NFL combine winners and losers: Wide Receivers

NFL combine winners and losers: Wide Receivers

NFL Combine

NFL combine winners and losers: Wide Receivers

(Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)

The rookie wideouts have been mostly disappointing for the last several years and measurable characteristics can be overvalued. But speed is never a bad thing and this year witnesses more of the prototypical tall receivers. The best of 2017 was JuJu Smith-Schuster and Cooper Kupp even though five wideouts were drafted before they went 2.30 and 3.15. Like every year, there will be around 30 wide receivers drafted.

Winners

Calvin Ridley (Alabama) – He was already a top candidate and could only hurt his stock. But he didn’t. He ran a 4.43/40 and was at least average in the vertical and broad jumps. He looked best of the bunch in the receiving drills where it counts most. Smaller hands could be an issue but no scouts had their impression changed from the combine. He remains in play to be the first wideout drafted.

Antonio Callaway (Florida) – The former Gator had everything to gain in the combine after being dismissed from the team for 2017 because of alleged credit card fraud. He only played two years in college before declaring for the draft. He may have moved into Day 2 with a 4.41/40 and high marks in both the vertical (38.5″) and broad jump (10-‘1″). Callaway took responsibility for his past actions and interviewed well including saying becoming a father changed him. He had the measurables and came across as honestly matured.

Christian Kirk (Texas A&M) – Considered one of the top wideouts in the draft, the speedy ex-Aggie ran a 4.47/40 and even benched 20 reps as third best in the position. He’s on the smaller side at 5-10 and 201 pounds but scored ten times as the top receiver at A&M last year. His elite receiving skills were on display in the catch drills and he cemented his status as one of the top prospects.

D.J. Chark (LSU) – He never had big stats in college – his 40 catches for 874 yards and 12 touchdowns last year were a career-best. But Chark came to the combine already a special teams option and intriguing at 6-4.  Chark turned in a 4.34/40, had a 40″ vertical leap, 10’9″ high jump and even benched 16 reps. He’s blazingly fast and yet much taller than any cornerback. He put his name in as a Day 2 pick at worse.

Losers

Auden Tate (Florida State) – He brings a 6-5 frame to the game which some thought might get him into the first round. But he only ran a 4.68/40 and failed to impress in the drills. He was underwhelming with low marks in the vertical leap (31″) and broad jump (9’4″). He can make up some ground in a pro day but turned in what was the most disappointing showing of the wide receivers.

Jordan Lasley (UCLA) – His stock went up sharply after a junior season with 1,264 yards and nine scores. But he was already tagged with inconsistent play and occasionally failing to snag catchable balls. He did nothing to counter that perspective in the drills with less than crisp route running and bobbles and drops.

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