. His biggest catch put Alabama in position to beat LSU. He made an impact as a returner with a 23.0-yard average on kickoffs and 8.0 average on punts. As a junior, he was the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year with two touchdowns on punt returns and one on a kickoff return. The limited production didn’t bother Jones. “I’m just a big kid,” he said after helping reload the confetti machine after Alabama won the SEC title.

Dezmin Lewis, Central Arkansas (6-4, 208): The senior caught 64 passes for 945 yards and nine touchdowns to earn all-Southland first-team honors. Lewis, with 197 career catches and a three-time all-conference selection, turned in a strong week at the Senior Bowl.

Tony Lippett, Michigan State (6-2, 190): Lippett, the Big Ten’s Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year, recorded career highs in receptions (65), receiving yards (1,198) and touchdown catches (11). He became the sixth Spartan to record a 1,000-yard receiving season. Lippett finished with 149 catches for 2,247 yards (15.1 avg.) and 15 touchdowns, with at least one reception in his last 22 games. Lippett was a throwback in that he also started seven games at cornerback, including the Cotton Bowl vs. Baylor. When he started at corner vs. Penn State, he became the Spartans’ first two-way starter since 1968. His length and ability to play corner could elevate his draft stock from the league’s third-round projection. His rise is interesting considering his career was going nowhere as a sophomore. A big reason for the change was his relationship with position coach Terry Samuel.

Tyler Lockett, Kansas State (5-10, 176): Lockett, a four-year All-American, dominated as a senior, whether it was as a returner (consensus first-team All-American) or receiver (second-team All-American and Biletnikoff Award semifinalist). He caught 106 passes for 1,515 yards (14.3 average) and 11 touchdowns to run his career total to 249 catches, 3,710 yards (14.9) and 29 touchdowns. Lockett averaged a whopping 19.1 yards per punt return with two touchdowns and merely 20.1 yards per kickoff (down from his career average of 28.5, which included four touchdowns). He put up big numbers against elite competition . He also was a finalist for the Campbell Trophy (aka, Academic Heisman) and the Senior CLASS Award while winning the Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He broke the school records in receptions and yards held by his father, Kevin; a brother, Aaron, ranks fourth in those categories. The family tree is still producing.

Deon Long, Maryland (5-11, 192): Long caught 51 passes for 575 yards (11.3 average) and two touchdowns as a senior. It was a nomadic career for Long, who went from West Virginia to New Mexico to Iowa Western junior college before landing at Maryland in 2013. “Feels like I’ve been in college for seven years,” he said. His first season with the Terps ended after six games with a broken leg.

Donatella Luckett, Harding (5-11, 200): In 10 starts as a senior, Luckett caught 23 passes for 602 yards and five touchdowns. He ranked third in Division II with 26.2 yards per reception. He had a huge game in the playoffs, with four catches for 201 yards and touchdowns of 50 and 82 yards against Pittsburg State. He is one of nine children. “All my life I’ve been that No. 1 guy, the one everyone depended on. But now I have a team of players, and it’s not just me,” he said.

Vince Mayle, Washington State (6-2, 218): Mayle was second-team all-conference and one of 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award as a senior. He tied for Pac-12 lead with a WSU-record 106 receptions, led the Pac-12 with a WSU-record 1,583 yards and hauled in nine touchdowns. He flew totally under the recruiting radar. He played basketball for a season at Shasta College in Redding, Wash., and then took time to focus on his studies and help his mom through a health battle. All the while, his high school football coaches kept in touch with Mayle, encouraging him to get back into football.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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