Everything you need to know about the Carolina Panthers' second-round selection of wide receiver Devin Funchess out of Michigan from Scout's college and pro football experts.
Instant Analysis from Scout's Jamie Newberg:
The Panthers trade up in the second round to add more height to their wide receiver corps in Devin Funchess. How multi-talented is this player? He had 25 starts at four different positions – slot receiver, flanker, split end and tight end. In the right scheme he has a chance to do big things on Sundays because of his combination of size and unique skill set. He’s somewhat of a tweener at 6-foot-4, 232-pounds and the reason why he has bounced around at different positions on offense. Then again, Funchess can also do a bunch of different things and also is a matchup problem for opposing defenses. He has good hands but needs to develop consistency in all parts to his game.
Report from NFL Scouting Services' Dave-Te' Thomas:
AnalysisHow multi-talented is Devin Funchess? He had 25 starts at four different positions – slot receiver, flanker, split end and tight end. In the right scheme he has a chance to do big things on Sundays because of his combination of size and unique skill set. He’s somewhat of a tweener at 6-foot-4, 232-pounds and the reason why he has bounced around at different positions on offense. Then again, Funchess can also do a bunch of different things and also is a matchup problem for opposing defenses. He has good hands but needs to develop consistency in all parts to his game.
Dave-Te' Thomas Player Evaluation
Two seasons of inconsistency at quarterback and a lack of a bowl berth finally caught up with Devin Funchess, and that likely led to his decision to test the professional waters. With more emphasis on the NFL passing game, it is the pass catching “big guys” that are being coveted, and that is where Funchess will make his money next season. He comes into the league having led his team with 62 receptions for 733 yards, having found the end zone just four times this season. That increased his career numbers to 126 grabs for 1,715 yards and 15 scores through three campaigns.
The Wolverine has a rare-sized frame for a wide receiver, along with demonstrating the smooth hip sink to gain separation and knows how to throttle down. He has the smooth hip sink to gain separation and knows how to throttle down or generate that impressive second gear. He is in a similar situation as the Saints’ Jimmy Graham – a pass catching receiver who is often aligned wide or in the slot, but not used often as a traditional tight end.
The reluctant tight end from 2013 got his wish to become a full-time wide receiver in 2014. He played mostly in the slot during his sophomore year, also seeing action at flanker. Teams are impressed with his versatility, but his major weakness – a very passive nature as a blocker – makes it likely that no NFL offensive coordinator would risk his quarter-back’s “life-and-limb” by putting him back at tight end.
With more emphasis on the NFL passing game, it is the pass catching “big guys” that are being coveted, and that is where Funchess will make his money next season. He has a rare-sized frame for a wide receiver, along with demonstrating the smooth hip sink to gain separation and knows how to throttle down or generate that impressive second gear. The usual “culprits” that are on the prowl for a big receiving target – Seattle and New England – will give serious consideration to taking the Wolverine late second round/early third round area.
Funchess has a tall frame with long limbs and adequate muscle definition. He added bulk during the off-season and his frame is at maximum growth potential for a receiver without losing any of his burst and quickness. He just seems to lack the tough, physical style you would expect from a big receiver, having dropped 20 passes during his career. He made 62 catches last season, but that came from 103 targets, as opponents deflected fifteen tosses out of his hands – too many for a player whose coverage opponent averaged just 5:10.2 in height.
Funchess lacks a strong release and needs to be more consistent generating explosion coming off the line of scrimmage. He is a bit of a long strider, but has the burst to separate after the catch. Despite his adequate timed speed, he does not have good initial quickness, as he needs to build to top acceleration. As a route runner, Funchess needs to refine his technique. He rounds his cuts too often and while he shows a good burst after the catch, his long stride makes him appear lazy getting into his routes. In order to be effective, he will need to explode out of his cuts better.
Last season, Funchess was limited to mostly slants and underneath routes and needs to recognize movement better. He has some speed to elude, but prefers to power through defenders coming out of his breaks and this resulted in several failures, as he was tackled for no gain four times, brought down the line of scrimmage twice and had just six non-touchdown-receptions where more than one tackler was needed to bring him down.
The Wolverine knows how to use his size to wall off defenders and shield the ball, he just needs to do it more often. He has large hands and long arms to reach and pluck the ball, but most of his drops are caused by a lack of concentration. He also seems to shy away from contact working over the middle. He seems very hesitant to take a hit going over the middle and this attitude, combined with his body growth, could see him more effective as an underneath target at tight end rather than lining up at split end.
Funchess has the body control to twist and turn to make the catch in a crowd and shows good flexibility to secure the pass at its high point (just needs better consistency). He has struggled when having to go deep and needs to stay lower in his pads and show better hip snap to generate more explosion in his routes. Before 2014, he would try to overpower defenders, but now shows better balance and leg drive. He developed some wiggle to escape initial contact, but when he gathers before cutting, he negates his timed speed.
His frame and aggressiveness would make him an effective blocker, but he will lose concentration at times, keep his arms short and this allows defenders to slip past in backside pursuit. The talent and strength are there to be a good in-line blocker. He just needs to develop better overall consistency.
Funchess is an interesting prospect because of his size and timed speed, as an H-Back or motion-tight end candidate. He needs to show more explosiveness in his burst and develop better consistency. He is prone to mental lapses on the field and while he is a hard worker, he is not regarded as leadership material. He needs to be pushed at times, as he tends to get lazy, but overall, he has been a good program player. Based on his size/speed ratio, if he continues to run well in private workouts, he could sneak back into the late second round draft picture, but like Buffalo Bills bust James Hardy, he is a big receiver who plays like a “little man” too often.
Devin Funchess Scouting Combine measurables
6-4/232 (4.70 forty)
33 1/2-inch arm length
9 3/4-inch hands
38.5-inch vertical jump
122-inch broad jump
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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