NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah had West Virginia's Kevin White as his No. 1 wide receiver and the No. 4 overall player going into the combine. After breaking out a 4.35 clocking in the 40 Saturday, White is more than that now.
The 4.35 "officially makes him a freak," NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock said during the NFL Network's coverage of the combine.
Jeremiah said White's 40 time also should remove any doubt among analysts: White (6-foot-2 1/2, 215 pounds) is the "clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver in this draft class."
Jeremiah compares White to Atlanta Falcons star Julio Jones, noting that when Jones came out of Alabama, there were questions about his straight-line speed, too. Jeremiah said both are physical and can do three things that every top-flight wide receiver must be able to do -- run away from people, run over people and make people miss.
Later, Jeremiah said, "I thought (White) was the best on tape ... and he was the best on the field today."
Alabama's Amari Cooper and Louisville's DeVante Parker also have been in the running for the "top receiver" moniker, and they, too, had good days. Cooper (6-0 7/8, 211) ran the 40 in 4.42 seconds and had a vertical jump of 33 inches and a broad jump of 10 feet. Parker (6-2 1/2, 209) was timed in 4.45 in the 40 and had a vertical jump of 36.5 inches and a broad jump of 10-5.
Jeremiah calls the top three receivers "three of the safest players in the draft."
A star is born
A receiver who opened a bunch of eyes was Georgia's Chris Conley, who might have been best-known before Saturday for his love of "Star Wars." Conley (6-1 7/8, 213) put on a show at the combine. He ran the 40 in 4.35 seconds, turned in a 45-inch vertical jump and a broad jump of 11 feet, 7 inches. That is the best broad jump -- by three inches -- in the past 10 combines by a receiver and the best vertical jump by 1.5 inches in that span by a receiver. "Those were some freaky numbers," Jeremiah said. Former NFL coach/current NFL Network analyst Brian Billick said those were the kinds of numbers that would send coaches scurrying back to look at more tape of Conley. Davis noted that Conley caught just a combined 81 passes in the past two seasons, "but look at the production here at the combine." Mayock called him "the workout warrior of the week so far." The bottom line: Conley was considered a fringe third-day pick by most before Saturday, but consider that changed.
'Pocket awareness' hurts Hundley
UCLA's Brett Hundley seems to be the leading contender to be the third quarterback selected in the draft. Hundley was a dual-threat guy at UCLA and turned in a 4.63 clocking in the 40. "He's not an explosive runner, but he's a smart, tough runner," Mayock said. The real criticism of Hundley comes from his work as a passer. "His pocket awareness is lacking," Mayock said. "He won't anticipate; he won't throw a guy open." Mayock has Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota as his top two quarterbacks, with both going in the first round. But "from a pure grade perspective," Mayock has zero quarterbacks in the second round. But he said he can see a quarterback or two going in the second round because of team needs. Presumably, one of those would be Hundley.
Auburn WR a 'boom-or-bust' guy
Jeremiah compared Auburn WR Sammie Coates to Terrell Owens. But he also compared him to Darrius Heyward-Bey, and thus it should be no surprise that he called Coates a "boom-or-bust candidate." Jeremiah said the comparison to Owens comes from Coates' ability to "make plays down the field." But he said the comparisons to Heyward-Bey come about because Coates can "go down the field and completely struggle tracking the ball." Coates has good size (6-1 3/8, 212) but had a disappointing 40 time Saturday, at 4.43 seconds. There was an expectation that Coates would be in the 4.3s. But Coates did impress with a 41-inch vertical jump and a broad jump of 10 feet, 9 inches.
Petty's skill set lauded
A quarterback looking to solidify his spot at the top of the second tier is Baylor's Bryce Petty, and Mayock and former NFL QB Kurt Warner had some good things to say. Warner, who served as an on-field analyst for NFL Network, praised Petty's quick release and said he has "really good feet." Mayock touted Petty's "legit arm strength." The issue with Petty, as it is with all spread quarterbacks, is how quickly he can become accustomed to throwing from the pocket. That quarterbacks frequently are overvalued in the draft could lead to Petty -- who has nice size at 6-2 7/8 and 230 -- going earlier than expected.
Billick admitted to being intrigued by WR Dorial Green-Beckham, a big guy (6-5, 237) who ran the 40-yard dash in an impressive 4.49 seconds. He also had a vertical jump of 32 inches, which combined with his height and wingspan (79 3/4 inches), gives him a gigantic catch radius. Billick said Green-Beckham has all the needed physical tools and possesses a "huge upside." But Billick also noted Green-Beckham's off-field issues and said it could be tough for some teams to draft him. "How much do you want to roll the dice?" Billick said.
USC WR impressive
USC WR Nelson Agholor ran a better-than-expected 40-yard dash, clocking 4.42 seconds. There were questions about Agholor's straight-line speed, and his 40 time might remove those from the evaluation equation. "I've got a second-round grade on him," Mayock said, calling him a "crisp route-runner" and a "natural hands catcher." Agholor probably would've tested well, too, but he suffered a dislocated finger during a receiving drill and had to shut it down for the day. Agholor (6-0 1/8, 198) had 104 receptions for 1,313 yards and 12 TDs this season; he was seventh in the nation in receptions, ninth in receiving yards and tied for seventh in TD receptions. Mayock also touted Agholor's return skills; Agholor had four punt-return TDs in his career.
Supreme route-runner faster than expected
Florida State WR Rashad Greene also had a better-than-expected 40 time, at 4.53 seconds. Greene definitely is not a blazer, but he is extremely smooth in and out of cuts and Mayock called him "one of the best route-runners in the entire draft." Greene also had solid numbers in the vertical jump (36.5 inches) and broad jump (10 feet, 2 inches). Greene might never be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL, but his skill set certainly lends itself to a good No. 2 guy. He had 175 receptions in the past two seasons.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.