Deep draft analysis: Receivers

You might know about Amari Cooper and Kevin White, but draft analyst Dave-Te’ Thomas goes 28 deep with his in-depth analysis on the strengths and weakness of the 2015 receiving corps.

COOPER, Amari | Alabama | WR | Jr | 06:00.4 | 205 | 4.56
The Biletnikoff Award recipient and Heisman Trophy finalist put together one of the finest seasons by a receiver in college history. The junior is the only player in school history to catch 200 passes (228), gain 3,000 receiving yards (3,463) and grab 20 touchdowns (31). His 124 catches in 2014 set the Southeastern Conference season-record, ranking second on that list with 1,727 yards, adding 16 scoring grabs. One of five players in SEC history to gain 3,000 receiving yards, the only player to top him is Jordan Matthews of Vanderbilt (3,759 yards, 2010-13). Expected to be an early first round selection, his draft availability will make the Oakland head coaching job even more inviting, as he could form a dream team tandem with Derek Carr. He broke a 62-year school record with 11 touchdown grabs in 2012, but toe and foot injuries hampered him the first part of the 2013 schedule, finishing with 45 catches.

Cooper executes tight angles down the field and displays a good feel vs. zone/off concepts, consistently finding soft spots underneath. He is fearless extending and making plays over the middle and is very creative after the catch. He accelerates well with the ball in his hands, displaying the fluidity to side step defenders even at full speed. He has nice acceleration off the snap to build to top speed in attempts to get down field and has superb body control to adjust to the ball in flight.

While he won’t explode off the line, Cooper gets a clean release, using his size and long reach to keep the defensive backs from trying to jam him at the line of scrimmage. He runs with a steady stride, showing easy-of-movement in his route progression. The thing you see on film is that his balance and body control lets him get back on the stem. He is very precise in his first move and you will never see him take any false steps getting into his route.

Cooper has an outstanding reach and arm length to get to off-target throws and shows excellent body control keeping his feet along the boundaries. He can rise off the ground and get to the ball at its highest point, demonstrating great elevation and timing. He is a tough cookie taking on defenders to get to the ball in tight areas and uses his large hands and body control to adjust to the ball underneath.

Cooper shows very good elevation to go over the crowd and reach and extend for the pass at its highest point. His high-point receiving skills are superior to most receivers in the college ranks. When going up for the high pass, his superb elevation will generally see him win most jump ball battles. He is a natural leaper who has a superb reach and large paws for hands to securely grasp the ball.

Cooper shows great concentration, natural hands and ball security, doing a good job of shielding the ball from the defender. He maintains tremendous focus going for the ball in a crowd and is known for making acrobatic catches look routine. He is alert to boundaries and sticks, showing a good feel for the soft spots working underneath. He excels at making proper body adjustments on the move and is very capable of tracking the ball in flight.

Cooper demonstrates good fakes and twisting moves to force the defensive backs to come out of backpedal too early and does a nice job of redirecting coming out of his breaks to take the opponent off-balance. He relies on using his slippery moves to separate, as he sinks his weight and lowers his pads to settle in underneath. He has an array of moves to fool a lethargic defender in attempts to beat the press and is very alert to pocket pressure, doing a nice job of working back to the ball. NFL Combine Coverage
Get the latest Combine news, video and rumors from the team!

WHITE, Kevin | West Virginia | WR | Sr | 06:02.7 | 211 | 4.49
Under Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia was known for their “ground-&-pound” running attack as their featured offensive game plan. The Mountaineers changed that format with the arrival of Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Steadman Bailey, all now residing in NFL uniforms. The Lackawanna College transfer, where he caught 35 passes in two seasons, started nine times during his first years in a WVU uniform in 2013, coming up with 35 receptions for 507 yards and five touch-downs, but those numbers pale in comparison for what he has done during his breakout senior campaign – joining Austin (101 in 2011; 114 in 2012) and Bailey (114 in 2012) as the only players in school history to catch 100 passes (109, ranks fifth in the NCAA FBS in 2014) in a season. His 1,447 yards receiving (sixth in the NCAA) during the 2014 season are topped by only Bailey (1,622 in 2012) on the WVU annual record chart, as he gained at least 100 yards in nine contests. He would close out his WVU career with 144 grabs that were good for 1,954 yards (13.6 ypc).

The flanker has a tall, linear frame with good upper body muscle development. Because of his size, you would expect White to look lanky in his routes, but he has the short pitter-patter steps and burst to look effortless through route progression. He has the balance and feet, along with explosive acceleration and excellent body control out of his cuts to gain valid yardage after the catch. Kansas City has made no secret that they covet the Mountaineer and with Dwayne Bowe expected to play elsewhere next season, White could be the big play target Alex Smith has been begging for.

White has the quickness to stretch the field, but is also quite effective playing the physical game and is very productive underneath. He has that second gear needed to turn an ordinary play into a big gain. He has quick feet and good balance cutting on the move. He might not be the most elusive after-the-catch runner you will find, but has the lower leg drive and ball security skills to power through the initial tackle. He runs with impressive fluidity, showing good hip and knee bend when changing directions, along with a nice feel for sticks and boundaries.

The Mountaineer has the body adjustments skills to contort his body to make the tough catches and possesses the balance and arm extension to pluck the ball at its high point. He maintains his acceleration, even when changing direction. Because of his size, he is a long strider, but displays excellent explosion in his initial movement. He demonstrates above average quickness and uses his hands effectively to avoid the jam. He is very quick breaking out of routes and shows a good burst in and out of his patterns. He generates very good explosion to transition and separate on deep routes. He also has excellent flexibility, getting his head turned around instantly to track the ball in flight. He is more of a power runner than a “juke” type, but he does have good hip shiftiness.

While White is adequate trying to fly past defenders, he does a very nice job of putting his foot in the ground, change direction and get up field in a hurry. He is a strong player than can easily run through the initial tackle. If given a free lane, he will generally gain additional yardage. He relies more on shiftiness and fakes to set up the defender, rather than turning on an explosive second gear to escape, but he also has above average leg strength to break arm tackles. He is used too much on underneath routes, but on the rare chances he gets to go deep or in isolated coverage, he has had good success picking up additional real estate.

#PARKER, DeVante | Louisville | WR | Sr | 06:02.5 | 207 | 4.53
Parker, who missed the first seven games of the 2014 schedule with a broken bone in his foot, was held to fewer than 100 yards in just two of the six games he appeared in this year, gaining 214 yards vs. Florida State and 180 more with three scoring grabs vs. Kentucky. His average of 122.5 receiving yards per game would have ranked fourth nationally, if he had enough games to qualify. He is currently ranked 12th in the nation among active players with 2,655 receiving yards, seventh with a 17.9-yard average and second with 33 touchdowns (on 148 catches). Only East Carolina’s Justin Hardy (34 in 48 games) has more scoring grabs among active players. Despite the foot injury, Parker has scouts completely convinced he’s fully recovered, evident by his performance down the stretch that helped the Vols win four of their last five games to qualify for the postseason. Parker is an imposing target for any quarterback, as he uses his size well to aggressively go after the ball and has great ability to stretch the field, boasting a 21.0-yard average on 35 receptions this season. He was limited a bit last year by a mid-season shoulder contusion, but he accounted for 855 yards on 55 receptions and tied a school record with 12 touchdowns. He is a shifty runner with the foot quickness, head/shoulder fakes and juke ability to consistently get free vs. the physical press. He has good acceleration heading up field and the agility to sell the route and elude in the open field, along with showing crisp cutting agility out of his breaks. He has a sudden first step that is unusual for a big receiver, demonstrating the breakaway burst needed to ride up his opponent. The postseason should solidify Parker as a late first round pick, with Seattle, Denver and New England all featuring offenses that require a big receiver with speed to be their go-to targets.

STRONG, Jaelen | Arizona State | WR | rJr | 06:03.5 | 212 | 4.55
Like Parker, Strong is a big, physically imposing receiver who excelled in 2014, despite injury issues that saw two quarterbacks split time for the Sun Devils. Strong overcame ankle woes in 2013 to pull down 71 balls for 1.122 yards in 2013. This season, he tallied 1,062 yards behind 75 grabs that included ten touchdowns, but did miss one game (Washington State) after suffering a concussion vs. Oregon State. A non-qualifier out of high school, he spent two seasons at Pierce Junior College before joining the ASU program last season. Strong shows very good foot speed and quickness, along with an explosive up field burst, drawing comparisons to Atlanta’s Roddy White. He does a very good job of closing the cushion and creating space up field. On short routes, he is better vs. the cushion than the press due to his stance, but can power through effectively. He can find the open areas in the zone and sit down. While he has good foot speed, he seems to be more comfortable working as a possession receiver. The weak area of his game are his inconsistency in finding the soft areas on the field, but he does a nice job of tracking the ball and shows very good body control adjusting to throws outside the cylinder, maintaining his focus in traffic to win lots of jump ball battles with defenders draped all over him. He’s been on the radar for both New England and Denver, as both teams are looking for a big target at the end of round one.

COATES, Sammie | Auburn | WR | rJr | 06:01.2 | 201 | 4.48
After three seasons, Coates has 78 receptions, hardly a great total, but since Cam Newton left for the NFL, the Tigers have failed to mount much of a passing game. Without that blue chip quarterback, Coates has had to make the most out of limited opportunities, to the tune of numerous big plays. Thirteen of his grabs resulted in touchdowns and outside of Alexander Wright (56 for 1,320 yards, a 23.57-yard average; 1986-89), no other Tiger can boast Coates’ career average of 22.2 yards per reception. Among his 30 catches this year, he scored twice and gained 206 yards on five balls vs. Alabama, adding 144 yards and a touchdown under four throws vs. LSU. With that very impressive average, it is safe to say that there might not be a better deep threat in the college game than this Tigers split end. With a running back impersonating a quarterback in Nick Marshall, Coates made the most of his reception opportunities, hauling in over 80% of the balls targeted to him. He led the team with 42 grabs and his average gain of 21.5 yards ranked third nationally in 2013. He can get deep and separate thanks to his speed/burst and shows urgency to get open on short routes, doing a very good job of setting up the cornerback with his head fakes and change of direction agility. He is fearless in a crowd and will make proper body adjustments along with good timing elevating for jump balls. He is used mostly on routes over the top because he has more than ample speed to challenge deep. He’s on the bubble as a first round choice, but if Denver has contract issues with Demaryius Thomas, Coates could quickly become a favorite target for Peyton Manning next year.

%GREEN-BECKHAM, Dorial | Oklahoma | WR | Jr | 06:05.2 | 225 | 4.49
All has been “quiet on the Sooner front” since the receiver transferred to Oklahoma, but with his body of work off the field engulfing his immense talent, you have to have “thick skin” as a general manager to use an opening pick on a guy with definite first round ability, but who could be doing a 7-to-10 stretch one day rather than being on the football field.

The often-troubled pass catcher is a Josh Gordon clone on the football field, but also appears to following the Browns receiver’s pattern off the field. Numerous issues led to him leaving Missouri and he failed in his efforts to gain NCAA approval to play for the Sooners this season. He led the Tigers with 59 grabs for 883 yards and 12 touchdowns last year, despite playing with nagging injuries. On the field, at 6:05, he’s not going to “get small” and slip past the crowd, so he has to utilize his size and strength to fight for yardage. He runs hard and once he breaks free, his burst lets him beat even the speedy defenders in attempts to take the ball to the house. He excels on crossers and sideline throws, using his strength and size to shield the ball from defenders. He has strong hands to secure the ball before running and the second gear to turn a short pass into a long gainer.

#MONTGOMERY, Ty | Stanford | WR | Sr | 06:01.5 | 215 | 4.46
2014 was not the All-World type of season that many predicted the big Cardinal receiver would have before the year began. One of the more electrifying receivers in this draft class, he’s had a few bumps and bruises that seem to linger more than most, leaving some scouts to wonder if he has the “thick skin” needed to toughen up and play through minor dings. The 2013 consensus All-American became only the third player in school history to gain over 2,000 all-purpose yards (2,208 last year) and just the second Cardinal to amass over 1,000 yards via kickoff returns (second in the nation with 1,091 yards and a 30.3-yard average). He scored fourteen times, twice on reverses, two more times on returns and hauled in over one-third of the team’s receptions (61) that produced ten more touchdowns. This season, he failed to reach 100 yards receiving in any game, yet, he led the team with 61 receptions, but for only a 9.9-yard average. He gained 144 yards on 23 carries, averaged 25.2 yards on 17 kickoff returns and 19.8 yards on 12 punt runbacks. Called a Dez Bryant type, as he did not show that aggressive nature combating for jump balls in 2014 that he did in the past. He is a physical blocker with nimble footwork and explosive acceleration. He’s well-versed as a route runner, but has had his most success on vertical routes. He has the leg drive to break arm tackles, but for a player of his size and speed, using him on underneath routes this year wasted his talent level. That adequate season, coupled with whispers regarding his penchant for lingering with minor bruises could see him slip out of the first round. Teams with needs at receiver who could take one in round two are Cleveland, Houston, Minnesota and the Jets. However, if Montgomery can show 2013 season ability in the postseason, teams picking late in the first round like Seattle and New England might show interest.

HARPER, Josh | Fresno State | WR | Sr | 06:00.6 | 184 | 4.48
Harper did not have Derek Carr to throw passes to him any more, but the senior not only provided a steadying influence for the young Bulldogs offense from the split end position, as Brian Burrell would emerge as a quality passer for the team under Harper’s guidance. With Carr and fellow receivers Davante Adams and Isaiah Burse (receiver tandem combined for 231 catches for 2,745 yards and 30 scores) having entered the pro ranks, it was up to Harper to play a critical role in giving the next Fresno State passer (Brian Burrell) ample opportunity to stretch the field. Harper, serving as the “third option” last year, pulled in 79 balls for 1,011 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2013. This season, he led the team with 86 grabs for 1,072 yards and seven scores. He Is a smooth route runner with the cutting ability to make sharp breaks, along with showing above average ability when stemming his route off the line, keeping his feet under him to create a burst for himself, even when operating in tight spaces. He has the speed needed to close the gap coming from off-coverage, thanks to his excellent ability to gain that extra step on his coverage assignment, especially when trying to make the over-the-shoulder grabs. He also has that great change of direction agility to make the initial tackler miss. Harper might not leave the state of California next season, as the 49ers and Raiders both consider him starting material worth a second round draft pick.

HARDY, Justin | East Carolina | WR | Sr | 05:10.5 | 186 | 4.49
Biletnikoff Award voters really blew it this season. How else can they explain not even including Hardy, the NCAA’s all-time receiving leader (376 catches) who ranks sixth in major college annals with 4,374 aerial yards that produced 34 touchdowns off their list of ten semi-finalists? They can not cite the 2014 campaign as a “down year” for the “Y” receiver, as he pulled down 110 balls for 1,334 yards and nine touchdowns. The favorite to win the Burlsworth Award (nation’s top walk-on), Hardy is firmly established as the best receiver in school history, becoming the first Pirate to gain over 1,000 yards receiving (1,105 in 2012 and 1,284 in 2013) in multiple seasons, along with setting the ECU annual mark with 114 grabs as a junior. He also averaged 8.0 yards via 60 punt returns during his career. He is a big-play artist with above average timed speed and playing quickness. He plays with good awareness and shows the ability to make adjustments while trying to avoid the jam. He might lack ideal size, but has a nice hesitation move to fool the defender and that extra gear, to go along with good hand placement to defeat the press. The senior has outstanding straight-line quickness and builds to top speed in an instant. Even though he lacks great bulk, his hand usage and burst will generally see him defeat the press. He gets into his routes smoothly and excels at eating up the defender’s cushion. Even when his speed fails to elude the defensive back, he has the hip wiggle and shake needed to prevent from being rerouted. He might not look physical enough to fight off the jam, but knows how to use his arm-over action to separate when the defender attempts to press. Tennessee and Seattle seem to be the teams giving Hardy the most attention, as both are looking for a slot receiver who can handle some return duties.

AGHOLOR, Nelson | Southern California | WR | Jr | 06:00.2 | 189 | 4.49
Teams that miss out on the elite receivers like Amari Cooper, DeVante Parker and Kevin White might actually find a great playmaker still on the draft board in this Trojans split end, who needs just three receptions during the bowl season to become just the fourth player in school annals to pull in 100 passes in a campaign (currently at 97 grabs for 1,223 yards and 11 scores). With 171 catches for 2,482 yards, both of those figures rank ninth in school history. The junior stepped into the lineup in 2013 and produced with 56 receptions for 918 yards and six scores, adding 343 yards with two more scores on 18 punt returns (19.1 avg), in addition to returning kickoffs. Favorably compared to the Eagles’ Jeremy Maclin. The USC junior has a lean and muscular frame with room to add more bulk without it affecting his overall quickness. He has outstanding hip snap and agility to elude in attempts to gain big yardage after the catch. He makes smooth body adjustments and possesses solid hands and extension to catch away from his frame. He is quick to settle into the holes in the zone and is very effective as a cut blocker because of his feel for taking angles. The Jets and Broncos seem intent on adding a big receiver to the lineup and feel that the college split end might be a better fit in the “Y” slot at the pro level.

GREENE, Rashad | Florida State | WR | Sr | 05:11.4 | 178 | 4.47
Despite the erratic play of quarterback Jameis Winston, it was Greene that constantly bailed out the FSU aerial game, having his finest season to date. He set the school season-record with 93 catches this year, gaining 1,306 yards while scoring seven times. His 264 catches as a Seminole not only set the school career record, but rank third in Atlantic Coast Conference annals. He also set the ACC mark with 3,771 yards and his 29 scoring grabs are second-best at FSU.

2014 was Greene’s personal version of “can you top this.” In 2013, he posted the third-most receptions in a season ever by a Seminole (76) and became the first FSU player to gain 1,000 receiving yards (1,128) since Anquan Boldin in 2002. With his explosiveness, you will generally see him win foot races in the open field. He demonstrates excellent athleticism for his position, as few opposing defenders can mirror him on deep routes due to his speed. He not only has the quickness to threaten the deep secondary, but the body control, lateral quickness and change of direction agility to make the underneath catches. When Green gets a free lane, he is explosive coming off the snap, immediately getting into his routes. He needs to be more aggressive with his hands, as he struggles a bit vs. physical press coverage, but has the burst to recover. He shows the acceleration to stem on the route and the quick feet to explode down the sidelines. The Bears would make perfect sense for Greene, as they need to generate some speed to go with big wide-outs Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.

43 | HILL, Austin | Arizona | WR | Sr | 06:02.1 | 212 | 4.54
Hill made a triumphant return to the gridiron after missing the 2013 season due to a knee injury. His production helped the Wildcats reach the Pac-12 Conference championship game. He did not come close to matching his 81-reception campaign in 2012, but he did place second on the team with 45 grabs for 605 yards and four touchdowns this year.

Coming off a 2012 campaign that saw Hill rank second in the Pac-12 with 1,364 yards on 81 catches, adding 11 touch-downs, the slot receiver was primed for a banner 2013 season, only to see it wiped out after he suffered a knee ligament tear (ACL) in spring drills, missing the entire season. He appears to be fully recovered and demonstrated in 2014 that he still has that quick initial burst to get into his routes, along with the lateral agility and balance to easily separate from cornerbacks with crisp cutting ability. He is a mismatch for smaller corners, thanks to his size and has the valid speed to get behind second level defenders when working inside at the slot, showing no fear going up and adjusting his body to win most jump ball battles.

#DAVIS, Titus | Central Michigan | WR | Sr | 06:01.0 | 182 | 4.37
Davis missed the Purdue and Syracuse games and most of the 2014 season opener vs. Chattanooga after suffering a knee sprain vs. the Mocs, but he still managed to collect 54 passes for 843 yards (15.6 ypc) and nine scores, reaching the 100-yard receiving level in five of his nine games. His career average of 18.0 yards rank fifth and his 3,563 yards receiving rank seventh on the Mid-American Conference all-time lists. Davis also holds a prominent place in the CMU record book, appearing in several statistical categories. His 2013 receiving total (61 catches) rank fifth while his touchdown total (8) is sixth. He also holds the school record for receiving touchdowns (33), ranking third in yards (3,563) and fourth in receptions (198). He has a compact body, with solid upper frame muscle definition, along with exceptional change of direction agility, above average body control and acceleration. He is a valid deep threat, thanks to his excellent quickness and change-up speed. He is his best element when asked to move and uncover on short routes, as he has enough blazing speed to get open going deep. He can make proper body adjustments and displays a very good functional second gear to elude after the catch (663-of-1,109 yards RAC in 2013; 469-of-843 in 2014). The Packers and Dallas could look at this split end as a possible slot receiver candidate.

#GOODLEY, Antwan | Baylor | WR | Sr | 05:10.2 | 221 | 4.45
A quadriceps injury in the 2014 season opener vs. SMU sidelined the split end for his next two games, seeing his numbers dip to 51 receptions for 737 yards (14.5 ypc) and six touchdowns this year. He’s currently ranked tenth on the school all-time record chart with 141 catches, placing sixth with 2,273 yards receiving and fourth with 21 touchdown grabs. Baylor has had a receiver drafted in each of the last three years and the split end is a big, quick, strong, multi-purpose veteran, used as receiver, rusher and returner. He hauled in 71 passes for 1,339 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, proving to not only be an explosive route runner (timed at 4.41 in 40-yard dash in the spring), but also perhaps the strongest receiver in college (has squatted 660 pounds, second-highest mark on team at any position), along with posting a broad jump that measured at 10 feet, 7 inches.

LOCKETT, Tyler | Kansas State | WR | Sr | 05:09.5 | 176 | 4.47
Just think of Lockett as Percy Harvin without the attitude issues. Teams looking for an all-around mighty mite will see that Lockett can not only excel as a deep threat, but he’s become a very efficient crack blocker and few in this draft boast his return skills ability. The three-time All-American recently broke all of the school’s receiving records, most that were previously established by his father, Kevin. His KSU record 236 catches rank 12th in Big Twelve history, and his 3,546 receiving yards took the sixth spot on the league all-time list. He is tied with his father for the Wildcats mark with 26 touchdown grabs. He holds the conference record with a 29.1-yard average and is fifth with 2,152 yards on 74 kickoff returns. His four kicks run back for scores is fourth in NCAA history. He also set the school mark by gaining 100 yards receiving 15 times, including on four of his final five appearances during a 2014 season that saw him collected 93 passes for 1,351 yards and nine touchdowns. The 2013 All-American pulled in 81 passes for 1,262 yards and 11 scores, averaging 26.5 yards on 22 kickoff returns last year. Tyler has a lean frame with adequate muscle definition, but is stronger than he looks. He has little room to add more bulk to his frame, but it could impact his best asset – timed speed - as he has more than enough quickness to elude in the open field, with adequate strength to fight for the ball in a crowd. He is not only explosive off the snap, but he shows very good suddenness when changing directions. He has that quick burst off the get-off foot and really hops into the route’s progression. You can see on film his ability to uncover and free himself up when working in the short area.

NORWOOD, Levi | Baylor | WR | Sr | 06:00.6 | 196 | 4.52
The 2014 season opener vs. SMU was a 45-0 victory for the Bears, but at a hefty cost. Both QB Bryce Petty and Norwood suffered injuries that would see them miss game action, with the wrist contusion suffered by the receiver costing him the next three games. He was used more in the slot upon his return, but his 29 receptions for 255 yards and two scores made him an afterthought the rest of the schedule. Still, scouts feel that his resume as a slot receiver and return man will help him maintain his mid-round draft status. He’s caught 122 balls, averaging 12.8 yards per grab, also averaging 8.7 yards on 63 punt returns and 20.6 yards on 37 kickoff returns in college. With split end Antwan Goodley around to stretch the field, Norwood has been perfectly happy lining up is the slot to handle the “grunt work.” Last year, when healthy, he pulled in 47 passes for 733 yards and eight scores, adding two more touchdowns while averaging 9.6 yards as a punt returner. He has above average flexibility and quickness, showing a sudden burst off the snap and get into his patterns with no wasted steps. He possesses the leaping ability and acceleration to get vertical and extend for the ball in a crowd, showing true courage sacrificing his body to compete for the jump balls. He has excellent body flexibility and hip snap, dropping his weight and keeping his pads down to accelerate instantly coming out of his cuts.

DORSETT, Phillip | Miami | WR | Sr | 05:09.1 | 187 | 4.21
Postseason action will further demonstrate to scouts that Dorsett might be more than capable of handling slot receiver chores at the next level. One of the fastest players in college, his size is his lone setback in an attempt to mount a charge for a first or second round grade. Just the seventh player in school history to gain over 2,000 receiving yards during a career (2,087 on 116 catches), Dorsett pulled down 31 balls for 826 yards, leading the nation with a 26.6-yard average while scoring nine times in 2014. With a 38-inch vertical jump and 4.4 speed, along with coming off a 2012 season that saw Dorsett pull in 58 balls for 842 yards and four scores, big things were expected from him in 2013. A mid-October knee injury vs. North Carolina wiped out the second half of the season, as he finished with 272 yards on 13 catches. Fully recovered, the Santana Moss look-alike showed this season that he has more than enough speed to terrorize Atlantic Coast Conference cornerbacks. He has a small, but well-defined body with outstanding stop-&-go action, flashing tremendous quickness off the line, maintaining balance and body control in and out of his breaks. He excels at working back to the ball, showing fearlessness going up for the pass in traffic, as he is one of the best in the conference in tracking the ball in flight.

LIPPETT, Tony | Michigan State | WR | Sr | 06:02.4 | 190 | 4.49
Welcome to the Tony Lippett “coming out” party, folks. After three seasons of mostly blocking for the team’s staple – the ground game – and serving as a nice safety valve receiver, the staff decided to push the aerial game a bit this year and Lippett embraced that opportunity to shine. The third-year starting split end became the first Spartan to ever be named Big Ten Conference Receiver of the Year, as he caught a career-best 60 passes for 1,124 yards (18.7 ypc) and eleven touchdowns this year, also scoring on a 32-yard reverse. Adding to his resume, he often saw action as the “field” cornerback in sub packages. Just the sixth player in MSU annals to gain 1,000 yards receiving in a season, he’s grabbed 144 balls for 2,173 yards (15.1 ypc) and 15 touchdowns for the Spartans. The split end has deceptive speed to get downfield, showing good body flexibility, good balance and body control to adjust to the ball in flight and has the leaping ability to compete for the ball in the air. He showed this season that he has the size and vertical jump to go up and make the catch over the middle. As fast as he can be off the snap, he is best when using his long stride and deceptive vertical speed to stretch the field.

GREENBERRY, Deontay | Houston | WR | rJr | 06:02.1 | 198 | 4.54
With head coach Tony Levine having recently been relieved of his duties at Houston, scouts feel that Greenberry might never become the eighth player in school history to catch 200 passes in a career. Having led the Cougars with 68 catches for 756 yards and four scores this season, he increased his three-year total to 197 grabs for 2,527 yards and 18 touchdowns. The next pass he catches will likely come into his hands from an NFL quarterback. The 17th player in school history to gain 1,000 yards receiving (1,202 on 82 grabs in 2013), his 11 touchdowns ranked second in the American Athletic Conference. The two-time team MVP operated from the “Y” receiver position and while he lacks blazing speed, he sets up defenders with his head fakes and juking moves. He is a great leaper who uses his body well to get to the ball in traffic and shows good body control running down the sidelines. He accelerates well coming out of his cuts and has a good sense for openings in the zone. He also effectively separates from the defender after the catch, displaying sharp moves in and out of his breaks and has that short burst needed to get open in the slot.

SMITH, Devin | Ohio State | WR | Sr | 06:00.4 | 199 | 4.46
Smith, one of nine players in the major college ranks to average at least 20 yards per catch in 2014, leads that group with a 27.69-yard average, more than 3.5 yards per grab more than the second-place finisher. With four different players tossing passes to him since he arrived for 2014 fall drills, he’s made the most of limited passes targeted to him, hauling in 32-of-41 targeted tosses (78.05%), as just six players in the country had more than his 12 touchdown grabs. His percentage of receptions for touchdowns (30-of-120) is 25.00%, the highest rate for an FBS player since Kevin Williams of Southern California set the major college standard of 35.29% (24 touchdowns on 68 receptions; 1977-80). He also holds the Big Ten all-time mark with a career average gain of 19.76 yards per catch.

Smith is just the second player in school history to average at least 20 yards per reception three times in a career – averaging 21.0 yards with four scores on 14 snatches as a freshman, followed by a 20.6-yard mark on 30 grabs that included six touchdowns in 2012. Eight of his 44 receptions produced touchdowns in 2013 and his 12 scoring catches in 2014 ranks third-best on the school season-record chart.

Smith has outstanding size and speed for his position. He has the explosive second gear to threaten the deep areas of the secondary, but with his ability to shield the ball from defenders, he has been very effective turning the intermediate tosses into big gains. He uses his hands well to defeat the jam at the line of scrimmage and has the loose hips and crisp cutting ability to make the initial tackler miss and gain separation after the catch.

The Buckeye is very good at settling underneath, showing the balance and body control to make the shoestring grabs or extend to catch outside his frame. He is very flexible in his route progression, showing the stop-&-go action to instantly redirect. He has the valid burst to get on top of the defense and shows nice body control adjusting to the deep ball in flight. He has the hip flexibility to drop his weight and the balance to change his stride without having to throttle down.

Smith has very good speed, enough to rank with the elite in this draft class. He has good suddenness in his initial step and shows that explosive burst needed to outrun defenders coming out of his breaks. When he reaches top speed, he is capable of maintaining it. He consistently separates and uses his body well to extend for the long throw. For a player who has had to block more often that catch the ball, he makes the most out of limited opportunities as a receiver, but has managed to put up an outstanding numbers in two categories – in games where he has caught a touchdown, OSU has compiled a 22-0 record. Prediction – though listed as a fourth rounder at the end of 2014 regular season play, Smith could be a likely second round target due to his big play abilities.

PERRIMAN, Breshad | Central Florida | WR | rJr | 06:01.5 | 209 | 4.52
Perriman was supposed to split time with Rannell Hall and J.J. Worton at the two receiver positions again in 2014, but the red-shirt junior ended up starting ten times at split end, where he was the team’s leading playmaker with 50 grabs for 1,044 yards and nine touchdowns. He was one of just nine major college players to average at least 20.0 yards per catch this season (20.9 ypc, sixth-best nationally). The trio had combined for 2,418 yards and 16 touchdowns on 143 grabs (16.9 ypc), with Perriman averaging 20.8 yards on 39 snatches in 2013. But, no matter who was catching the ball, Blake Bortles was gone and the projected starting quarterback, Justin Hoffman, had just nine completions on his resume entering the 2014 season, but the passer would connect with Perriman on nine of the QB’s 23 scoring strikes. Perriman has yet to decide if he will declare for the 2015 draft, but he has a tall, well-built frame with very long limbs, as he maintains balance throughout his route progression. He can accelerate down field and has good agility catching the ball over his head.

Perriman is an instinctive player on the field, with a good feel for boundaries and chains. He makes good body adjustments to locate the soft spot in the zone. He is a fairly smooth runner, but needs to be quicker in his routes. He is really just a strider who can stick, weave and leverage defenders, but must stay low in his pads to effectively create advantage. He must do a better job of planting and driving out of his cuts, as he sometimes gathers too much and gears down in doing this. He might not have the explosion you look for coming out of his breaks, but has the size and leaping ability to get to most underneath throws. He is better served on bubble screens, hitches and post patterns because he takes soft angles rather than sharp 90-degree cuts, but does have the loose hips to change direction and the weave to slip and avoid underneath tackles.

When used underneath, Perriman is capable of making better cuts than he does on deep routes. He has quick feet in transition, but just a modest burst to separate. He has more success getting open when he weaves and leverages to move defenders and create space. He is more effective on quick slants and bubble screens due to his long reach.

BELL, Kenny | Nebraska | WR | Sr | 06:01.6 | 186 | 4.52
With just Bell and tailback Ameer Abdullah as the Huskers’ only established weapons on offense, Nebraska needed to settle on a quarterback that can better utilize the split end’s ability to stretch the field. With Tommy Armstrong settling in as the top signal caller in 2014, Bell led the team with 47 receptions for 788 yards (16.8 ypc) and six touchdowns, as he also averaged 23.9 yards on eight kickoff returns, despite dealing with a nagging groin injury. Used mostly on screens and dump-offs in 2013, Bell still led the team with 52 receptions, but only for an average gain of 11.4 yards, as he also had only four touchdowns. He would finish his time at Nebraska as the school’s all-time leader with 134 receptions for 1,901 yards (14.2 ypc), reaching the end zone with 15 of those grabs.

Bell is a savvy route runner who compensates for a lack of explosion off the line with good hand usage to get into his route and get a clean release and avoid the jam. He has the ball skills to play outside his frame and make proper adjustments working down field. His hip swerve and head fakes, along with his natural hands, lets him make a quick move to elude the defender while cradling the ball properly to prevent the forced fumble.

Bell shows good athletic ability for his position, demonstrating the change of direction, balance and body control to not take any false steps getting into his routes. He lacks sudden quickness or deep speed, but builds his acceleration nicely and shows the body torque to get in and out of his breaks cleanly. He is a quick, short strider with good playing speed for his size, but is better utilized in the short-to-intermediate areas, as he has very good balance running his routes and does a good job of adjusting to the ball in flight.

Bell has a solid understanding for route building/progression. He comes off the line hard and tries to look fast, using his hands well to attack the center of a defensive back to get a strong push-off for a clean release. He is a physical type, but also has decent moves to escape and get up field. He shows good timed speed, but with his short stride, he is not the type that will suddenly explode and get up field in an instant (more of the type that builds his acceleration steadily).

CROWDER, Jamison | Duke | WR | Sr | 05:08.4 | 173 | 4.53
Crowder is the classic case that big things come in small packages. The speedy receiver tied the school and Atlantic Coast Conference career-record with 283 receptions and ranks third in league annals with 3,641 aerial yards, the second-highest total by a Blue Devil. He turned 23 of those grabs into touchdowns and ranks second among active FBS players with four touchdowns via 65 punt returns for 869 yards (most by an active player). He’s gained 930 yards on 44 kickoff returns, as his 5,575 all-purpose yards rank third among players that competed in college in 2014, as that total is also third-best in ACC annals.

With Anthony Boone handling QB duties, Crowder soon became the passer’s favorite target, especially after the slot receiver returned as the only player among the BCS conference schools to have back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons (1,074 yards on 76 catches in 2012/1,360 on 108 grabs in 2013). He led the team with 85 more receptions, good for 1,004 yards and six touchdowns in 2014, scoring twice on 22 punt returns for 260 yards.

Crowder compensates for a lack of size and bulk with quick feet, excellent in-stride balance, loose hips to generate stop-&-go action that makes the initial tackler miss and the body control to make adjustments to haul in the off-target throws. He shows good flexibility on the move and has the timed speed and movement ability to take the ball long distances. He is a big-play artist with above average timed speed and playing quickness. He plays with awareness and shows the ability to make adjustments while trying to avoid the jam. He might lack ideal size, but has a nice hesitation move to fool the defender and that extra gear, to go along with good hand placement to defeat the press. He is not the type that can suddenly explode off the line, needing room to get to top speed (does it quickly though).

Crowder has the burst and change of direction skills to be effective as a short area receiver, but in order to do it consistently, he needs to do a better job of setting up his breaks. With minimal moves, fakes and inconsistent wiggle, he is the type that will need space to have success in this area. When he plays with the proper center of gravity and drops his weight well, he has the ability to snap in and out of his cuts. He has made marked improvement when trying to generate the good body control needed when working underneath and has the ability to settle into the area’s soft spots.

Crowder does a nice job of looking the ball in flight over either shoulder. He is a natural hands catcher with a long reach for a smaller receiver. He prefers to have the ball inside his window to make the short area catch, but will extend to pluck outside his frame on long patterns. He also shows good urgency and body control digging out the low throws.

MAYLE, Vince | Washington State | WR | Sr | 06:02.0 | 219 | 4.42
Mayle was at the crossroads with his college career in 2011. Should he continue to play basketball at Sierra College or join the football program? He had averaged 8.0 points per game in hoops, winning a dunk contest as a freshman, but the former prep running back/linebacker would turn to football and become a 240-pound split end. He led Sierra with 61 receptions for 984 yards (16.13 ypc) and led the California junior college ranks with 16 touchdown grabs, as he also averaged 24.62 yards on 13 kickoff returns in 2012.

Mayle accepted a scholarship offer to join Mike Leach’s pass-happy program at Washington State, but spent the 2013 season in reserve. He still managed to gain 539 yards with seven scores on 42 catches that year. The staff was thinking of moving him to H-Back or fullback, but Mayle dropped 20 pounds during the offseason and won the starting “X” receiver job for 2014. He would lead the Pac-12 Conference and rank fourth in the nation with 106 receptions, again leading the league while placing fifth nationally with 1,483 yards receiving. He also gained 177 yards on nine kickoff returns and recorded four tackles.

Most media types credited Mayle’s performance to being a product of the system. It also helped that he had a quarter-back in Connor Halliday that was averaging 430.3 aerial yards per game. Holliday broke his leg and missed the final three games on the 2014 calendar. Mayle had averaged 12.61 yards via 80 catches with Halliday at the helm. When the QB was injured, Mayle “amped it up,” averaging 18.23 yards on 26 receptions in those last three games, including 252 yards on a career-best 15 receptions vs. Arizona State.

Mayle has a solid upper body frame and good lower body muscle tone. He has the long arms, large hands and big thighs to look the part of a go-to receiver. Even with his impressive timed speed, Mayle may lack the suddenness to leave defenders at the line of scrimmage getting into his route, and he still needs to refine his hand technique trying to escape the jam (will sometimes get too caught up in the battle rather than play off the defender). But, once he keeps his hands inside his frame, he is too physical for most cornerbacks to contain. He moves athletically through under coverage and has a smooth, fluid release, steadily building to top speed. He relies mostly on his size, bulk and strength to beat the jam, as he knows he can use his body assets to steer defenders and create lanes with his ability to stem and angle.

Because of his long legs, Mayle does not look like he has blazing speed, but if you ask any Pac-12 Conference corner-back, he has the ability to instantly get to the top of the route and eat up any cushion. He might not be sudden, but he is an athletic mover off the line and even with just two years of major college experience (three overall), it is rare to see him take false steps in his route or ease off when blocking in the second level. He builds his acceleration nicely heading up the field and is very crisp coming out of his breaks.

What separates Mayle from most big receivers is his ability to adjust and run under the ball in flight. He is too tall to make the shoestring grabs, though, making him not ideal for the underneath game. He loves when allowed to simply run down field, have the quarter-back unleash the ball and time his leaps to get to it at its highest point. He is a natural athlete with the range, jumping ability and body control to contort and adjust to the off-target passes. He just needs to work on his knee bend to be more successful attacking the low balls.

HALL, Rannell | Central Florida | WR | Sr | 06:00.4 | 198 | 4.47
Named the team’s Outstanding Receiver in 2013, Hall led UCF with 57 receptions for 866 yards (15.5 ypc) and five touchdowns, as he also ran for a score and averaged 23.8 yards on 29 kickoff returns. He handled flanker chores again in 2014, but was no longer the team’s featured receiver, as hamstring issues limited him to ten appearances. He did finish second on the team with 49 receptions, but they were good for an average of only 10.2 yards and he failed to reach the end zone with any of those snatches.

When healthy, Hall shows good foot speed, but the lateral agility in his change of direction could use improvement. He does display solid body control, though. He is still learning to use his speed to explode into a route, but has very quick acceleration and thrust. You have to love the way he uses his head-&-shoulder fakes, as he can stab-&-stem to set up defensive backs and is effective gearing down. He will generally make sharp cuts, but at times, he will take some soft angles (needs a little polish).

Hall has good balance and the strength to absorb hits going up for the ball in a crowd. He shows the body control, agility, quickness, head fakes and change of direction agility to adjust and make tough off-target catches look routine. He has a good burst to catch up to the ball on deep routes and the ability to track the ball while it is in flight. When working in tight quarters, he is not timid, but will try to body catch in a crowd. Still, he has the ability to make plays on passes that are outside his frame.

The UCF receiver has the body control and extension ability to get to most balls thrown to him. He has to be more alert to his surroundings, as he does take vicious hits when he runs into spots, but has good ball security to hold on and take a lick. He will drop an easy one occasionally, especially when he tries to turn and run with the ball before securing it.

TAYLOR, Jordan | Rice | WR | Sr | 06:04.2 | 206 | 4.54
A left foot sprain kept Taylor on the sidelines for the first three games on the 2014 schedule and when he returned, it was several games before he got back on track, but he still went on to lead the team with 54 receptions for 842 yards (15.6 ypc) and seven touchdowns, as he produced four 100-yard receiving efforts and had at least one score in seven contests. A foot injury had limited him to five late season games during his freshman season, managing 69 yards on nine grabs, but he also completed two passes for 77 yards. The next year, he led the Owls with 57 receptions for 826 yards, reaching the end zone three times. He extended his streak to 22-straight games with at least one catch, as the second-team All-Conference USA choice pulled down 55 tosses for 848 yards (15.4 ypc) and a career-high eight touchdowns during his junior season in 2013.

Despite lacking great speed, Taylor’s long legs get him into his patterns smoothly. He could use additional bulk and improve his strength, but he uses his hands effectively to defeat the jam. His long arms get him a good release vs. the hold-up and he is quicker than he is fast getting into his routes. He shows a strong initial release, but does lack explosion coming off the line. Because of his size, he can slip past the smaller defenders.

Taylor presents a nice sized target on slants, hitches and other short routes. He has enough functional strength to get a decent push off the opponent and shows outstanding concentration looking the ball in, especially when working in a crowd. He doesn’t appear to present the deep speed needed to separate in the secondary, but he has the loose hips and body contortion agility to maintain balance and somehow find the soft areas on the field. Because of his instincts and long stride, he is able to run up on the defenders.

While he is not sudden, Taylor is very smooth in his patterns. He is a long strider who can stick, weave and leverage the defender effectively to gain leverage. He runs more slants and underneath routes to compensate for his lack of second gear coming out of his breaks. He is a master at recognizing movement though, doing a great job of running up on his man when this happens. He never drops his hands coming out of his breaks, gathering well to make crisp cuts.

SHIPLEY, Jaxon | Texas | WR | Sr | 06:00.2 | 192 | 4.58
With four players taking snaps under center in 2013, the Longhorns’ quarterback picture was a mess. Shipley did lead the team with 56 catches for 589 yards, but just one of those grabs resulted in a touchdown. He added to his resume with a 13.5-yard as a punt returner. He had begun his Texas career with five starting assignments as a freshman. He threw for three touchdowns while completing all four pass attempts and snatched 44 tosses for 607 yards and three scores in 2011. His sophomore season saw the legacy pull in six of his 59 receptions for touchdowns, gaining 737 yards (12.49 ypc) in 2012. As a senior, Shipley appeared in 11 games, as a leg/hamstring injury in the Oklahoma State clash sidelined him for two contests, but he still made 58 catches for 571 yards (9.84 ypc). However, much like his junior campaign, he only reached the end zone with one of his grabs.

Shipley comes from strong football bloodlines, as his brother, Jordan, was an All-American and Biletnikoff Award finalist at Texas (2006-09), setting the school record in career receptions, and currently plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Their uncle, Stephen Shipley, was a receiver at TCU (1989-1992) and their father, Bob, was roommates with Texas QB Case McCoy’s father, Brad, at Abilene Christian.

While he does not have the ideal strength to constantly power through the press, Shipley does do an effective job of using his hands and arms to gain his release (good swim move).He also lacks blazing speed to challenge the deep secondary when lined wide and is best served using his field vision and intelligence to his advantage as a slot receiver, where he does a nice job of keeping his pads down and changing direction to secure the underneath throws. He does not demonstrate the second gear needed to gobble up the cushion or get behind a cornerback on deep routes. His best ability is when he locates soft spots and settles underneath and he gains most of his success by running crisp routes rather than simply accelerating into the open field.

If he can avoid the press, Shipley can get into his patterns, but a physical corner can have success re-routing him. He needs to continue developing his escape moves at the next level, as he won’t ever develop the power needed to fight through NFL contact, even though he generally runs precise routes. He has a good relationship with his quarterback and executes his assignments well. He will drift a bit and take soft angles on longer patterns, but he does a decent job with his fakes to sell the route. He just does not seem to have the fluid hips to change direction in an instant, taking some false steps in the process. He must work on generating more explosiveness out of his cuts or he will be easily captured after the catch. He will never be one that can stretch the field or go vertical and until he can improve his ability to get in and out of his cuts cleanly, he will be relegated to slot duties.

DAVIS, Devante | Nevada-Las Vegas | WR | Sr | 06:02.1 | 217 | 4.52
Coming out of high school, the only offer Davis received from a major college was from Texas A&M, who wanted the Class 5A long jump champion on a track scholarship. Davis would go on to shatter the UNLV record for touchdown receptions in a season with 14 in 2013, and became just the second Rebel since 1994 to reach the 1,000-yard mark and his 1,290 yards that year is the second-most in program history while his 77 catches stand third in a season at UNLV. Davis tied a school record with four scoring grabs in the regular-season finale vs. San Diego State and his 99.7 yards per game currently stands 17th in the country. He had started three times at split end during his freshman year, but had only four grabs for 42 yards. Moving to flanker in 2012, he scored four times on 61 receptions for 854 yards (14.0 ypc).

Coming off his All-Mountain West Conference 2013 season, Davis was primed to mount a 2014 campaign for All-American recognition, but in the Northern Illinois clash, he suffered a right hand injury that would limit him to eight appearances (six full games), finishing second on the squad with 34 grabs for 599 yards (17.62 ypc) and four scores. He would close out his career second in school annals with 2,785 receiving yards and 11 100-yard receiving games, placing third with 22 touchdown catches and fourth with 186 receptions.

The Rebel shows good field awareness and concentration along the boundary, doing a good job of keeping his feet in bounds. He has a natural feel along the sidelines and uses his hands and body well to create separation on shorter routes. He does a good job on shallow crosses and short hitch-type routes, as he won’t hesitate to get physical after the catch. He has the prototypical height, long arms and strong build for the position, along with good hands and body control. He’s very capable of high-pointing the ball and making the tough catch in a crowd and he can tightrope the sideline or the end line. He lines up in the slot and outside, and is effective in either spot.

Davis uses his long arms and size to get off press coverage and negate small corners on running plays. He shows the ability to separate from smaller, quicker collegiate defenders and also has some elusiveness after the catch, using his frame to his advantage all over the field. He does an excellent job of cutting routes off when corners give him a cushion. Even though he lacks ideal change-of-direction skills, he shows good footwork and uses his upper body to set up breaks. He reads defenses well and locates seams when working through zone coverage and rarely traps ball. With his frame, he can snatch the ball out of the air without breaking stride. He shields defenders with that big frame and can make the tough catch in traffic.


Prospects by: OVERALL RANK | Position | College | Home State | Name

Related: NFL Scouting Combine Coverage

Scout NFL Network Top Stories