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2015 NFL Draft: Depth, talent evident in WR class


The Sports Xchange

2015 NFL Draft: Shocking talent, depth in wide receivers

By Frank Cooney

While debate and even concern rages over quarterbacks in the 2015 NFL Draft, there is little argument that this year’s class of wide receivers is stocked with a shocking amount of talent.

Led by Alabama’s elusive Amari Cooper and West Virginia’s explosive Kevin White — or vice versa — there could be as many as seven wide receivers featured in the first round of the draft April 30 in Chicago.

And 13 wide receivers are worthy of consideration in the first two rounds, according to rating by

This glut of tall, talented pass catchers follows an impressive infusion of rookie receivers from a 2014 draft, when Buffalo moved into the top 10 to take Clemson’s Sammy Watkins at No. 4 overall. Then Tampa Bay grabbed Texas A&M’s Mike Evans No. 7 and the New York Giants named LSU’s Odell Beckham junior No. 12 as five receivers were taken in the first round and five more in the second.

This year’s receivers might do even better, starting with the top five prospects averaging 6-foot-2 1/2 inches and about 217 pounds and an entire group with speed to rival Olympic teams from some countries.

These receivers aren’t without controversy, such as whether Cooper or White is better, or if Dorial Geen-Beckham, rated at No. 4 despite an insane combination of size and talent, can get his off-field act together after being kicked out of Oklahoma.

Here is a closer look at the top defensive backs in the NFL’s 2015 draft (position rating/overall rating. Player, college, height, weight, 40-yard time, projected round. *=underclassman):

(Data legend: 40-yard time listed on each player’s initial line is best Indianapolis combine time, whether by hand held or electronic method.In “Measuring up” segments, Four-digits for height = first digit is feet, next two are inches and last digit is eighths of an inch. Weight is in pounds. Arm, hand and wingspan are in inches. Combine times (40, 20, 10) are those that are announced, usually the best electronic time. VJ=vertical jump, result in inches; BJ=broad jump, results in feet-inches; SS=short shuttle, result in seconds; 3C=3cone, result in seconds; BP=bench press, results are repetitions with 225 pounds.)

1/5. *Amari Cooper, Alabama, 6-1, 211, 4.31, 1

–Too clever to cover: Not as big or fast as some prospects, Cooper is consistently productive because he is just too clever to cover, best evidenced by a startling ability to separate himself from frustrated, would-be defenders. His formula for disappearing from defensive backs includes rare balance, intuition and precise cuts punctuated by an explosive, see-you later move. His dazzling talent became nationally-known after his 2011 high school season in the Under Amour All-America game when he scored on a 75-yard touchdown catch and a 93-yard punt return. In 2012, his 59 catches for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns erased Julio Jones’ freshman records. In 2013 he was slowed by injuries and defenses keyed to stop him. But last season a healthy Cooper set school and SEC records with 124 receptions and placed No. 2 in SEC history with 1,727 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns. While statistics aren’t always an accurate gauge, in Cooper’s case they are. Some scouts liken his play to Marvin Harrison, the prolific former Indianapolis Colts receiver and two time finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

–Measuring up: Ht, wt: 6007, 211; Arm: 31 1/2 inches; Hand: 10 inches; Wingspan: 76 1/4 inches. Combine — 40-YD: 4.42 seconds; 10-YD: 1.61; 20-YD: 2.63; VJ: 33 inches; BJ: 10 feet; SS: 3.98; 3C: 6.71. No bench, shoulder injury. Pro day — VJ: 34 inches.

–Notable quote: “I think I can be more consistent in everything that I do. There were definitely times when I didn’t look the ball all the way through when I should’ve. . . . There were definitely times when I could’ve high-pointed the ball, and again could’ve made my numbers look better. Just consistency in everything that I do. — Cooper at combine when asked what he could improve.

–Frankly: A future star for some NFL team. Cooper’s outrageous talent withstood the test of time and constant defensive attention in the best college conference. He caught 253 passes for 3,401 yards and 25 touchdowns over the past two years, serious stats not to be ignored.

2/7. Kevin White, West Virginia, 6-3, 215, 4.27, 1

–Leap of faith: After two years in Lackawanna (Pa.) to improve his grades and only 35 catches for Virginia in 2013, White literally leaped to the front of a talented class of receivers last season, catching 109 passes for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns. His most conspicuous talent is an ability to control his large body (6-foot-2 5/8ths inches, 215 pounds) to out-jump defenders, then high-point and aggressively attack the ball with sure hands. He runs so smoothly that his speed was questioned until he registered a fast time in 40 yards at the Indianapolis combine of 4.27 seconds (best hand held time), or even the 4.37-second electronic time that was announced. Now that we know he has real speed, White must learn how to vary it to help create separation while running routes more complicated than his good-bye move straight up the field. Scouts were disappointed when he opted out of the Senior Bowl because they wanted to see him challenged by top defensive backs. White did not encounter much press coverage in college and relied on his ability to out-jump defenders regardless of how close they were.

–Measuring up: Ht, wt: 6025, 215; Arm: 32 5/8; Hand: 09 1/4; Wingspan: 78 7/8. Combine — 40-YD: 4.35; 10-YD: 1.53; 20-YD: 2.54; BP: 23; VJ: 36 1/2; BJ: 10-3; SS: 4.14; 3C: 6.92; LS: 11.52. Pro day — Position drills only

–Notable quotes: “The aggression, whether it’s blocking, a lot of talk trash, just being confident in myself. I love the game, so this is what I love to do.” — White at combine when asked why he improved suddenly in 2014 season.

“I won’t disclose that information. I tell teams why. Talk to my agent if you want.” — White’s cryptic response at combine when asked why he decided not to take part in Senior Bowl.

–Frankly: White is a big athlete who can run, jump and catch better than many receivers already in the NFL. Sure you can nit-pick something-or-other about his play, but what is the point? Think “gift horse” not Trojan Horse.

3/12. DeVante Parker, Louisville, 6-3, 209, 4.40, 1

–Daring receiver: This tall and talented pass catcher plays with swagger and dares defensive backs to challenge him. In 2013, Parker was the primary target for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and tied a school record with a dozen touchdown catches. After missing six games with a foot injury in 2014, Parker caught 43 passes for 855 yards, a gaudy average of 19.9 yards per grab and 142.5 yards per game. He lit up FSU’s supposedly talented secondary with eight catches for 214 yards. Parker’s wingspan offers a target 80 inches across with big, soft hands to finish the job. Wait, there’s more. Scouts say he is still refining his craft as a route-runner and his tough-minded approach should help jump-start his pro career. Although Parker does not explode off the line, his long-striding style makes him deceptively fast at top speed.

–Measuring up: Ht, wt: 6025, 209. Arm: 33 1/4; Hand: 09 1/4; Wingspan: 79 3/4. Combine — 40-YD: 4.45; 10-YD: 1.51; 20-YD: 2.61; BP: 17; VJ: 36 1/2; BJ: 10-5.

–Notable quote: “I’m a big, physical kind of player. I go up and get the ball. I go in the middle. Anywhere, I go and it.” — Parker at combine, when asked to describe his game.

–Frankly: In most drafts, Parker would be the best wide receiver. So if you can’t get Cooper or White, then Parker is a damned good consolation prize. And he would be the first one to tell you so.

4/25. *Breshad Perriman, Central Florida, 6-2, 212, 4.25, 1

— Well, son of a: Father is 10-year NFL veteran wide receiver Brett Perriman (New Orleans, Detroit mostly). Breshard showed his first good move when he chose UCF after Miami, his father’s alma mater, displayed only tepid interest. “My dad went there so I was a huge Miami fan,” said Breshard. “But as I got older I realized they had a lot of receivers and I was looking for the best opportunity to play my first year.” And play he did, opting for the draft after his junior year and a total of 115 catches for 2,243 yards — a gaudy 19.5 yards per catch — and 16 touchdowns. It is notable that the 2014 season was his best, after quarterback Blake Bortles graduated in the first round of last year’s draft to the NFL (Jacksonville). Perriman continues to show improvement as he learns to harness his rare combination of size (6-foot-2 inches, 212 pounds) and speed (his 4.25 hand-held time in pro day would have been second best among wide receivers at combine). In 2013, Perriman was taken from the field on a stretcher and sat out the following game with a concussion. But he has passed all physicals, and most defensive backs, since. Breshad’s close relationship to dad — who had 6,589 yards receiving in the NFL — continues to be an asset.

–Measuring up: Ht, wt: 6020, 212; Arm: 32; Hand: 09 1/4; Wingspan: 79 3/8. No combine, hamstring injury. March 25 Pro day — 40-YD: 4.25; 10-YD: 1.50; 20-YD 2.57; BP: 18; VJ: 36 1/2; BJ: 10-7.

–Notable quote: “As a big receiver you have to go up and get the ball at its highest point, you have to be able to wall off defenders, you have to be able to block and you have to be able to also kind of shrink your mentality as a smaller receiver as well.” — Perriman at combine, when asked how being a big receiver benefits him.

–Frankly: Perriman is a big, fast, strong receiver with a great attitude who seems to be just getting the grasp of things, which should be a scary thought for all NFL defensive backs under 6-feet tall or slower than 4.25 seconds in 40 yards. Excellent pick with upside.

5/34. *Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri/Oklahoma, 6-5, 237, 4.43, 1-2

–Own worst enemy: Make no mistake, it is his own fault that Green-Beckham’s roller-coaster life is in its current precarious position. Born in St. Louis as Dorial Green, the third of six children from his single mother, Charmelle Green, he never knew his biological father. After several foster homes, Green spent three years with John Beckham, a football coach at Hillcrest High (Springfield, Mo.), and his wife Tracy. In 2009, the Beckhams officially adopted Dorial along with younger brother Darnell (who is being treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, reportedly in remission). Dorial flourished in football as a two-time USA Today prep All-America and USA Today Player of the Year after a mind-boggling senior season — 119 receptions, 2,233 yards, 24 touchdowns. At Missouri, his size, speed and production warranted a top-10 NFL draft pick. But two arrests for possession of marijuana and an accusation last April of pushing a female down some stairs led to his release from Missouri. With an NCAA investigation pending, Green-Beckham transferred to Oklahoma, but never played there. He entered the draft where NFL teams must now reconcile his abilities against the league’s increasing diligence against abhorrent off-field behavior, especially domestic violence.

–Measuring up: Ht, wt: 6051, 237; Arm: 32 1/2; Hand: 09; Wingspan: 79 3/4. Combine — 40-YD: 4.49; 10-YD: 1.60; 20-YD: 2.66; BP: 13; VJ: 33 1/2; BJ: 09-11; SS: 4.45; 3C: 6.89; LS: 11.89. March 11 pro day — VJ: 33; BJ: 10 fee; SS: 4.36.

–Notable quote: “It’s very tough for me. It’s tough for me to stand up here and be able to speak in front of all you guys because I haven’t spoken in the past year. It’s very tough for me to just take that chance I had last year to sit out and not speak and be able to focus on the things that I needed to focus on off the field.” — Green-Beckham at combine, when asked about the scrutiny by NFL teams after his off-field issues.

–Frankly: Green-Beckham is one of several outstanding receivers in this draft, which is part of the thought process here. He is a remarkable physical specimen, but an NFL team should weigh the risk/reward factor before offering Green-Beckham a big paycheck in a league intent on dolling out punishment at the hint of an impropriety. Meanwhile, here is a sincere hope for the best for Green-Beckham and his future employer.

6/37. Phillip Dorsett, Miami (FL), 5-10, 185, 4.28, 1-2

–Fast and furious: A buffed but small receiver with blur speed who works hard all week and earns respect from teammates and coaches and bragging rights on game day, which he exercises freely. Dorsett leaves Miami after full four-year career — minus five games with MCL tear in 2013 — and a total of 121 catches for 2,132 yards (17.6 yards per catch) and 27 touchdowns. He also injured his shoulder and had quad issues. Because he is short with tightly-wound twitch muscles, durability will always be a concern. When healthy, Dorsett can take the top off of any defense in any league, but he totally relies on speed and is not a nifty underneath receiver. Well, unless he is sprinting all the way across on a shallow route, which would be hell to pay for a defender stuck in man coverage.

–Measuring up: Ht, wt: 5096, 185; Arm: 30 1/4; Hand: 09 3/8; Wingspan: 74 3/4. Combine — 40-YD: 4.33; 10-YD: 1.54; 20-YD: 2.57; BP: 13; VJ: 37; BJ: 10-2; SS: 4.11; 3C: 6.70. Pro day — 40 YD: 4.28.

–Notable quote: “I improved on everything I did at the combine, so I think I had a good day,” — Dorsett at his April 1 pro day, bragging about a 40-yard, hand held time of 4.28 seconds. It was an April Fool joke on Dorsett, who didn’t realize he already ran a 4.28 hand held time in the 40 at the combine, where they announced only his 4.33 electronic time. Hey, but he at least performed at his pro day.

–Frankly: Teams will love his good-bye speed and great work ethic, but Dorsett’s NFL career will probably be as a No. 2 or 3 receiver whose speed forces a mismatch for defenses that don’t have a really fast nickel back.

7/39. *Jaelen Strong, Arizona State, 6-2, 217, 4.41, 2

–Carnivorous catcher: Aptly named, Strong is almost animalistic in how he pursues a football. He shows exceptional hand-eye coordination that maximizes his long arms and sure hands. Add to that intense focus and an ability to snag the ball regardless of its trajectory or defensive traffic and this is a receiver with mad ball skills. Academically ineligible for most colleges after high school, Strong sat out the 2011 season then grabbed footballs and attention at Pierce Junior College in 2012 (67 catches, 1,268 yards, 15 touchdowns). He improved each year at Arizona State with 75 catches, 1,122 yards, seven scores in 2013 and 82 receptions for 1,165 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Strong’s father, John Rankin, was a standout basketball player at Drexel, but died of leukemia when Jaelen was only nine, which left an emotional gap in his maturation. Strong fractured a bone in his wrist that probably will need surgery and is due for a re-check by Indianapolis medics.

–Measuring up: Ht, Wt: 6023, 217; Arm: 32 1/2; Hand: 09; Wingspan: 76 3/4. Combine — 40-YD: 4.44; 10-YD: 1.57; 20-YD: 2.59; VJ: 42; BJ: 10-3. March 6 Pro day — SS: 4.19; 3C: 7.33

–Notable quote: “I’m very, very smart when it comes to getting up on the board and recognizing coverages, recognizing hot reads and things like that. That’s something the media doesn’t know about me. You guys see what I put on film. You don’t really get the chance to talk to me about the game of football and how much I do know about football. That’s one thing I definitely will stress upon the GMs and coaches when I get a chance to meet with them.” –Strong at combine, when asked what makes him a special player.

–Frankly: It’s doubtful that a fractured wrist will impact Strong’s career, but after doctor gives the OK don’t think twice about taking him anywhere in the second round. Any later and he is a steal.

8/41. *Nelson Agholor, Southern California, 6-0, 198, 4.37, 2

–Nigerian dream: Although he was born in Nigeria where his father, Felix, was a soccer player, Agholor was already a dazzling football player as a junior at Berkeley Prep in Tampa, Fla., when he rushed for 1,440 yards, added 323 yards on returns and grabbed three interceptions. As a high-school senior, he demanded the attention of college recruiters with his dynamic play at running back (1,983 yards rushing, 28 touchdowns), wide receiver (10 catches, 117 yards, two TDs), cornerback (three interceptions) and punt returner (8 at 32 yards per). So it was hardly surprising that he was one of the most exciting receivers and returners in a career at USC that included 178 catches for 2,572 yards with 20 touchdowns and 36 punt returns for 548 yards and a school record four scores. Agholor is a fierce competitor with excellent work habits in the weight and film rooms and takes his role as a team leader seriously.

–Measuring up: Ht, wt: 6001, 198; Arm: 32 1/4; Hand: 09 1/4; Wingspan: 77 3/8. Combine — 40-YD: 4.42; 10-YD: 1.59; 20-YD: 2.59; BP: 12. March 11 pro day — VJ: 36 1/2.

–Notable quote: “It’s all about trying to score. You don’t get the ball just to convert first downs or 4 or 5 yards. When you catch the ball, you’re going to score. That’s my mentality. I’m trying to score every time I touch it.” — Agholor at the combine, citing his experience as a running back when asked how he differs from other wide receiver prospects.

–Frankly: Agholor’s fascinating footwork will serve well on run-after-catch, but probably as a No. 2 receiver on a team that can also enjoy his entertaining style on returns.

9/53. Devin Smith, Ohio State, 6-0, 196, 4.37, 2

–Showtime Smith: It is appropriate that Smith is best known by college football fans for his dramatic, one-handed catch two years ago in the season opener vs. Miami (Ohio). It was no fluke. Smith was more of a big-play threat than consistent pass catcher for the Buckeyes in his career and is one of the most dangerous vertical threats in the country. His career totaled 121 catches for 2,503 yards (an average of 20.7 yards a catch) and 30 touchdowns. But Dane Brugler of says Smith is a “frustrating prospect because he shows the striding speed to stretch the field, but (has) inconsistent tracking skills, which makes him late to adjust and leads to focus drops. Aside from go routes downfield, he is unproven as a route-runner. His speed is mostly straight-line and his lean frame looks near maxed out.” Still, his announced electronic 40 yard time of 4.42 at combine may be more misleading than the hand-held 4.37 by an official combine timer.

–Measuring up: Ht, wt: 6003, 196; Arm: 31; Hand: 09; Wingspan: 75 1/8. Combine — 40-YD: 4.53; 10-YD: 1.63; 20-YD: 2.67; VJ: 36 1/2; BJ: 10-2; SS: 4.12; 3C: 6.88. Pro day — 3C: 6.83.

–Notable quote: “Speed is obviously a key point in releasing from the line. You don’t want to spend too much time at the line, especially if you have an aggressive corner who’s trying to jam you. It’s all about using your hands to get the defender off of you and you use your speed as well. It’s very important to be physical as well as being fast.” — Smith at combine, discussing his manner of play.

–Frankly: Smith has speed to kill and if he can learn to use it consistently he will murder some defenses.

10/59. Sammie Coates, Auburn, 6-1, 212, 4.37, 2

–Speedy Sammie: Coates is gifted with a combination of size, speed and muscularity rarely packaged in one wide receiver. He uses all that to simplify the game into a footrace toward the horizon, using his goodbye speed to scorch defenses by just running straight down the field until there is only himself and the ball, assuming the quarterback can reach him. That worked great in Auburn’s run-based offense in 2013 when Coates converted 42 catches into 902 yards (21.5 per grab) and seven touchdowns. Playing on a sore knee last season he added 34 catches for 741 yards (21.8 per catch) as he continued to make football look like a simple footrace. As much as his amazing college career average of 21.4 yards per catch wows some scouts, others dismiss Coates and his big numbers because they believe he will need more than speed to succeed in the NFL.

–Measuring up: Ht, wt: 6013, 212; Arm: 33 3/8; Hand: 09 3/8; Wingspan: 78 3/4. Combine — 40-YD: 4.35; 10-YD: 1.52; 20-YD: 2.54; BP: 18; VJ: 45; BJ: 11-7; SS: 4.30; 3C: 7.06; LS: 11.65.

–Notable quote: “Me. I’m just confident in myself — to be honest, there’s a lot of great wide receivers in this class, there’s gonna be a lot of competition at the combine, I look forward to competing with those guys,” — Coates at combine when asked who was best wide receiver at Indianapolis. This was before a hyped sideshow of 40-yard run comparison between Coates and Miami wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, who won with an announced time of 4.33 seconds to Coates’ 4.35. Still, Coates had the better overall workout if that matters.

–Frankly: We agree he was a one-trick pony in college, but it was one hell of a trick — a disappearing act beyond the horizon, football in hand. Coates can be a key element in somebody’s offense with speed that demands extra attention as it renders defenses topless.

11/62. *Devin Funchess, Michigan, 6-4, 232, 4.61, 2

–Former tight end: After earning freshman All-America honors as a tight end in 2012, then winning the Big-Ten Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year Award in 2013, one might think he was made for that position. In reality, Funchess was more of a hybrid much of his sophomore year and in 2014 he moved outside full time and donned the No. 1 jersey famously worn by previous star wideouts at Michigan, including Anthony Carter and Braylon Edwards. He did the jersey proud, catching 62 passes for 733 yards and four touchdowns and finished with at least one reception in 24 straight games, tied for the ninth-longest streak in school history. Funchess uses his length and great flexibility to get to the ball. He was pushed around more than you would expect for a receiver of his size, but played most of 2014 season on bad ankle he injured in game two against Notre Dame. Funchess was obviously less effective after that injury. His leg and ankle were still bothering Funchess when he had slow times at combine (announced 4.70 in 40 yards) and he was marginally better at March 12 pro day, where he had hand-held 40 time of 4.47 seconds.

–Measuring up: Ht, wt: 6042, 232; Arm: 33 1/2; Hand: 09 3/4; Wingspan: 82 5/. Combine — 40-YD: 4.70; 10-YD: 1.66; 20-YD: 2.74; BP: 17; VJ: 38 1/2; BJ: 10-2. Pro day — 40-YD: 4.47; 10-YD: 1.62; 20-YD: 2.72; SS: 4.48; 3C: 6.98.

–Notable quote: “My size, my speed. I got sneaky speed. I get up under defenders real quick. It doesn’t look like I’m moving fast, but I cover ground.” — Funchess at combine when asked about his strengths.

–Frankly: Funchess is a matchup nightmare. He is a former high school basketball player who uses his big body to post up smaller defenders as a great possession receiver. He played with more aggression, confidence and quickness before injury in week two last year, but showed moxie playing hurt the whole season.

12/76. Rashad Greene, Florida State, 5-11, 182, 4.49, 2-3

–Reliable Rashad: Consistently productive leading receiver on team that won three ACC championships and one National title. His career totals include 270 catches for 3,830 yards and 29 touchdowns. Greene is a skinny, slinky runner who has a deceptive change of speed that he uses well to screw with defenders both before and after catch and even as returner. Greene turned down invitation to Senior Bowl to rest a banged up knee. Respected by coaches and players as a hard worker with the focus of a pro. Greene maintains close relationship with his father who was sentenced to 30-years in 2013 for possession/intent to distribute cocaine.

–Measuring up: Ht, wt: 5113, 182; Arm: 31 5/8; Hand: 09; Wingspan: 75 5/8. Combine — 40-YD: 4.53; 10-YD: 1.63; 20-YD: 2.67; VJ: 36 1/2; BJ: 10-2; SS: 4.12; 3C: 6.8. March 31 pro day — VJ: 36.

–Notable quote: “It’s very tough, you have to learn to get in and out of traffic, take hits, take on different types of linebackers and safeties. You have to learn to make your way through traffic, so you definitely have to have that toughness.” — Green at combine, discussing the challenges of playing in the slot.

–Frankly: Great addition to locker room and the field, where he has experience at every receiver position. Greene could become a pest for NFL defenses as a slot receiver as long as he holds up physically.

13/79. Tyler Lockett, Kansas State, 5-10, 182, 4.31, 2-3

–Like father, like son: Tyler’s father, Kevin Lockett, imprinted the family name at KSU in the 1990s when he caught 217 passes for 3,032 yards and 26 touchdowns for the Wildcats, all school career-records. Kevin was a second round draft pick (47th overall in 1997 to K. C. Chiefs) and played seven years in the NFL. Now Tyler holds those KSU records — 249 receptions for 3,710 yards and 29 touchdowns. While scouts are impressed by Tyler’s productivity as a shifty slot receiver and returner, his diminutive size and medical background are cause for concern. Lockett missed the final three games and bowl appearance in 2011 with a lacerated kidney against Oklahoma State and in 2013 was sidelined against Oklahoma State with a hamstring and missed the next game against Baylor. But he started all 13 games in 2014 and Big 12 coaches selected him as first team all-conference and Special Teams Player of the Year. In addition to those career record receiving stats, Lockett averaged 15.2 yards and scored two touchdowns on punt returns and 28.52 yards and four more scores on kickoff returns. Lockett was one of nine finalists for the National Football Foundation Campbell Trophy, for which he will receive an $18,000 scholarship toward post-grad school.

–Measuring up: Ht, wt: 5097, 182; Arm: 30; Hand: 08 3/8; Wingspan: 70 3/4. Combine — 40-YD: 4.40; 10-YD: 1.55; 20-YD: 2.59; VJ: 35 1/2; BJ: 10-1; SS: 4.07; 3C: 6.89; LS: 11.14.

–Notable quote: “Runs like the wind with speed to get behind the secondary on vertical patterns…sudden, decisive footwork off the snap and in his breaks to sell routes and attract holding penalties – dynamic and deliberate route runner…doesn’t slow down in his cuts, showing sharp burst to create space…deadly stop-and-go and double moves with a strong understanding of how to separate in his routes.” — analyst Dane Brugler, describing Lockett in his 2015 Draft Guide.

–Frankly: Lockett conducts himself impressively as a citizen, student and player on the field and in the locker room. d. As long as he is healthy, Lockett can add firepower as a devilish slot receiver as well as kickoff and punt returner.

14/89. Tre McBride, William & Mary, 6-0, 210, 4.39, 3

–Stepping up: Although his speed is more impressive on the clock than it appears to be on the field, McBride was consistently productive over four college seasons, totaling 303 starts in 44 games with 196 catches for 2,653 yards and 19 touchdowns. He was three-time All-CAA; former CAA Special Teams Player of the Year and 2014 All-America selection. Although he does not show explosive speed, he runs so smoothly that he lulls defenders into underestimating how much ground he is covering. For those who wonder how he will deal with the big change from FCS top NFL, consider he is a military brat who lived in seven states during his childhood.

–Measuring up: Ht, wt: 6002, 210; Arm: 32 1/8; Hand: 9; Wingspan: 77.l Combine — 40-YD: 4.41; 10-YD: 1.49; 20-YD: 2.55; BP: 16; VJ: 38; BJ: 10-2; SS: 4.08; 3C: 6.96; LS: 11.70. March 19 pro day — Looked good in position drills, but stood on his excellent combine stats.

–Notable quote: “McBride is a wide receiver who’s probably going to surprise a lot of people who aren’t draftniks. The fact that 18 teams were there to see him gives you a good hint of his abilities, and he’s also had separate workouts with six teams.” — NFL Media Sr. Analyst and former Dallas Cowboys executive Gil Brandt after McBride’s pro day.

–Frankly: In a draft full of conspicuous talent at wide receiver, McBride becomes difficult to rate by comparison, especially since he played at a lower level in college. He has potential, but may take a couple of years to pay off consistently.

15/92. Justin Hardy, East Carolina, 5-10, 192, 4.53, 3

–Rodney Dangerfield Award: Although Hardy was an excellent wide receiver as a junior in high school, his athleticism better served the team at quarterback in his senior year, which lost the interest of colleges who previously considered him. Well, except Fayetteville State, from whom he received his sole scholarship offer. Instead, Hardy walked on at East Carolina and became the most productive wide receiver in FBS history with a record 387 career catches. His 4,541 receiving yards ranks third all-time in FBS history and, finally, he won the 2014 Burlsworth Trophy, a back-handed honor that goes to the nation’s top walk-on. Hardy is a fierce competitor with huge hands that attack the ball and rarely drop it.

–Measuring up: Ht, wt: 5102, 192; Arm: 32 1/8; Hand: 10; Wingspan: 77 1/2. Combine — 40-YD: 4.56; 10-YD: 1.57; 20-YD: 2.62; BP: 11; VJ: 36 1/2; BJ: 09-6; SS: 4.21; 3C: 6.63.

–Notable quote: “It meant a lot, just having a trophy out there for guys like myself who walked on and then accomplished so much in your career, it’s a great honor. It says a lot, that you go out there and do everything and give 110 percent.” — Hardy at combine, commenting on winning the Bulsworth Trophy as the nation’s top walk-on.

–Frankly: How can you not like this guy, who doesn’t even complain about being ignored by the Belitnikoff Award panel after setting NCAA record for receptions? A lot of people will be curious to see where he goes and how he does.


16/110. Dres “Son of Flipper” Anderson, Utah, 6-1, 187, 4.53, 3-4

17/117. Dez Lewis, Central Arkansas, 6-4, 214, 4.46, 3-4

18/123. Tony Lippett, Michigan State, 6-2, 192, 4.56, 4

19/136. Chris Conley, Georgia, 6-2, 213, 4.33, 4

20/139. Kenny Bell, Nebraska, 6-1, 197, 4.37, 4-5

21/156. Jamison Crowder, Duke, 5-08, 185, 4.37, 4-5

22/160. Darren Waller, Georgia Tech, 6-6, 238, 4.43, 5

23/171. *Stefon Diggs, Maryland, 6-0, 195, 4.42, 5

24/174. Titus Davis, Central Michigan, 6-1, 196, 4.48, 5

25/180. Ty Montgomery, Stanford, 6-0, 221, 4.50, 5-6

26/188. Vince Mayle, Washington State, 6-2, 224, 4.65, 5-6

27/194. Josh Harper, Fresno State, 6-1, 191, 4.52, 5-6

28/201. Austin Hill, Arizona, 6-2, 214, 4.59, 6

29/214. Mario Alford, West Virginia, 5-08, 180, 4.27, 6

30/231. Geremy Davis, Connecticut, 6-2, 216, 4.58, 6-7

31/237. J.J. Nelson, Alabama-Birmingham, 5-10, 156, 4.21, 6-7

32/243. Jordan Taylor, Rice, 6-4, 209, 4.52, 7

33/250. Rannell Hall, Central Florida, 6-0, 198, 4.53, 7

34/255. Evan Spencer, Ohio State, 6-2, 208, 4.45, 7

–Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and, is in his 50th year covering football and is a selector for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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