Archive for the ‘Wide Receiver’ Category

It’s players like Baylor’s Terrance Williams that make me very excited for the potential of players that won’t be taken on day one of the NFL draft. Williams is not a name that is mentioned when talking about top wide receivers in this year’s class, but when you look at his film (never mind his numbers) Williams becomes an extremely intriguing prospect with the potential to make a big splash in the NFL.

All of Williams’ measurables are pretty much on average with today’s wide receiver in the NFL. He’s 6’2”, about 210 pounds and runs around the 40-yard dash in around 4.5 seconds (ran a 4.52 at the combine). When you look at his numbers though, it becomes obvious that Williams is not your average, every day receiver. In 2012, he had 1832 yards receiving with about 90 catches, the best in the nation last year. Williams also managed 12 touchdowns to go along with his gaudy yardage total. He is not the best all-around receiver you will ever see, but what he does he does pretty damn well.

A lot of the catches he made for the Bears came off of button hooks and on the sideline. Very often on film you’ll see him run just around to where the first down marker is, stop and turn to the ball which was probably already on its way to his chest. Williams did a good job of consistently make this type of catch and getting the fist down in these kinds of situations, and it’s the kind of play he may be asked to make at the next level so he needs to continue to be consistent with it.

Williams did just about everything he could to help the Bears with some football games. He primarily played outside receiver, but he would on occasion move into the slot. He’d run the occasional in-route or slant route. He’d catch a screen pass every now and then. But that is not where Williams made his name; where Williams really shines is with the deep ball. For someone who doesn’t have world-class speed, it was very impressive to see how easily he was able to get behind the defense and make the big play deep down the field. A legitimate deep threat is a hot commodity in the NFL, and if Williams can translate his collegiate success into the NFL, he will have a very successful, and lucrative, professional career as well.

A key characteristic of a great deep threat receiver though is their willingness to go up and make the tough catch. Williams is not afraid to do that in the slightest. It’s apparent to me that he is not at all scared to jump up and fight with the defender for the ball. Fearlessness is a great quality in a wide receiver, and not just in a deep threat.

You also need to be fearless in the blocking aspect of the position. And, again, Williams is not at all afraid to block for his teammates. For someone who doesn’t, on the surface or otherwise, seem to have superhuman strength, his blocking ability is quite impressive. Whether it’s for his running back or a fellow wide receiver, Williams blocked well on an extremely consistent basis and helps his teammates get those extra yards.

One other thing that should probably be mentioned is the quality of his quarterback. While Nick Florence’s numbers were not terrible, I saw him on more than one occasion flat out miss Williams. From what I saw, and to be fair it was not a full analysis, Florence is not extremely accurate nor does he have a very strong arm. So, with that being said, I am extremely interested to see how Williams will perform if he is picked by a team with a top-caliber quarterback to throw him the ball.

Williams isn’t the world’s most perfect receiver. He has a habit of dropping open passes. He is not the world’s crispest route runner (although he did run a stop & go route vs. Texas that should be put in the Smithsonian). There are some good reasons why Williams isn’t the top wide receiver prospect in this year’s class, but there are some decent arguments for why he should be.

Terrance Williams reminds me a little bit of Ravens’ receiver Torrey Smith; he simply makes plays for his football team. Whether it’s in the middle of the field or in the redzone, Williams will do anything to help his team win. He is a very good deep threat with some good hands and tracks the ball well. Williams also does a good job at adjusting to the poorly thrown ball even with defenders on top of him.

Williams isn’t exactly a “sleeper” pick, but I think a team picking him in the middle to late second round (or even the third) could be getting a steal. I think there is a decent chance that Williams will make a big splash at the next level for any team looking to add some playmakers to their offense. Teams like the Dolphins, Patriots, or even the Browns or Eagles (among others) should all have Terrance Williams on their radar.

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Highlights: 

Keenan Allen (21) goes up for the ball against Jalil Brown (23) during a game against the University of Colorado.

Keenan Allen (21) goes up for the ball against Jalil Brown (23) during a game against the University of Colorado.

Keenan Allen (6′ 3″, 210 lbs.) out of the University of California-Berkley is not one of the more known wide receivers in this year’s draft, but he is one of, if not the, best receivers. He suffered from the fact that Cal was well, average. Had he gone to, say Alabama, we all would know much more about him and he would probably be in competition for a top 5 draft slot. Allen was a five star recruit coming out of high school (Northern Guilford, Greensboro, NC) as a safety, but after committing to Cal, Jeff Tedford converted Allen into one of the nation’s top wide receivers during his three years at the school. Sadly, Tedford was fired after Cal finished the 2012 season 3-9 (2-7 in the Pac-12), and as many juniors do when their head coach gets fired, Allen declared for the NFL Draft instead of staying at Cal for his senior season.

Here are Allen’s stats from Cal:

Career Receiving: 205 receptions, 2570 yards, 17 touchdowns

2012 Receiving: 61 catches, 737 yards, 6 touchdowns in 9 games (missed final 3 games due to PCL tear in left knee)

Now, I will evaluate Allen on these criteria: Size, Speed/Quickness, Get-Off, Route Running, Hands, Body Control, Catching in Traffic, Yards after the Catch, and Blocking Skills.

SIZE: 

Allen is 6’ 3” and 210 lbs. That is great size for a receiver. It will allow him to get above corners and safeties in the NFL and be seen by his quarterback. I love his size and I’m sure NFL teams do too. (Good height to win jump balls downfield) 9.0/10.0

SPEED/QUICKNESS: 

Allen runs a 4.53 40, and his feet sure look damn quick to me. I don’t see Allen being used a primary deep threat in the NFL, he’s just an inch or two too short for that, but his speed can get him behind coverage and his quickness will allow him to juke defenders right out of their shoes. He can also make very sharp cuts, and get back to full speed very quickly. This is a great asset that Allen needs to use to his advantage. Allen is a very agile and physical ball carrier when he has the ball and he also has great hip flexibility because he has the ability to get low in his routes and explode out of his breaks. 9.0/10.0

GET-OFF:

Keenan Allen has a very strong get-off. On pretty much every play where he was lined up outside, he would have a very quick get off and get to top speed almost immediately. He also throws moves to shake defenders and get open in the middle of the field. 8.5/10.0

ROUTE RUNNING: 

Allen is a very solid route runner. I can’t really see in my head a route that he doesn’t really run well. His best routes are slants, cross routes, speed outs, and vertical “go” routes. One of the primer route runners in the nation. 9.0/10.0

HANDS: 

Strong hands. He didn’t really get to show them in college, but I believe that his hands compare well with just about any receiver in the country. He attacks the ball with his hands and rarely catches the ball with his body. All in all, great hands. 8.5/10.0

BODY CONTROL: 

Allen has decent body control. I saw good examples of this in his tape and bad examples. First off, bad examples. There were a few plays that I saw where Allen was running down the sideline and just wouldn’t think where his body was in relation to the sideline, and would step out of bounds. One of these even cost Cal a touchdown. And as for good examples, there was a play (in the Ohio St./USC video) when Allen had to jump in the air along the sideline and grab a pass and had the body control to get a foot inbounds before going out. If he can improve on this, then Allen will have a better chance at becoming a great receiver in the NFL. 8.25/10.00

NCAA Football: California at Arizona State

Keenan Allen runs downfield against Arizona State

CATCHING IN TRAFFIC: 

Not the strongest at catching in traffic, but that has in part to do with his quarterback in college. Many of the passes thrown to Allen at Cal were too low, too high, too far in front of him, or too far behind him so he never had the chance to catch many of them. I believe that thanks to his hands, Allen can catch just about any ball, but he just wasn’t given the opportunity in college to do so. 8.5/10.0

YARDS AFTER THE CATCH: 

Allen can cut on a dime and juke just about any defender, so this is one of his better areas. He stretches the field north-south, which I love, and doesn’t go down easily. He tries to get every possible yard and he is very fast, which helps him out a ton here. 8.75/10.00

BLOCKING SKILLS: 

I did not see much of Allen blocking. But the little bit I did see is described perfectly by NFL.com’s draft profile of Allen. It says Allen “does not utilize his size or length as a run blocker,” and that he “does not execute cut blocks and at times fails to hit a target.” Now don’t get me wrong. Allen did have some good blocks, but this is probably the area that he needs to work on the most going forward. If he can become an elite blocker, then there is no limit to what he can accomplish. 8.0/10.0

OVERALL: 

Overall, from me Keenan Allen receives an 8.61/10.00. I believe that Allen is the best receiver available in this year’s draft. It’s hard to tell that from his tape, but many of the times that Allen looked bad on tape, it was due to a poorly thrown ball from his quarterback, and half-brother, Zach Maynard. I think that if Allen had had a better QB throwing to him that he would have much more hype going into this year’s draft. But I just think that all of his intangibles will add up to him being a great receiver in the NFL that whatever team that drafts him will be lucky to have. Now who will be that lucky team? Due to the PCL tear that Allen suffered in week 9 against Utah, he will not go as high as he should. I believe that Allen has fully recovered, but he is being cautious with is and skipping the NFL Combine this weekend, which will hurt his draft stock. Because of that, Cordarrelle Patterson will probably be the first receiver off the board, not Allen. I really can see Allen getting drafted by the Packers and joining fellow Golden Bear Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. When I was watching his tape, Allen reminded me a lot of Greg Jennings, and since Jennings is inching closer to retirement and he might leave Green Bay in free agency, it wouldn’t be a bad move for the Pack to grab Allen at a premium, and it is definitely something I see them doing.

HIGHLIGHTS: 

Let me know what you think in the comments section below and follow me on Twitter! @J_Vinton52

Next, I will be profiling Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame!

The 5’9” Tavon Austin is not a physical specimen on the surface, but the young man from Baltimore, Maryland is probably the most intriguing prospect in this year’s class. In his time as a Mountaineer, Austin played both running back and wide receiver, both at a pretty high level. Before I really dove into his film, I wasn’t as high on Tavon as some of the analysts seem to be; however, while I was very impressed by what I saw of him, I still have some questions regarding Austin.

Austin has that “special” factor that some scouts really look for in offensive playmakers. Tavon runs unlike anyone I have ever had to privilege of watching before in my life. He runs a sub-4.3 40-yard dash and looks even faster than that on a game field. There is not a person I can think of in the history of sports than stops and starts any better than Austin does; it is amazing some of the plays he made by stopping on a dime, changing direction, and kicking it right back in to gear again.

While at West Virginia, Tavon posted some phenomenal numbers as a receiver. In 2012, Austin had over 100 catches for well over 1000 yards and 12 touchdowns. Tavon even had a respectable season as a running back posting 643 yards; of course half of those yards came in an unbelievable performance against Oklahoma.

There are a lot of people that are in love with Tavon Austin, and they have good reason to be. There simply aren’t many human beings with the running ability and agility of Austin. Personally though, I’m not convinced that he will be able to translate his skills into the NFL.

Before I start getting too negative, I do want to add some more positive aspects of Tavon’s game. Austin has some solid hands; I am not too high on Geno Smith so it was good to see Tavon make some great catches with a quarterback that I consider far from elite. Also, from what I can tell, Austin appears to be a good teammate and a hard worker, which will certainly help him in his transition to the next level.

My biggest concern with Austin is that I’m not really sure if he is a great all-around receiver. From what I saw, Tavon didn’t seem like a great route runner; in fact I would call some of his routes downright abysmal. Now this wasn’t a problem for him at West Virginia, from what I watched even when he ran a poor route he was still able to make the catch against bad coverage. His slants weren’t very crisp and he rounded his outs far too often in the film I watched.

I am not saying that Tavon is bound to be a bust because of this, far from it. I am simply curious as to how he will respond when the coverage is tighter and the game is faster. Tavon has all sorts of potential, but if he wants to be great he has to evolve as a route runner so that he can create the separation he needs to make plays. Honestly, I am also curious as to how he will be used in an NFL offense that more often than not requires more precision in route running than Tavon has. I wonder if the team that drafts him will consider giving Austin any snaps at the running back position.

Tavon is going to open a lot of eyes this weekend at the combine in Indy. I expect him to break at least a couple of records in drills and impress a lot of NFL scouts. He will not go any later than the bottom of the first round and probably shouldn’t. I now for a fact there will be at least a dozen head coaches who will be dreaming of how to use someone like this in their offense. Tavon can make a big impact right away if he can work on refining his route running and learn to create separation at the next level.

Follow me Twitter: @bill_slane

Highlights: 

Cordarrelle Patterson (84) catches a touchdown in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta, GA against NC State on August 31, 2012

Cordarrelle Patterson (84) catches a touchdown in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against NC State at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA on August 31, 2012.

First off, sorry for not posting this yesterday. I got caught up in the Duke/Maryland and ASU/CU games and NBA All-Star Saturday Night. But now, here we go!

Cordarrelle Patterson is a wide receiver that I had not heard much about before I began profiling him yesterday. If he was recruited by FBS schools (and even FCS schools) than I can’t find any record of it. Patterson took a year off and attended North Carolina Tech Christian Academy. Then he realized that he missed football, went to Hutchinson Community College in Kansas (the Dragons finished 10-2 and #5 in the NJCAA in 2010 and 9-3 and #9 in the NJCAA in 2011, his two seasons with the team). In Junior College, he was a two-time NJCAA All-American and he caught 113 passes for 1832 yards and 24 touchdowns. Throughout his college career, Patterson was used as a running back in certain formations, and at Hutchinson he ran 39 times for 398 yards and 6 touchdowns. He has also been used as a kick returner and punt returner, with the Dragons, Patterson had 31 total returns, with 880 yards on kick returns, 247 on punt returns, and 6 total touchdowns.

Patterson’s stats during his one season as a Volunteer:

Rushing: 25 attempts, 308 yards, 3 touchdowns

Receiving: 46 receptions, 778 yards, 5 touchdowns

Punt Returns: 4 returns, 101 yards, 1 touchdown, with a long of 81 yards

Kick Returns: 25 returns, 671 yards, 1 touchdown, with long of 98 yards

Since Patterson only played one season at the FBS level, there is not a ton of tape on him, and the tape I found was basically a bunch of videos with the same plays on them. Now, I will evaluate Patterson on these criteria: Size, Speed/Quickness, Get-Off, Route Running, Hands, Body Control, Catching in Traffic, Yards after the Catch, and Blocking Skills.

SIZE: 

Patterson is a healthy 6′ 3″ tall and 205 lbs. That is a great size for a NFL wide receiver and will allow him to play multiple positions after he gets drafted. 9.5/10.0

SPEED/QUICKNESS: 

This is an area that anyone who watches Patterson’s tape will see as probably the most prominent part of his game. Patterson is blazing fast. His only recorded 40 yard dash time that I can find is a 4.46, but I’m sure he will improve on that number at the combine (Update: Patterson did improve his 40 time to 4.42 seconds). The play from this past season that shows this best is at 0:57 in the Mississippi State video. In this play, Tyler Bray (QB, Tennessee) hands off to Patterson on an end around. Patterson is immediately hit, but breaks that tackle. It then looks like he is going to get tackled by most of the Mississippi State defense about five yards in the backfield, but he uses his quickness to make some jukes around a few guys and then his speed to get on the outside on the other side of the field and he sprints down the sideline for about a 30 yard gain. His speed can also be seen on the kickoff return that happens earlier in the video. 9.0/10.0

GET-OFF:

Patterson has pretty good get-offs, but his best come when he is on the line of scrimmage when the cornerback is a yard or two away from him. When he lines up off the line or the cornerback is giving him a cushion, then he doesn’t come off the ball as hard. He gets to sprinting speed pretty fast, which is good, but I would like to see that from the second the ball is snapped. Patterson is very good at throwing head and shoulder fakes to throw off the corner and give himself a cushion. His get-offs allow him to get open and have the ball thrown to him. A great example of this is at 2:46 in the video of Tennessee’s game against Kentucky. Patterson uses a great get-off with a dirty move and gets a touchdown out of it. 8.5/10.0

ROUTE RUNNING: 

Patterson is very good at running slants, but his deep routes could use a little bit of work. All in all, he is not a bad route runner. He still runs his routes well enough that he creates separation and scores touchdowns, but he will be used for a lot of deep routes in his career in the NFL, so he can become better at those than he can be great. 8.5/10.0

HANDS: 

While I believe that Cordarrelle has really good hands, it is hard to tell with him because he is a body catcher. There are a few times in his tape that I can see that he has good hands, but there are other times where it looks like he is unsure if he is going to catch the ball if he doesn’t use his chest to secure it. Going forward, he is going to have to put more trust in his hands and be able to secure a catch without using his body. But, until I know for sure how good his hands are, (which could be at the combine), I’m going to give his a 7.0/10.0 here.

BODY CONTROL: 

This is an area where Patterson excels. When he is running, he has full control over his body and knows exactly where the boundary is, and when you look at his jukes, it can be clearly seen that he knows what he is doing with his body. This is showcased at 1:49 in Patterson’s highlight video made by CollegeFootballLive at 1:49 and in the Kentucky game (same play) at 1:19. 9.0/10.0

CATCHING IN TRAFFIC: 

Since Patterson is a deep threat, he made many of catches with safeties and corners draped over him. He did not have to go up and get the ball at it’s high point as much as I would have like to have seen, but from what I can see is that Patterson has the ability to find the ball in traffic and secure it for his team. 8.5/10.0

YARDS AFTER THE CATCH: 

Thanks to Patterson’s ability to be able to juke pretty much anyone, extend plays by running east-west, and break tackles he gets a ton of yards after he makes the catch. This, in my opinion, may be his best and worst quality. I love how he is always trying to get the extra yards to help his team out, but what I keep thinking when he is doing it is how long it is taking. This may be just me, but I am not a fan of players who run from sideline to sideline to get five more yards. I just think, “If that was in the fourth quarter and his team was down by a touchdown or less, would I want him doing that?” And every time the answer, for me, is no. It just wastes too much time and takes a play away from the offense. I don’t know how individual coaches feel about this but, it hurts him in my eyes. 8.0/10.0

BLOCKING SKILLS: 

I really couldn’t find much on his blocking skills through all of the film I found. I don’t know why that was, but it makes it extremely hard to grade him here. From his size and athletic ability, I believe that he could be a good blocker so I’ll give him a 7.0/10.0. If anyone has tape on his blocking and could help me out so I can update this with a more accurate grade. That would be great and please put the url in the comments below.

OVERALL: 

If Cordarrelle Patterson can improve on his hands (and if I could get my hands on some tape that show his blocking) then I believe that he can be a really good wide receiver in the NFL. But, I keep thinking that there had to be a reason that someone who was a 4-5 star prospect (depending on the source) coming out of  JUCO didn’t get recruited out of high school. I would love to know what happened there. That, and I am just not a fan of how much east-west he runs. If he commits to running north-south, then his overall rating with me, which is an 8.33/10.00, would improve and so would his draft stock. Now as to where I think he will go, there are many teams that need wide receivers, and I really think that he could go anywhere from picks 8-15 in the draft. It just depends on who wants to grab him first. I can’t wait to see him at the combine so some of my questions can be answered.

HIGHLIGHTS: 

Let me know what you think in the comments section below and follow me on Twitter! @J_Vinton52

Next, I will be profiling Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia!

The 6’2” Quinton Patton was the No. 1 target for the past two seasons for Louisiana Tech, a team that scored the most points in the FBS this past season, averaging well over 50 points a game. Looking solely at his stats, Patton has been extremely impressive. In two seasons starting for the Bulldogs, Patton recorded nearly 200 catches for over 2500 yards and 24 touchdowns. The coaches at LA Tech did just about everything they could think of to get the ball into Patton’s hands; bubble screens, button hooks, out routes, go routes, slant routes, fade routes, you name it Patton probably ran it for the Bulldogs. In their 59-57 loss to Johnny Football and Texas A&M, Patton had an unbelievable 21 grabs for over 200 yards and 4 touchdowns.

With all that said, it wouldn’t surprise me if Patton didn’t make an immediate impact with the team that drafts him. He has a lot of experience with route running and seems to be a very knowledgeable player, but the jump up in competition could be too much for Patton. On the other hand, it might be that Patton was given so much experience and so much attention while at LA Tech, that he might be able to make the transition smoothly.

Patton is the kind of player that really jumps out at you when you watch his film. He has very good speed, running the 40-yard dash as fast as 4.42 seconds, and he has a knack for making defenders miss. He has nothing but potential and there will most likely be more than one general manager who will fall in love with the idea of having him in their team’s uniform.

Quinton was somewhat of a deep threat for the Bulldogs. He averaged over 13 yards a catch in 2012 and his longest reception was 79 yards against UTSA. Patton had a catch of at least 20 yards in every game in 2012, and he had 7 games where he had a catch of over 50 yards. His speed and physicality make him a prime target deep down the field.

One of the most important factors that I look at when watching a receiver on film is their willingness to block. The willingness to play full speed even when you don’t have the ball in your hands can separate the good players from the great ones. Quinton Patton is not afraid to block, in fact in the run game Patton made some key blocks that got his runner some nice extra yards. Being an unselfish player like that can get you even more attention by pro scouts than scoring 20 touchdowns.

Patton has to be one of the most complete pass catchers I’ve watched on film. He does just about anything you would want or need him to do and he does it all at a very good level. I also just love how much of a threat he is no matter where you are on the field. Obviously he can beat you deep, but he was also the biggest red zone threat for the Bulldogs, running the corner fade often in the endzone with great results. The combination of his size, speed, physicality, good hands and great route running make him a player that should be high on every team’s big board in April.

It’s probably quite clear that I am very high on Quinton Patton. Patton seems like the kind of player that can make that difficult transition from college to the pros, he will be able to make some big time plays. While he is consistently regarded as a top receiver in this year’s draft, Patton hasn’t really been talked about all that much. He is currently projected to go anywhere from the bottom of the first to the middle of the second round. With a receiver class that isn’t all that strong, Patton should really make himself stand out at the combine and his pro day on March 26th.

Follow me on Twitter: @bill_slane

Highlights: