Can he separate from press man by big NFL corners?
Could be just a possession receiver
May not be fast enough to stretch a defense vertically
Summary: It can be hard for some players from Mississippi to stand out in the powerful SEC West. Playing in the toughest division of college football can overshadow some of their players, and one good prospect who probably hasn't received the attention they deserve is Donte Moncrief. Over the past three years, Moncrief has been a playmaker for the Rebels.
Moncrief had 31 catches for 454 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman. Moncrief then broke out and was one of the better wide receivers in the SEC as a sophomore, when he notched 66 receptions for 979 yards and 10 touchdowns as the primary target for quarterback Bo Wallace. Moncrief had some huge games against Texas (7-144-1), LSU (6-161-2) and Mississippi State (7-173-3). He had a lot of success beating Mississippi State cornerback Johnthan Banks (second-round pick for Tampa Bay) and LSU cornerback Tharold Simon (fifth-round pick for Seattle) in man coverage.
Moncrief was mildly disappointing this past season, however, because Ole Miss star freshman receiver Laquon Treadwell received a good amount of targets. Moncrief recorded 59 receptions for 938 yards with six touchdowns. He didn't do much against Alabama (6-60), but played well against Auburn (6-122) and LSU (5-107).
Moncrief would have had a better shot of being drafted higher if he had returned for his senior season. Instead, Moncrief joined a loaded class at wide receiver and has been somewhat lost in the shuffle. He had questions about his speed, but he had a shockingly fast 40 time at the Combine of 4.40 seconds. At Ole Miss, Moncrief wasn't a deep receiver, but he proved that he has enough speed to get open.
Moncrief projects to be a good Z (flanker) receiver. He is strong and tough to do the dirty work as a possession wideout. Moncrief should be a nice weapon on slants, crosses and digs with run-after-the-catch ability. He should be a good receiver on third down, and he can outfight defenders to move the chains while also being a red-zone target. Moncrief doesn't play as fast as that 40 time, and he won't be a speed demon to stretch a defense vertically.
Moncrief looks likely to be a second-day pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Player Comparison: Kenny Britt. Moncrief's game is similar to Britt. They are nearly identical in size, and Britt (6-3, 220) was a dangerous run-after-the-catch receiver when healthy. Britt has quickness to make plays and move the chains. If Moncrief pans out in the NFL, he could be a receiver like Britt.
NFL Matches: Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New York Jets, New Orleans, Carolina, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle
Moncrief would be a good fit in Tampa Bay or Jacksonville. The Bucs need a lot of help at wide receiver, and Moncrief could be a nice fit for Jeff Tedford's offense. The Jaguars need more weapons for their new quarterback, given Justin Blackmon's status.
The Lions could address receiver in the first round, but if they don't get their guy and settle for some defensive help, Moncrief would make a lot of sense for them on day two. Moncrief could be a nice possession receiver on the other side from Calvin Johnson.
If the Browns pass on a receiver in Round 1, they could target Moncrief in the second or third. He would be a nice complement to Josh Gordon.
Pittsburgh needs help at receiver, and Moncrief has the size that the Steelers are looking for. Baltimore and the New York Jets would also be good fits for Moncrief. Both teams signed free agent wide receivers, but each one could use more help in its receiving corps.
Elsehwere, in the NFC South, Carolina has a massive need at wide receiver, and Moncrief could be a strong possession receiver for Cam Newton. The Panthers are locked into drafting at least one wide receiver early; if not two. New Orleans also could consider a wideout. The Saints lost some weapons this offseason in Darren Sproles and Lance Moore. The team has some older veterans at receiver, and Moncrief would give New Orleans a young understudy to Marques Colston.
The 49ers could use more young talent at wide receiver. Moncrief could eventually take over for Anquan Boldin. Denver doesn't have a real need at receiver, but Moncrief could be the best player available.
Seattle lost Golden Tate in free agency, and the Seahawks would probably prefer drafting a receiver with more size. Moncrief fits the type of player that the Seahawks target.