Wide Receiver Prospect To Watch

Some wide receivers are labeled as deep threats and need to prove they can get off the line and play physical over the middle, while others are touted as possession receivers and need to show an explosive step to get deep into the secondary. Despite amassing a record number of receptions, the perceptions exist for one prospect. With the Vikings expressing an interest in acquiring another wide receiver this offseason, this prospect could be one to keep an eye on.

Taylor Stubblefield has done it all at the college level. He caught a NCAA record 318 passes during his college career and during his senior season snared 82 passes for 1,014 yards with 15 touchdowns at Purdue. Despite the record numbers, Stubblefield and possession receiver are linked together.

Unlike some who are trying to break the mold they have been set in, Stubblefield sees it as a positive.

"I am labeled as a possession receiver," he says. "There are a lot of teams that can use a possession receiver, a team that can keep the chains moving. There is Seattle — teams that use the West Coast Offense that would probably look at me a little more. Any type of system that I get into I am going to excel at."

Many players have carved out a solid career without the benefit of top notch speed. Jerry Rice, the best receiver of all-time, is one such player who got by on his work ethic, ability to run crisp routes and sure hands.

Considered by many scouts to have the best hands in the draft, Stubblefield combines that attribute with crisp route running.

After going to the East-West Shrine game, Stubblefield thought it was important to come to Senior Bowl week in Mobile.

"It was important for me to be out (in Mobile) and it was important for me to run crisp routes, something I take pride in," Stubblefield said. "If I could run crisp routes and be productive catching the ball it was going to be noticed.

"I had one drop (Monday) on a very easy ball that I should have caught. Anytime you drop a ball and you go a day that you didn't drop a ball (Tuesday), you are going to have a better day."

One of the things that have hurt Stubblefield is his size. At 5-foot-11 he has some height but he weighed in at 172 pounds in Mobile. Scouts fear he will have trouble beating press coverage at the next level.

For all the accolades his college career brought him, Stubblefield knows he is in for a dogfight at the next level.

"One of my biggest things throughout my college career is being consistent," the receiver said. "If I can be consistent each week, hopefully I will make a squad."

He is a smart, tough player who uses his instincts and knowledge of the game to gain separation and if he is able to add weight while keeping the skills that have made him a productive college player, he could be a steal for the team that takes him.

Stubblefield benefited from his time in Mobile. The nervousness that is often associated with work in front of scouts and coaches at the Senior Bowl was gone because of his experience in the Shrine game.

"It is better for me because I came to that East-West Shrine week and I think I was more nervous that week than Senior Bowl week. Even though there were more scouts in Mobile, I feel it now. I understood what to expect. I understood the tempo."

How that translates into a draft day selection will be something to watch. A little added weight by his Pro Day could go a long way towards determining his future.

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