The wide receiver who had the best Combine and maybe helped himself the most was Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder tied for the fastest 40 time of any wide receiver at 4.36 seconds. Hill did well running the gauntlet and showcased some strong hands. In other drills, Hill led all the wideouts with a broad jump of 11-1 and tied for fourth on the vertical jump with 39.5 inches.
Hill was underutilized by the Yellow Jackets as they favor their option running attack, but he showed some big-play ability by averaging almost 30 yards per catch in 2011. Hill was a second-day pick entering the Combine, and now could warrant consideration in the top 40.
Along with Hill, one of the most impressive wide receivers on Sunday was Notre Dame's Michael Floyd (6-3, 220). The big wideout showed some fantastic foot speed with an official 40 time of 4.47 seconds and a 10-yard split of 1.57. He did well in the receiving drills on the field as well. Floyd dropped one pass, but overall, he ran nice routes.
Floyd is generally a sure-handed receiver that combines quickness, route running and fantastic body control to get separation from defensive backs. His excellent 40 time answers one of the few doubts there are about his on-field abilities. The interviews with the NFL staff are critical for him considering his off-the-field legal problems at Notre Dame.
South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery did not run the 40-yard dash even though he is healthy. Jeffery proved he wasn't overweight at the weigh-in when he checked in at 6-foot-3, 216-pounds, but his decision not to run looks like he was ducking the 40. There were speed concerns for Jeffery, and his decision not to avoid running makes him look like he is confirming those negatives. It was a suspect, perhaps cowardly decision by Jeffery, and some in the NFL will hold it against him.
Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon (6-1, 207) did not run the 40 because of a pulled hamstring. However, Blackmon did participate in the receiving drills. He was solid, but unspectacular in the gauntlet drill. He had a dropped pass or two, but overall, he didn't hurt or help his stock.
Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright ran much slower than expected with an official 40 time of 4.61. Wright (5-10, 196) is fast on the field during the game and was a threat to score on any reception. Thus, it was surprising that he didn't challenge for one of the fastest 40 times for wideouts. Wright has a lot of good tape, and he could easily improve his 40 at his Pro Day. The Combine raises some questions about Wright, but plenty of first-round picks have had bad Combines.
Arizona's Juron Criner (6-3, 224) had a slow time at 4.68, but he wasn't expected to run a blazing 40. He looked good running the guantlet drill. The combine isn't the best environment for Criner to shine, though had the largest hands of any wide receiver in Indianapolis.
After showing some sudden speed at the Senior Bowl, N.C. State's T.J. Graham (5-11, 188) ran a fast time with a 40 in 4.41 seconds. He is a special-teams contributor who could be a slot weapon in the NFL. Graham looks like a possible rewarding pick on the third day of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Another late round wide receiver who was subtly impressive was Virginia Tech Danny Coale. He ran a 40-yard dash in 4.50 seconds and looked good in the field drills. Coale did not have big production in college, but he has the capacity to be a valuable player to have on the roster. Coale (6-0, 201) can serve as a contributor in the slot and should be an excellent special-teams weapon. He is a sleeper prospect for the final day of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Arkansas wide receiver Greg Childs had multiple drops in the pass receiving drills. He is healthy after a tough knee injury in 2010 that held him back for most of 2011. Childs ran the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds, which was a solid time for him. Childs (6-3, 219) needs a lot of work in developing his hands and route-running. He looks like a late-round pick.
Wake Forest wide receiver Chris Givens (5-11, 198) showcased special speed. He had one of the fastest 40 times at 4.41. Givens is a deep threat who looks like a potential slot receiver. His sound Combine should help him to be a second-day selection.
Rutgers wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (6-2, 211) had a slow 40 time of 4.67. Sanu is not a sprinter, but is a football player. He plays faster than that time, and while some may not knock him slightly, it shouldn't hurt him too much. He looked good in the field receiving drills, although he did drop an over-the-shoulder pass. Sanu is well built and more of a possession receiver who works the short to intermediate part of the field.
Even though he is a big receiver, it wasn't surprising that Miami's Tommy Streeter ran well at the Combine. Watching Streeter (6-5, 219) during the 2011 season, one could see that he has deep speed and is a long-strider. Streeter opened some eyes with an official time of 4.40 in the 40-yard dash. He is the tallest wide receiver at the Combine, but is extremely raw and will need to learn a lot in terms of route running in the NFL. Streeter helped confirm his second-day talent.
A receiver who helped himself at the Senior Bowl was Cal's Marvin Jones. He maintained his strong lead up to the 2012 NFL Draft at the Combine. He tied for the second-largest hands of any receiver at the Combine (10 1/4), and he showcased good ball security in the pass receiving drills. He had a strong 40 time with 4.46 seconds. Jones (6-2, 199) is a sleeper prospect who could surprise at the next level.
One of the standouts of the East-West Shrine was Illinois wide receiver A.J. Jenkins. He performed well on Sunday with a 4.39 40-yard dash. It was an impressive run for Jenkins (6-0, 190) and one of the fastest times of any wide out. He had a productive senior season to go along with his good athletic ability. Jenkins is a third-day pick with potential.
Stanford wide receiver Chris Owusu has been plagued by injuries, including concussions, over the past couple of seasons. He helped himself by tying for the fastest 40 time at 4.36 seconds, and was one of the leaders on the vertical jump at 40.5. Owusu (6-0, 196) has an injury history that will scare off a lot of teams, but at worst, he would be worth signing as an undrafted free agent.
North Carolina wide receiver Dwight Jones (6-3, 230) was the heaviest wide receiver at the Combine, and his official 40 time of 4.55 was better than his unofficial time of 4.57. He ran a terrible route during the drills and was called out by NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock. Jones had good production as a senior, but hurt himself at the Senior Bowl with a sloppy performance. He didn't really help himself at the Combine, and he is now battling to remain a second day pick.
A wide receiver who has received some hype as a first-rounder is LSU's Rueben Randle. He has a quality build at 6-foot-3, 210-pounds. Randle had a slightly disappointing 40 at 4.55. There were times when Randle struggled to get separation in 2011, and his 40 sends a signal that could still be an issue in the NFL.
Iowa's Marvin McNutt is an underrated wideout. He ran the 40 in 4.54 seconds, and that met or surpassed expectations for him. In the NFL, McNutt (6-3, 216) looks like a possession receiver who will help move the chains.
@Black&Gold Problem is that you see Eli and Cobi as solid backups. Truth is that Eli is number 2 and Cobi is our number 3. They aren't backups, but starters. So what you're saying is that we have no true number 2, but see no need in drafting a receiver? What D line depth are you thinking? DE or NT? Have you seen what LT Walton has done? Remember he's only in his second year.
@Steelr Fan 3:16 Coates was supposed to be plan B at number 2 with the uncertainty of Bryant. You make the case that he's a one trick pony and not a 50 catch per season wide-out, so does that scream out as a option for number 2? What gives you hope about Green? I hope he does end up staying on the field, but so far in his career he hasn't be able to do that. I like James, but if he goes down you trust Grimble? He can't block, and hasn't been reliable in the pass game. He did mess his ribs up with a nice touchdown reception a few weeks ago. That still doesn't mean he can pick up and be an impact if James would not be able to go. We have 7 picks in this draft. The first I hope goes OLB. We are good at CB with Burnes and @[email protected] will be challenged hopefully by Golson. Loser of the battle would be a good slot corner. Golson lacks length so they may throw him in the slot role anyways. LT Walton has been more than solid at DE. If Heyward or Tuitt can't go a few weeks during the season then I have faith in LT to get the job done. I like Chickillo and Moates at OLB. They have started and played solid. Williams and Dirty Red at backup ILB is good depth that any team would love. Safety we have Golden and Dangerfield. Both have started any didn't miss a beat. Offensive line? Yeah, we're good there. You say we're good at tight end and WR, so with or final 6 picks we're going what exactly? A RB would be nice with Williams age. A backup that won't see the field unless God forbid Bell gets hurt is a wasted pick anywhere in the top 4 rounds. Maybe 5th would be suffice. That's 2 picks gone and 5 to go. A backup QB of the future would be nice. Four to go. A special teamed lol? Warren, Boswell, and Berry are really good.
Mock I have been developing in various iterations. Did a trade, and was drafting based on data I've gathered via watching college games, NFL games, reading mock drafts, and my own internal evaluations. Please, feedback is always welcome.