Combine wideouts looking for fast 40 times
A look at some of the key points to come out of the wide receiver group after day two of the NFL Combine:
• One guy who’s going to need time to develop at the next level but really seems to “get it” is Connecticut wideout Marcus Easley. Easley is a one-year starter who at this time last year didn’t even have a scholarship to play at UConn. However, he seemed genuinely blessed about his opportunity to be at the combine and said he expects to run in the 4.3 range. At 6-2, 210 pounds, Easley runs extremely well on tape but needs some time to mature as a route runner. His combination of size, speed and maturity could make him one of the more intriguing wideouts in April.
• Kansas State wideout Brandon Banks wants his name added to the list of guys looking to break 4.24 in the 40 this year. He said he has already run a 4.24 in workouts and is hoping to better it with a 4.23. Asked what he can bring to an NFL offense, Banks said, “ I’m electric and can score a touchdown every time I get the ball into my hands.”
• One guy who needs to impress this week during the interview process is Norfolk State WR Chris Bell. Bell is a former five-star recruit who was kicked off the Penn State football team in 2008 after he was charged with threatening a teammate with a knife. However, he came off as someone who doesn’t seem to want to be here. I do believe there’s some upside to his game and that he has the skill set needed to make an NFL roster, but I also worry about Bell’s willingness to put in the work.
• I was impressed with Illinois wideout Arrelious Benn when he was asked about his drop in production last season. Benn didn’t throw anyone under the bus and instead accepted responsibility for his numbers and was mature about it. First and foremost, his lack of production wasn’t his fault, and he might make more of an impact than any wideout in this year’s draft because of his run-after-the-catch ability. He looks like a great fit in Baltimore at the end of the first round, and he’s meeting with the Ravens tonight.
• I found it interesting that Notre Dame wideout Golden Tate said the best cornerback he faced all season was Pittsburgh’s Aaron Berry. Berry is a solid college corner, but in terms of NFL potential, he looks like a guy who will struggle to make a roster. You can’t take anything away from Tate’s production last season, but he played a really soft schedule in terms of opposing defenses and corners, and I simply don’t think he’s the kind of player many are making him out to be.
• Finally, one guy who’s going to fall a bit because of his inability to work out this draft season is Minnesota wideout Eric Decker. However, when you listen to his his passion for the game and attention to detail, he comes off as someone ready to be a professional. He said he expects his left foot to be 100 percent by June and that he’ll be ready to go full tilt come training camp. Again, he might not be a top-75 pick, but he’s a player who looks like a potential No. 2 possession guy at the next level.
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