DRAFT TALK: WR Scouting Reports
By Tony Pauline
Special To Jets Insider.com
April 21st, 2008
NFL Draft expert Tony Pauline breaks down the top college WR's and TE's in this month's draft with complete scouting reports.
Full Name: Devin Thomas School:
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 216 40: 4.43 Year: 4Jr
Junior-college transfer coming off a breakout season. Led the team in receiving
last year with 79/1260/8 and was awarded All-Conference honors. Had six
receptions as a sophomore.
Large, athletic prospect coming off a breakout junior campaign. Solid pass-catcher who uses his frame to shield away opponents and extends to make the reception away from his body. Sells routes, adjusts to the errant throw, and displays a nice sense of timing. Possesses good eye/hand coordination and makes the tough catch in contorted positions. Knows where he is on the field, finds the soft spot in the defense, and resilient running after the reception. Keeps the play alive and tries to pick up as much yardage as possible. Gets vertical out-jumping defenders and pulls the ball from the air.
Displays marginal sharpness running routes. Lacks the second gear and really
does not play to his timed speed.
Thomas is a terrific athlete and a sure-handed receiver who also makes the big play downfield. He really hit his stride last year. He possesses a good amount of upside potential and his draft stock is moving north. Thomas must learn to do the little things well, but he should develop into a number one receiver at the next level.
Full Name: James Hardy School:
Ht: 6-5.5 Wt: 217 40: 4.51 Year: 4Jr
Three-year starter awarded All-Conference honors the past two seasons. Totals
last season included career-high numbers of 76/1125/16 after 51/722/10 the
previous year. Freshman-year numbers included 61/893/10.
King-sized receiver with reliable hands. Smart, displays good awareness, and finds the open spot on the field. Strong, beats down defenders, and makes the difficult catch in a crowd. Extends and catches the pass away from his frame, using his size as an advantage. Displays relatively soft hands. Makes the difficult catch downfield. Displays timing and adjusts to the errant throw. Snatches the fastball from the air. Effective downfield blocker who seals running lanes for ball-carriers. Plays with good body control.
More of a loping runner with marginal playing speed. Average route-runner with limited quickness. Suffered off-field injuries as a sophomore, which infringed on his playing time.
Hardy is a big, strong pass-catcher with a very good game. He is truly the go-to
guy opponents have difficulty stopping and he has the ability to make a quick transition into the NFL.
Full Name: DeSean Jackson School:
Ht: 5-9.5 Wt: 169 40: 4.39 Year: 3Jr
Three-year starter who made an immediate impact upon his
Game-breaking receiver with home run speed. Quick off the line, immediately gets to top speed, and possesses the second gear. Easily makes the difficult catch downfield running at full speed and not afraid to go up in a crowd for the reception. Shows excellent focus, looks the pass into his hands, and makes the reception away from his frame. Plays with good balance and body control and gets vertical to grab the high pass. Effectively positions himself and uses his frame to protect the ball. Extends and offers the quarterback a nice target. Adjusts to the errant throw and makes the reception in stride. Elusive handling the ball and can run to daylight if given the slightest bit of open space. Possesses soft hands and plucks the ball from the air.
Lacks the big frame and loses out in battles. Must be more disciplined running routes, as he tends to float out of breaks. Durability has been an issue the past two years.
in a variety of ways.
He strikes fear in opponents and his ability to beat defenders downfield is highly respected.
Full Name: Limas Sweed School:
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 215 40: 4.57 Year: 5Sr
Four-year starter and previous All-Conference selection who totaled 19/306/3 in
six games as a senior. Hurt his wrist in early October, which ended his season.
Junior-year totals included a career-high 46/801/12.
King-sized pass-catcher who can be a game-controlling wideout. Works routes and displays good focus and eye/hand coordination. Adjusts to the errant throw, extends, and snatches the ball from the air. Makes the difficult catch in a crowd with defenders draped on him. Gets vertical and out-jumps opponents to make the reception. Exposes himself to the big hit. Takes a pounding, yet holds onto the ball.
Lacks overall quickness and speed to his game. Not stretching the field and
ineffective as a downfield pass-catcher.
Sweed has the physical dimensions and skills to be a productive possession wideout in the NFL.
Full Name: Andre Caldwell School:
Ht: 6-0.5 Wt: 204 40: 4.39 Year: 5Sr
Three-year starter who posted 56/761/7 as a senior after 57/577/6 the previous season.
Nice-sized pass-catcher who’s making a charge up draft boards. Fluid releasing off the line, quick to top speed, and finds the open spots in the defense to make himself an available target. Comes back to the pass out of breaks, adjusts to the errant throw, and looks the ball into his hands. Makes the difficult catch in a crowd showing good concentration. Solid route-runner who gets separation from opponents and extends to grab the pass away from his frame. Gets vertical to high-point the ball. Elusive running after the reception and picks up positive yardage.
Ran fast at the combine, yet does not show the deep speed or second gear on the field. Must turn up the intensity as a blocker.
developing a complete game. If he learns to translate his 40 speed to the football field, he can be a productive second wideout at the next level.
Full Name: Malcolm Kelly School: Oklahoma Pos: WR
Ht: 6-3.5 Wt: 224 40: 4.55 Year: 3Jr
Three-year starter twice named an All-Conference selection. Totals last season
included 49/821/9 after a career-high 62/993/10 as a sophomore.
Nice-sized receiver with natural pass-catching skills. Fluid releasing off the line,
shows sharpness running routes, and gets separation from opponents. Uses his
frame to protect the ball, adjusts to the errant throw, and reaches back to snatch
the pass from the air. Plays with outstanding balance and body control and makes
the difficult reception in contorted positions. Gets vertical to make the difficult
reception downfield and catches the pass without breaking stride. Gets results as
a blocker. Cognizant and consistently finds the clearing in the defense.
Marginal deep speed and lacks the second gear. More of a loping runner, takes a
while to get it going, and lacks a burst.
Kelly is a fluid pass-catcher with rare size. He comes off a slightly disappointing
junior campaign, yet he has all the tools and skills necessary to be a
game-controlling wideout at the next level. He draws a variety of opinions in
scouting circles, but he has the ability to produce in the NFL.
Full Name: Donnie Avery School: Houston Pos: WR
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 192 40: 4.45 Year: 5Sr
Four-year starter awarded All-Conference honors as a senior after posting career-high receiving numbers of 91/1456/7 and averaging 28.3 yards on 15 kick returns with one touchdown. Junior-year pass-catching numbers included 57/852/5.
Game-breaking receiver who can take it the distance. Plays with outstanding balance, body control, and quickness. Fluid off the line, quickly gets to top speed, and leaves defenders in the dust if given the slightest bit of open space. Has a second gear, easily runs to the long throw, and makes the difficult over-the-shoulder catch running full speed. Displays solid eye/hand coordination, finds the soft spot in the defense, and for the most part catches the ball with his hands.
Not a strong, sturdy receiver, loses out in battles, and easily brought down.
Average route-runner with marginal sharpness into breaks.
Avery comes off a career season and his game-breaking speed is intriguing. He
must polish his game, yet he could quickly find an opportunity at the next level as
a third receiver and learn on the job.
Full Name: Early Doucet School: LSU Pos: WR
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 209 40: 4.58 Year: 4Sr
Moved in with the first team as a freshman and has seen extensive starting action
the past four years. Missed four games with a groin injury as a senior yet still led
LSU in receiving posting 57/525/5. Junior totals included 59/772/8.
Well-sized, sure handed pass catcher with natural receiving skills. Quick off the line, finds the open space in the defense and uses his frame shield away defenders. Plays with good balance and body control, nicely adjusting to the errant throw then looking the pass into his hands. Extends and snatches the ball from the air or effectively body catches when necessary. Displays good awareness on the field and always works to become an available target. Goes up in a crowd and comes down with the difficult reception, displaying a good sense of timing and anticipation. Solid blocker and gets results down the field.
Possesses marginal speed and not a deep threat. Poor route runner and not quick
or sharp into breaks.
Doucet is a quality pass-catcher who could develop into a number two receiver at the next level. His size, hands and football intelligence makes him good value in the second round.
Full Name: Dexter Jackson School: Appalachian State Pos: WR
Ht: 5-9.5 Wt: 182 40: 4.39 Year: 4Sr
Three-year starter awarded All-Conference honors the past two seasons.
Senior-year pass-catching totals included 30/688/8 with an average of 22.9
yards per reception. Junior-year receiving totals included 33/470/3 when he also
averaged 12.3 yards on 30 punt returns, two resulting in touchdowns.
Small, elusive ball-handler with the ability to break games open. Solid
pass-catcher who uses his frame to shield away defenders, shows good eye/hand
coordination, and makes the difficult reception running full speed. Easily adjusts
to the errant throw, makes the reception in stride, and consistently catches the
ball with his hands. Quick, immediately gets up to top speed, and has a second
gear. Runs sharp routes and quickly exits breaks. Displays a willingness to go up
in a crowd for the difficult reception. Productive punt returner with good vision.
Undersized, will struggle getting off jams at the next level and lose battles.
Marginally productive in college.
Jackson has shown himself to be a home run threat as a receiver and return
specialist the past three years. He stood out and performed well against top
competition at the Senior Bowl and the combine. Jackson is watching his draft
stock move north and he could end up in round three.
Full Name: Mario Manningham School: Michigan Pos: WR
Ht: 5-11. Wt: 181 40: 4.55 Year: 3Jr
Two-year starter awarded varying degrees of All-Conference and All-American
honors since his freshman campaign. Led the team in receiving as a junior when
he posted 72/1174/12 after 38/703/9 as a sophomore.
Productive receiver who showed himself to be a vertical threat at Michigan. Quick-footed, gets behind the secondary, and nicely makes the reception in stride when running full speed. Makes the difficult over-the-shoulder catch, uses his frame to shield away defenders, and adjusts to the throw. Displays a sense of timing and anticipation. Extends to make the catch away from his frame. Elusive running after the reception.
Drops some catchable throws and at times looks as though he's fighting the ball.
Loses out in battles. Ran poorly at the combine.
Manningham is a well-sized receiver with ability who made the big play in college.
His draft stock is plummeting, due in part to his poor workouts since February.
He must improve the details of his game, yet he has the ability to be a productive
second receiver in the NFL.
Full Name: Fred Davis School: USC Pos: TE
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 255 40: 4.79 Year: 4Sr
Full-time starter the past three seasons who led USC in receptions as a senior with 62/881/8. Junior-year totals included 38/352/3. All-Conference selection last season.
Pass-catching tight end with natural receiving skills. Fluid releasing off the line,
sells routes, and adjusts to the errant throw. Gets vertical to high-point the pass,
uses his frame to shield away defenders, and possesses soft hands. Makes the
tough reception over the middle, looks the ball in, and displays good
concentration. Plays faster than his 40 time and creates mismatches in the
secondary. Easily makes the reception in stride and looks like a big receiver on
the field. Blocks with good pad level and stays with the action.
Marginal football strength and gets average results blocking.
Davis improved almost every aspect of his game last season and is poised to be
one of the top tight ends in this draft. He has starting potential at the next level
and could be used in a variety of systems.
Full Name: Kellen Davis School: Michigan State Pos: TE
Ht: 6-6.5 Wt: 262 40: 4.62 Year: 4Sr
Posted career-high numbers of 32/513/6 as a senior when he became a full-time starter. Occasionally lined up at defensive end and totaled two and a half sacks and two tackles for a loss. Used sparingly with the first team the previous two years.
Large, athletic tight end who may finally be hitting his stride. Runs well for a big
man, adjusts to the errant throw, and plays with excellent body control. Shows
natural skills catching the ball and extends to make the reception away from his
frame. Blocks with good pad level, stays square, and strong at the point of attack.
Does not play to his 40 time or show the ability to create mismatches in the
secondary. Average blocker who really does not dominate the opposition.
Underachiever the past two years.
Davis is a prospect with terrific upside and the potential to be a number one tight
end at the next level. He must continue to show improvement in all areas of his
game, but the arrow is pointing north for him.
Full Name: Martellus Bennett School: Texas A&M Pos: TE
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 259 40: 4.71 Year: 3Jr
Two-year starter who also saw action with the first team as a freshman. Awarded
varying degrees of All-Conference and All-American honors the past three years.
Led the Aggies in receiving last year with 49/587/4 after he tied for the team
lead as a sophomore with 38/497/3.
Large, athletic tight end who displays natural skills catching the ball. Uses his frame to shield away defenders, adjusts to the errant throw, and makes the reception with his hands. Strong, takes a pounding, and holds onto the ball. Turns defenders off the ball and uses body positioning to seal them from the action.
Marginal playing speed and quickness. Not a tight end who creates mismatches
in the secondary.
Bennett is a large pass-catching target who plays with good fundamentals. He
offers the ability to be a number one tight end if he learns to play to his 40 time,
completes his game, and smoothes out the rough edges.
Full Name: Dustin Keller School: Purdue Pos: TE
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 242 40: 4.63 Year: 5Sr
Two-year starter who began his career at wide receiver. Senior-year totals
included 68/881/7 after 56/771/4 the previous year.
Athletic pass-catching tight end with natural receiving skills. Breaks down well
playing with good pad level, fluid moving about the field, and makes the reception
in stride. Looks the ball into his hands. Adjusts to the errant throw, pulls the
fastball from the air, and extends to make the reception away from his frame.
Effectively makes body-catches when necessary. Gives effort as a blocker.
Marginally strong and rarely gets movement from blocks, even against opposing
linebackers. Not a sturdy pass-catcher. Loses concentration on occasion.
Keller has been an outstanding pass-catcher in Purdue's offense and projects well
at the next level. He must improve his blocking, yet he should be a good fit in a
west coast offense or as a move tight end.
Full Name: Brad Cottam School: Tennessee Pos: TE
Ht: 6-7.5 Wt: 270 40: 4.74 Year: 5Sr
Part time starter the past two seasons totaling 5/125/1 as a senior when he
missed nine games with a wrist injury. Junior totals included 14/182.
All-Academic during his time at Tennessee.
Large and athletic tight end with an unpolished game. Fluid releasing into routes,
adjusts to the errant throw and makes the reception in stride. Moves well about
the field, runs above average routes and uses his frame protect the pass.
Catches the ball well and a solid intermediate range target. Strong at the point
and handles opposing defensive lineman as an in-line blocker.
Does not play to his timed speed or show the ability to get downfield. Stiff and
tight as a blocker which hurts his ability to finish off defenders.
Cottam offers rare measurables and a tremendous amount of upside potential. An
intelligent prospect, he has been commended by the coaches at Tennessee for
his work ethic. Cottam offers potential as a number one tight end at the next level
if he remains healthy and takes his game to another level.
Full Name: Craig Stevens School: California Pos: TE
Ht: 6-3.5 Wt: 254 40: 460 Year: 5Sr
Three-year starter who totaled 17/204/3 as a senior after 17/239/1 previous year.
Nice-sized blocking tight end who competes hard. Blocks with excellent pad level
and makes good use of angles and body positioning. Aggressive in all aspects of
the game. Stays square, gets movement from run-blocks, and holds the point in
pass protection. Nicely adjusts and shields defenders away from the action with
his frame. Keeps his head on a swivel and shows good concentration.
Average receiving tight end with marginal hands. Fights the ball and does not
play to his 40 time.
Stevens is a terrific blocking tight end with good size and growth potential. He
times well in the 40 and should he ever learn to play to his speed and complete
his game as a pass-catcher he could be productive at the next level.
Full Name: John Carlson School: Notre Dame Pos: TE
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 251 40: 4.88 Year: 5Sr
Former fullback who started the past three seasons at tight end. Senior-year
totals included 40/372/3 after career-high numbers of 47/634/4 as a junior.
Hard-working tight end who does the little things well. Fluid releasing into routes,
displays good eye/hand coordination, and makes the difficult reception in a crowd.
Smart, aware pass-catcher who comes back into the clearing of the defense and
remains focused throughout the action. Uses his frame to shield away opponents
and displays reliable hands. Gives effort blocking, showing footwork and the
ability to slide laterally in pass protection.
Possesses marginal speed and does not make plays deep in the secondary.
Bends at the waist and shows limited strength as a blocker.
Carlson is a high-effort prospect with good intangibles. Solid in many aspects of
the game, he projects as a number two tight end who will contribute for a team.
Full Name: Martin Rucker School: Missouri Pos: TE
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 251 40: 4.73 Year: 5Sr
Three-year starter awarded All-Conference honors the past two years. Led
Missouri in receiving as a senior with career-high numbers of 84/834/8.
Junior-year totals included 53/511/5.
Effective pass-catching tight end with a good degree of upside. Displays natural
receiving skills and adjusts to the errant throw, reaching back to grab the ball and
making the reception in stride. Effectively uses his frame to shield away
opponents and to protect the pass. Comes back to the ball, works to make
himself an available target, and effectively catches the pass with his hands.
Does not show consistent focus or concentration on the field. Marginal blocker
and lacks intensity.
Rucker possesses the physical skills to be a starting tight end in the NFL. He
must significantly improve his blocking and polish the rough edges of his game to
achieve the results he is capable of generating.
Full Name: Gary Barnidge School: Louisville Pos: TE
Ht: 6-5.5 Wt: 243 40: 4.65 Year: 4Sr
Three-year starter awarded All-Conference honors as a senior after posting
career-high numbers of 53/655/7. Junior-year totals included 31/511/4.
Athletic pass-catching tight end who plays faster than his 40 time. Quickly gets
into routes, finds the clearing in the defense, and works to make himself an
available target. Adjusts to the throw, catches the pass in stride, and shows
reliable hands. Displays good overall awareness. Flashes the ability to create
mismatches in the secondary. Gives effort blocking.
Marginally strong at the point and gets poor results as a blocker.
Barnidge has been a solid pass-catcher the past three years. He could be a fine
fit in a west coast offense.
Full Name: Jacob Tamme School: Kentucky Pos: TE
Ht: 6-3.5 Wt: 236 40: 4.58 Year: 5Sr
Former receiver who played sporadically with the first-team as a freshman before
becoming a full-time starter as a sophomore. Senior totals included 56/619/6
after 32/386/2 the prior year. All-Conference selection the past two seasons.
Athletic tight end with natural pass-catching skills. Intelligent, plays heads-up
football and consistently comes back into the clearing to make himself an
available target. Plays with good speed, creates mismatches in the secondary
and nicely adjusts to the errant throw, making a lot of acrobatic receptions. Plays
with good focus, concentration and makes the difficult catch in a crowd. Uses his
frame to shield away defenders and catches the ball with his hands.
Lacks blocking balance, strength and tossed aside by opponents.
Tamme is an exceptional pass-catcher best when put in motion. He must improve
his blocking if he’s to become a complete player at the tight end position yet his
receiving skills could keep him in the league for a long time.
Tony Pauline is the NFL Draft analyst at SI.com. His year round work on the NFL draft can be found at www.TFYDRAFT.com.