2015 NFL Scouting Combine: Wide receivers, tight ends to watch

Print

Prospects to watch at combine: LB | DL | OL | WR/TE | RB | QB


The NFL Scouting Combine is Feb. 17-23 in Indianapolis, and it brings together 323 of the nation's most draftable players and numerous front-office representatives and scouts from each NFL team.


» Prospects with most to prove at scouting combine


A big portion of the combine is the individual events, such as the 40-yard dash, the bench press and the vertical jump.

NFL Scouting Combine


Combine coverage:
Video:
Photos:

This is part three of our position-by-position look at the combine, spotlighting wide receivers and tight ends. We look at six players at each position who will be scrutinized this year and also look at some noteworthy event performances in the last five combines. We'll also look at how some current NFL players performed in their combine events.

Wide receivers: Six to watch

Sammie Coates, Auburn: He is big (6-foot-2, 213 pounds), fast (he has been clocked at under 4.4 in the 40) and athletic (his vertical jump once was measured at 44 inches), and should test off the charts at the combine. So what's the problem? His hands are inconsistent, and a receiver with inconsistent hands is problematic no matter how fast or athletic. As NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein puts it, "He has early-round traits and late-round receiving skills right now." Still, expect scouts to be awed by the numbers Coates puts up in the event portion of the combine. Chances are, those numbers will be impressive enough that more than a few teams will be willing to overlook his inconsistencies.

Amari Cooper, Alabama: He will be the first receiver taken in the draft, right? Not necessarily. NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks has Cooper as the top receiver, but fellow analyst Daniel Jeremiah has Cooper No. 2, behind West Virginia's Kevin White. While their combine performances won't necessarily settle the debate, it will be interesting to compare. Cooper's 40 time will be especially interesting.


» Brooks: Cooper will be even better in NFL


Phillip Dorsett, Miami: Dorsett's 40 time might end up being the fastest at the combine. Jeremiah called him "probably ... the fastest player in this entire draft class" during Senior Bowl week. Still, as fast as he is, he never was a dominant college receiver, finishing with 121 career catches, albeit at 17.6 yards per catch and with 21 TDs; Amari Cooper had 124 catches this season alone. Dorsett was a teammate at powerhouse Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas with Florida State's Rashad Greene, a far more polished receiver who also will be one to watch at the combine. Still, expect Dorsett to excite scouts in the 40 and other drills.

Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma: He was the nation's consensus No. 1 recruit in the 2012 class and has a ton of talent. He also has had a ton of off-field issues and didn't play a down of football in 2014 after he was dismissed from Missouri last spring and ended up at Oklahoma. Green-Beckham is a big guy (6-6, 225) who can run. But how fast will he run at the combine? Zierlein says Green-Beckham's 40 will be scrutinized: "He needs to meet high expectations for his workout. If he doesn't run a really good 40-yard dash, I think that's going to hurt him."


» Jeremiah: Parker worthy of top-15 draft pick


DeVante Parker, Louisville: Here's the dark-horse candidate to be the first receiver off the board. He had 43 receptions for 855 yards (19.8 yards per catch) this season despite missing six games with a foot injury; he absolutely torched FSU's mega-talented secondary in a narrow loss, finishing with eight catches for 214 yards (27 yards per catch). He is a big guy (6-3, 211) with an 80-inch wing span whose athleticism is off the charts: vertical jump of 36.5 inches, broad jump of 10-10, a squat of 455 pounds, a bench press of 335 pounds. But he didn't seem quite as explosive when he returned from his foot injury, and his 40 time will be important.

Kevin White, West Virginia: He definitely is in the mix to be the first receiver off the board, which would continue his meteoric rise from complementary receiver in 2013 to go-to stud in 2014. He had 109 receptions for 1,447 yards (13.3 per catch) and 10 TDs this past season after a 35-catch season in '13, which was his first for WVU after transferring in from a junior college. He, too, has good size (6-3, 210), but his perceived lack of top-end speed has been noticed. "His 40 time could define his draft stock," Zierlein wrote. His hands were like glue in 2014, and that obviously is a big positive.

Wide receivers: Combine bests over last five years

College Football 24/7 Hot Topics:

40-YARD DASH

1. Marquis Goodwin, Texas
Time: 4.27 in 2013
Draft status: 3rd round, Buffalo

2. Jacoby Ford, Clemson
Time: 4.28 in 2010
Draft status: 4th round, Oakland

3. Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
Time: 4.33 in 2014
Draft status: 1st round (20th overall), New Orleans

4t. John Brown, Pittsburg (Kan.) State
Time: 4.34 in 2014
Draft status: 3rd round, Arizona Cardinals

4t. Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Time: 4.34 in 2013
Draft status: 1st round (8th overall), St. Louis Rams

4t. Ryan Swope, Texas A&M
Time: 4.34 in 2013
Draft status: 6th round, Arizona Cardinals

Notable players
Anquan Boldin, Florida State: 4.72 seconds in 2003
Antonio Brown, Central Michigan: 4.56 seconds in 2010
DeSean Jackson, California: 4.35 seconds in 2008
Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech: 4.35 seconds in 2007
Julio Jones, Alabama: 4.39 seconds in 2011

VERTICAL JUMP

1. Kashif Moore, Connecticut
Jump: 43.5 inches in 2012
Draft status: Undrafted

2. Jonathan Baldwin, Pitt
Jump: 42 inches in 2011
Draft status: 1st round (26th overall), Kansas City Chiefs

3. Scott Long, Louisville
Jump: 41.5 inches in 2010
Draft status: Undrafted

4t. Tevin Reese, Baylor
Jump: 41.0 inches in 2014
Draft status: 7th round, San Diego Chargers

4t. Jerrell Jackson, Missouri
Jump: 41.0 inches in 2012
Draft status: Undrafted

In a weekly series, draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah polls five NFL personnel executives about college football's top prospects.

4t. Torrey Smith, Maryland
Jump: 41.0 inches in 2011
Draft status: 2nd round, Baltimore Ravens

4t. Terrance Turner, Indiana
Jump: 41.0 inches in 2011
Draft status: Undrafted

4t. Donald Jones, Youngstown State
Jump: 41.0 inches in 2010
Draft status: Undrafted

Notable players
Pierre Garcon, Mount Union: 36.5 inches in 2008
Vincent Jackson, Northern Colorado: 39.0 inches in 2005
Andre Johnson, Miami: 39.0 inches in 2003
Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech: Did not jump in 2007
Brandon Marshall, UCF: 37.0 inches in 2006

20-YARD SHUTTLE

1. Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
Time: 3.81 seconds in 2014
Draft status: 1st round (20th overall), New Orleans

2. Austin Pettis, Boise State
Time: 3.88 seconds in 2011
Draft status: 3rd round, St. Louis

3. Damian Copeland, Louisville
Time: 3.90 seconds in 2014
Draft status: Undrafted

4t. Odell Beckham Jr., LSU
Time: 3.94 seconds in 2014
Draft status: 1st round (12th overall), New York Giants

4t. Isaiah Burse, Fresno State
Time: 3.94 seconds in 2014
Draft status: Undrafted

4t. Jeff Maehl, Oregon
Time: 3.94 seconds in 2011
Draft status: Undrafted

Notable players
Antonio Brown, Central Michigan: 4.18 seconds in 2010
A.J. Green, Georgia: 4.21 seconds in 2011
James Jones, San Jose State: 4.20 seconds in 2007
Julio Jones, Alabama: 4.25 seconds in 2011
Emmanuel Sanders, SMU: 4.10 seconds in 2010

3-CONE DRILL

1. Jeff Maehl, Oregon
Time: 6.42 seconds in 2011
Draft status: Undrafted

2. Scott Long, Louisville
Time: 6.45 seconds in 2010
Draft status: Undrafted

3. Dane Sanzenbacher, Ohio State
Time: 6.46 seconds in 2011
Draft status: Undrafted

4. Terrence Toliver, LSU
Time: 6.48 seconds in 2011
Draft status: Undrafted

NFL Now delivers a non-stop video stream highlighting the next generation of NFL talent in preparation for the 2015 NFL Draft. Start using it now!

5. Cecil Shorts, Mount Union
Time: 6.50 seconds in 2011
Draft status: 4th round, Jacksonville

Notable players
Odell Beckham Jr., LSU: 6.69 seconds in 2014
Anquan Boldin, Florida State: 7.35 seconds in 2003
A.J. Green, Georgia: 6.91 seconds in 2011
Julio Jones, Alabama: 6.66 seconds in 2011
Jordy Nelson, Kansas State: 7.03 seconds in 2008

BROAD JUMP

1. Justin Hunter, Tennessee
Numbers: 11 feet, 4 inches in 2013
Draft status: 2nd round, Tennessee

2. Julio Jones, Alabama
Numbers: 11 feet, 3 inches in 2011
Draft status: 1st round (6th overall), Atlanta

3. Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
Numbers: 11 feet, 1 inch in 2012
Draft status: 2nd round, New York Jets

4t. Donte Moncrief, Mississippi
Numbers: 11 feet in 2014
Draft status: 3rd round, Indianapolis

4t. Tevin Reese, Baylor
Numbers: 11 feet in 2014
Draft status: 7th round, San Diego

4t. Marquise Goodwin, Texas
Numbers: 11 feet in 2013
Draft status: 3rd round, Buffalo

4t. Da'Rick Rogers, Tennessee
Numbers: 11 feet in 2013
Draft status: Undrafted

Notable players
Michael Floyd, Notre Dame: 10 feet, 2 inches in 2012
A.J. Green, Georgia: 10 feet, 5 inches in 2011
Brandon Marshall, UCF: 10 feet in 2006
Mike Wallace, Mississippi: 10 feet, 9 inches in 2007
Sammy Watkins, Clemson: 10 feet, 6 inches in 2014

BENCH PRESS

1. Greg Little, North Carolina
Numbers: 27 reps in 2011
Draft status: 2nd round, Cleveland

2. T.J. Moe, Missouri
Numbers: 26 reps in 2013
Draft status: Undrafted

3. Niles Paul, Nebraska
Numbers: 24 reps in 2011
Draft status: 5th round, Washington

4. Cody Latimer, Indiana
Numbers: 23 reps in 2014
Draft status: 2nd round, Denver

5t. Josh Boyce, TCU
Numbers: 22 reps in 2013
Draft status: 4th round, New England

5t. Jerrell Jackson, Missouri
Numbers: 22 reps in 2012
Draft status: Undrafted

5t. Marvin Jones, California
Numbers: 22 reps in 2012
Draft status: 5th round, Cincinnati

Notable players
Brandin Cooks, Oregon State: 16 reps in 2014
A.J. Green, Georgia: 18 reps in 2011
Percy Harvin, Florida: 19 reps in 2009
Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech: Did not lift in 2007
Golden Tate, Notre Dame: 17 reps in 2010

Tight ends: Six to watch

Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State: If Heurman is healthy, he should surprise folks with his athleticism. He was underutilized as a receiver in the Buckeyes' offense, finishing his career with just 52 catches. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Heuerman clock in the high 4.7s in the 40, and he also should test well in the other events. A strong combine could mean he ends up being a second-day pick.

Jesse James, Penn State: James surprised a lot of folks by declaring for the draft, but given the relative paucity of talent at the position, he might have made a good call. He is huge (6-7, 254) and was an important part of Penn State's passing attack this season (38 receptions, 396 yards, three TDs). He has been dinged for a perceived lack of athleticism, so he will be looking to do well in the combine events. Penn State produced a ton of tight ends in the 1990s, but James is seeking to become just the third Nittany Lions' player at the position to be selected in the past 11 drafts.

Ben Koyack, Notre Dame: Koyack struggled at times during Senior Bowl week, and his college production (just 44 career catches) certainly didn't match his hype. That said, he's a guy who could blossom as a pro and far outpace his college production. How athletic is he compared to the other tight ends? That's a question he needs to start answering at the combine.

Jean Sifrin, Massachusetts: His age, 27, is a negative, as is the fact that he played just one season of FBS football (and it came at a MAC school). He quit school as a high school senior to work, earned his GED, then eventually got an itch to play football again. He played at two junior colleges, then had a solid 2014 season at UMass (41 receptions, 15.5 yards per catch, six TDs). He has excellent size (6-7, 250) and is a good athlete who should test well. He is raw but looks to have a big upside. One concern: Can he reach that upside before he turns 30?

Clive Walford, Miami: NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock calls Walford "the most explosive tight end in this year's draft." He definitely is a receiver-first tight end, and while his blocking needs a bit of work, his skills as a pass catcher make him a good fit in today's NFL. He looks to have the versatility and speed to be a threat to be used all over a formation. He can further show that with his combine workouts. (Walford is part of College Football 24/7's "Path to the Draft" series.)

Maxx Williams, Minnesota: Williams was a third-year sophomore who declared for the draft, and he could end up as the first tight end off the board. He played in a run-heavy scheme at Minnesota but still had 51 receptions in his two seasons, including 36 (for eight TDs) in 2014. While he did a lot of blocking for the Golden Gophers, his receiving skills are what stand out to NFL scouts. He made a couple of highlight-reel catches for Minnesota this season, and chances are, he will be impressive in his combine workouts. His dad, Brian, is a former longtime NFL offensive lineman.

Tight ends: Combine bests over last five years

40-YARD DASH

1. Dorin Dickerson, Pitt
Time: 4.40 in 2010
Draft status: 7th round, Houston

2. James Hanna, Oklahoma
Time: 4.49 in 2012
Draft status: 6th round, Dallas

3t. A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State
Time: 4.50 in 2014
Draft status: Undrafted

3t. Chris Gragg, Arkansas
Time: 4.50 in 2013
Draft status: 7th round, Buffalo

5. Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette
Time: 4.53 in 2012
Draft status: 4th round, San Diego

Notable players
Vernon Davis, Maryland: 4.38 seconds in 2006
Jimmy Graham, Miami: 4.56 seconds in 2010
Rob Gronkowski, Arizona: Did not run at 2010 combine
Greg Olsen, Miami: 4.51 seconds in 2007
Julius Thomas, Portland State: 4.64 seconds in 2011

VERTICAL JUMP

1. Dorin Dickerson, Pitt
Jump: 43.5 inches in 2010
Draft status: 7th round, Houston

2. Virgil Green, Nevada
Jump: 42.5 inches in 2011
Draft status: 7th round, Denver

3. Clay Harbor, Missouri State
Jump: 40.0 inches in 2010
Draft status: 4th round, Philadelphia

4. Colt Lyerla, Oregon
Jump: 39.0 inches in 2014
Draft status: Undrafted

5. Jimmy Graham, Miami
Jump: 38.5 inches in 2010
Draft status: 3rd round, New Orleans

Notable players
Dallas Clark, Iowa: 37.5 inches in 2003
Vernon Davis, Maryland: 42 inches in 2006
Eric Ebron, North Carolina: 32 inches in 2014
Julius Thomas, Portland State: 35.5 inches in 2011
Jason Witten, Tennessee: 31 inches in 2003

BROAD JUMP

1. Michael Egnew, Missouri
Numbers: 10 feet, 11 inches in 2012
Draft status: 3rd round, Miami

2. Virgil Green, Nevada
Numbers: 10 feet, 10 inches in 2011
Draft status: 7th round, Denver

3t. A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State
Numbers: 10 feet, 8 inches in 2014
Draft status: Undrafted

3t. Colt Lyerla, Oregon
Numbers: 10 feet, 8 inches in 2014
Draft status: Undrafted

5. Dorin Dickerson, Pitt
Numbers: 10 feet, 5 inches in 2010
Draft status: 7th round, Houston

Notable players
Jordan Cameron, USC: 9 feet, 11 inches in 2011
Vernon Davis, Maryland: 10 feet, 8 inches in 2006
Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame: 9 feet, 11 inches in 2013
Jimmy Graham, Miami: 10 feet in 2010
Greg Olsen, Miami: 9 feet, 6 inches in 2007

BENCH PRESS

1t. Joe Don Duncan, Dixie State
Numbers: 35 reps in 2014
Draft status: Undrafted

1t. Orson Charles, Georgia
Numbers: 35 reps in 2012
Draft status: 4th round, Cincinnati

3. Vance McDonald, Rice
Numbers: 31 reps in 2013
Draft status: 2nd round, San Francisco

4. Clay Harbor, Missoui State
Numbers: 30 reps in 2010
Draft status: 4th round, Philadelphia

5t. Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
Numbers: 28 reps in 2014
Draft status: 2nd round, New York Jets

5t. Arthur Lynch, Georgia
Numbers: 28 reps in 2014
Draft status: 5th round, Miami

Notable players
Vernon Davis, Maryland: 33 reps in 2006
Eric Ebron, North Carolina: 24 reps in 2014
Jimmy Graham, Miami: Did not lift in 2010
Rob Gronkowski, Arizona: 23 reps in 2010
Jason Witten, Tennessee: 25 reps in 2003

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

Print

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop