Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer was an honorable-mention selection on the coaches' All-Big Ten team, but it wouldn't be a surprise if he is the first skill-position player from the conference taken in this year's draft.
Latimer worked out Friday in Indianapolis, and NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport reported that 23 teams were in attendance.
Latimer had foot surgery in January and was not able to work out at February's NFL Scouting Combine. He also was not able to do any position drills at Indiana's pro day March 26 (he did run the 40 and was able to show off his vertical jump). That he finally was able to do position drills made Friday's workout all the more important.
He definitely is a fast-riser on draft boards, to the extent that some analysts have speculated that Latimer could go late in the first round or early in the second.
When Latimer announced in early January he was turning pro, it really didn't create a stir among casual fans. Latimer had a solid season -- 72 receptions for 1,096 yards (15.2 yards per catch) and nine TDs -- for a pass-happy offense, but he also played on a 5-7 team and was the fourth-leading receiver in a league not known for high-powered passing attacks.
But his size (6-foot-2½, 215 pounds), speed (4.44 seconds in the 40) and athleticism (a 39-inch vertical jump) -- not to mention his production -- has impressed the scouts. Also impressive is that he has played just five seasons of football and obviously has a big upside. He still is learning the nuances of the position -- his route-running must improve -- but he already does a good job using his big body to his advantage.
A notable aspect of his draft is the extremely deep receiver class. As many as seven wide receivers could go in the first round, and teams likely will be able to find receivers who will be productive as receivers on the third day. Another notable aspect: Outside of Clemson's Sammy Watkins and Texas A&M's Mike Evans, almost universally acclaimed as the top two receivers, the receiver rankings are rather jumbled, and that is good for receivers such as Latimer, Fresno State's Davante Adams and Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin -- prospects whom some think will go in the first round but others think will fall to the second.
There are a number of teams picking in the 20s and later that need wide receivers -- the Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Eagles, New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers are examples. The flipside: Because the receiver class is so deep -- and productive guys can be found on the third day -- teams might be willing to bypass receivers early in favor of other positions, then circle around and grab some on the second and third days.