Packers prospect: Robert Meachem

Wide receiver moves up the charts with strong NFL Combine workout

Robert Meachem may have earned himself a big pay raise with his impressive NFL Combine workout on Sunday. The lanky University of Tennessee wide receiver lived up to his 40-yard dash prediction and likely moved up a few spots among a deep group of wide receivers expected to be selected in this year's NFL draft.

The Green Bay Packers, in need of another playmaker at receiver, no doubt are closely monitoring Meachem, a junior who declared himself eligible for the draft this season. He could be one of as many as seven receivers taken in the first round of the April 28-29 draft.

While some feel that the Packers may opt for USC's Dwayne Jarrett or Ohio State's Ted Ginn, Jr. with the 16th overall pick in the draft, Meachem, the Vols' leading receiver the past three seasons, could be a sleeper. After catching 25 passes as a redshirt freshman in 2004 and 29 as a sophomore in 2005, he blossomed in 2006 with 71 catches for 1,298 receiving yards, shattering the school record of 1,170 set by Marcus Nash in 1997. Meachem had six 100-yard receiving games in 2006.

Meachem's 4.39-second 40-yard dash time Sunday in the RCA Dome in Indianapolis may have placed him ahead of ahead of other receivers like LSU's Dwayne Bowe, South Carolina's Sidney Rice and Southern Cal's Dwayne Jarrett.

Meachem, who showed good power during his run, was third best in his group and tied for seventh among the receivers who worked out, according to reporters at the Combine.

The rap on Meachem is that he needs to show more quickness in and out of his breaks on pass routes. But his size, speed and ability to catch the ball may force general manager Ted Thompson to strongly consider selecting him with the team's top pick.

"What was most impressive about his drill work was how well he caught the ball with his hands instead of his body and how he positioned himself after the catch," ESPN's John Clayton reported. "On throws to the inside of the numbers, he watches the ball into his hands while positioning his feet to get yards after the catch. He caught all of the balls on the gauntlet drills going across the field and allowed very few balls to hit the ground during the day. He did seem to be a little slow coming out of his cuts as he went around a cone on some precision routes. That is the type of footwork he would need to improve. He looked very natural on the long passes and showed great ability to adjust to over-the-shoulder catches and long passes. He seems to have the right combination of size, speed and pass-catching ability to merit a first-round grade."

Comparing Meachem to Javon Walker, taken 20th overall by the Packers in 2002, is no stretch.

Meachem, 22, has made getting selected in the first round of the draft a high priority. His workout in Indianapolis Sunday gave him a great start.

"It's a high priority for me and my family," Meachem said. "It's something that we've always talked about. It's always been one of my goals."


Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.


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