2017 NFL WR Prospects Part II

By John Laub

 

 

          2017 Wide Receiver Prospects

                            Part II 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Carlos Henderson, Louisiana Tech

Hype train rolling down the tracks…One of the most prolific wideouts in the nation after a breathtaking junior season, racking up 82 catches for 1,535 yards and 19 touchdowns. Averaged an amazing 18.7 yards per catch and scored 23 times. Dominated UMass with 12 receptions for 326 yards and five touchdowns and toasted WKU in two games with 17 catches for 434 yards and five touchdowns. All Conference USA Freshman Team (2014), Named Conference USA Offensive and Special Teams Player of the Year (2016) and Biletnikoff semifinalist (2016). Explosive quick-twitch athlete. Ran a diverse route tree at Louisiana Tech. Creative runner who makes tacklers miss. Determined and dogged competitor: Competes with anger, swagger and purpose. Mind-blowing burst and wiggle. Speed and quickness offset lack of elite size at 5’11”and 199 lbs. Big play wideout who also excels in the short and intermediate areas. Employs lethal double moves and drops hips to stop-and-start rapidly. Full-field vision: Seeks daylight and leaves defenders in wake. Electric tackle breaker with first-rate after-the-catch ability. Astounding acceleration and carries speed through tight breaks. Fights for football and steals it from opponents. Attacks corners and safeties and climbs over the top of the defense. Deadly on screen plays and superb on slant cuts with uber suddenness. Rarely gets caught from behind. Fights for additional yardage: Seldom brought down by one tackler. Can he separate from press coverage? Will bigger and stronger professional corners bully the former Bulldog? Smaller than ideal frame. Never competed against top-rated corners in C-USA. Needs to improve fundamentals. Projects as a slot receiver with potential to play on the outside. Arizona and Dallas would be perfect landing spots in the second round to maximize potential. 

Measurements 40-yrd 3-cone 20-yrd Rec. YPR P-Yrds % 
C. Henderson 4.46 7.18 4.35 147 19.6 30% ('16)
Benchmark 4.50 6.95 4.10 150 15 33%

Scholar's Supremacy Score: 5.5

Draft Potential: Second round

 

 

8. Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington

Conquered FCS opponents at Eastern Washington and rewrote the record books. Established 15 FCS career marks, including catches (428), yards (6,464) and touchdowns (73), as well as 11 Big Sky and 26 school marks in a memorable 52-game career. Earned the Jerry Rice Award (2013), Walter Payton Award (2015), FCS STATS Offensive Player of the Year Award (2015) and four-time Consensus First Team FCS All-American. In four games against PAC-12 competition (Oregon State, Washington State, Oregon and Washington), rose to the challenge and produced eye-popping stats. Outstanding Senior Bowl week: Enthralled scouts and observers and named Most Impressive Wide Receiver. At 6’1” and 204 lbs., gritty and savvy competitor who is a physical athlete with a firm build. Good release off the line and swiftly gets out of breaks. Dynamic route runner. Easily snatches and secures ball. Plucks passes away from body and makes arduous catches. Very good run after the catch skills. Extraordinary body control. Employs stiff arm to ward off tacklers. Strong and natural hands. Willingness and determination to gain extra yards. Manipulates coverage with subtle moves: head fakes and stutter steps. Mastered the prime West Coast routes: slants, digs and crosses. Regularly lineup in the slot, but did play on the outside. Off the field, mature and married, earned a 3.6 GPA and highly respected by teammates, coaches and opponents. Football DNA: Craig, father, played for Dallas and Phoenix in 1991 and Jim, grandfather, is a member of the Saints Hall of Fame. Lacks breakaway speed and fluidity of top-level prospects. Absence of elite lateral quickness and change of direction skills. Despite competing at the FCS level, one of the more fascinating wide receivers available in April.

Measurements 40-yrd 3-cone 20-yrd Rec. YPR P-Yrds % 
Cooper Kupp 4.62 6.75 4.08 428 15.1 31% ('16)
Benchmark 4.50 6.95 4.10 150 15 33%

Scholar's Supremacy Score: 10.5 

Draft Potential: Third round

 

9. Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M

After high school, did not receive any FBS scholarships. Honed skills at the JUCO level for one season before enrolling at Texas A&M. Impressive three seasons at College Station as an “X” receiver. In 2016, named Second Team All-SEC after notching 61 catches for over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns. Scored 30 times in 38 games, including a school record 13 in 2014. Last year, became the only player in SEC history to catch two 90-plus touchdowns in same season, and logged seven catches over 40 yards. At 6’3” and 194 lbs., a smooth athlete with a tall and lanky frame. Clean route runner with deceptive speed. Long strider with good speed and body control. Quick out of breaks and fluid movements. Grabs passes away from frame with long arms. Effectively employs hands to gain release into routes. Exceptional ball tracker: High points and easily secures the football over the shoulder. Long distance runner who eats cushions and out strides cornerbacks. With a large catch-radius, makes acrobatic catches, out jumps defenders and very good red zone threat. Good perimeter player and comes back for the ball to assist the quarterback. Hard worker after the catch. Enjoys engaging defenders as a blocker and physical in run game. Immediate contributor on Special Teams. Confident performer. Stupendous week at the Senior Bowl. Lacks elite athletic ability for the position. Can be slowed by press coverage: Some scouts may question strength against physical defenders. Too many body catches. Does not easily change directions. One of the undervalued wide receiver prospects in the Draft.

Measurements 40-yrd 3-cone 20-yrd Rec. YPR P-Yrds % 
Josh Reynolds 4.52 6.83 4.13 164 17 31%
Benchmark 4.50 6.95 4.10 150 15 33%

Scholar's Supremacy Score: 9.5

Draft Potential: Third round

 

10. Malachi Dupre, LSU

An elite athlete with outstanding ball skills, who toiled in a run-oriented offense with subpar quarterback play. Limited opportunities and production on campus: Led Tigers in receptions and yards each of the last two seasons, recording 84 catches for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns. As a junior in high school, state champion in three—triple, long and high—jumps. Named SEC All-Freshmen Team (2014). At 6’2” and 196 lbs., long and lanky frame with excellent physical tools. A smooth and natural competitor. Good balance, foot quickness and body control. Very big and soft hands. Makes one-handed grabs effortlessly: several during LSU tenure. Beats defenders deep and tracks ball well over the shoulder. Fights through contact, breaking arm tackles and employing an unpleasant stiff arm. After catch, rapidly heads north. Outstanding 9-route runner, challenging defenses deep down the field. Great leaping ability and adjusts to the pass. Attacks football at highest point. Uses head and shoulder fakes to gain separation. Remains focused in congestion with defenders lurking and fearless in the middle of the field. Good red zone target. Aggressive and effective blocker. Lack of suddenness and struggles to get off press coverage. While getting off the line of scrimmage, absence of elite explosiveness. Still learning nuances of position: Good coaching may enrich and enhance natural ability. Not seamless in and out of cuts: Must sink hips more effectively in order to change direction. Does not have advanced route-running aptitude. Clearly, has a bright NFL future based on physical attributes. A great quarterback and offensive system could make a star out of the LSU product. 

Measurements  40-yrd 3-cone 20-yrd Rec. YPR P-Yrds % 
Malachi Dupre 4.52 7.19 4.26 98 16.4 32% ('15)
Benchmark 4.50 6.95 4.10 150 15 33%

Scholar's Supremacy Score: 4 

Draft Potential: Third round

  

 

11. Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky

Small-school star and underrated prospect ready to begin professional career. Accumulated eye-popping statistics last two seasons on campus, totaling 184 catches for 3,197 yards and 34 touchdowns. Easily, the two best crusades in Hilltoppers history among receivers. Named Conference USA First Team and Biletnikoff Award semifinalist (2015 & 2016). Quick-twitch athlete and explosive playmaker. Well-rounded, route-tree portfolio. Plays with balance and rapidly changes direction. Fearless competitor with strong hands and thick legs at 5’11” and 203 lbs. Awesome reach for football and snatches it out of a crowd. Generates yards after the catch with slippery and elusive moves. Tough to tackle. Competes with attitude and enjoys challenges. Gobbles up cushions from corners and bursts open on fly patterns. Tracks over-the-shoulder passes well. Noticeable amalgamation of footwork and head fakes to get open. Ventures into the middle of the defense. Plays on the inside and outside of the hash marks. During last two campaigns, played four games (Alabama, LSU and twice vs. Vanderbilt) against SEC competition and recorded 31 catches for 376 yards and a touchdown. Astute clubs will not overlook the former WKU product as a potential NFL starter.

Measurements 40-yrd 3-cone 20-yrd Rec. YPR P-Yrds % 
Taywan Taylor 4.50 6.57 4.21 253 16.7 37% ('16)
Benchmark 4.50 6.95 4.10 150 15 33%

Scholar's Supremacy Score: 10

Draft Potential: Third round

 

12. Curtis Samuel, Ohio State

One the more dynamic game breakers in college football last year. Named First Team All-American honors by the AP as all-purpose threat, averaging 127.3 yards per game, and First Team All-Big Ten receiver with 74 catches for 865 yards and seven touchdowns. Also, produced prodigious rushing yards on limited touches: 97 carries for 771 yards, averaging 7.5 yards per carry. Manufactured a team-high 17 plays over 20 yards and scored 15 times. Hybrid wide receiver/running back in the Percy Harvin-Tavon Austin mold. Great athlete who is a quick-twitch homerun hitter. Explodes out of first step and gets immediate separation. Very good balance, vision, acceleration and feet. Stupendous cutting ability and dynamic in the open field. Loose hips and crisp feet: Shifty runner who easily changes direction and jukes and weaves through tacklers. Reaches a second gear in the open field. Works best on the edges and in space. Tremendous run-after-the-catch abilities. Thick build at 5’11” and 196 lbs. Best employed in the slot. Must learn to defeat press coverage. Not an innate hands catcher: Fights the pigskin and relies on body to corral it. Dropped too many passes. Does not track ball well on deep throws. Lacks power and bulk as a runner and does not break many tackles. A creative offensive coordinator should be able to get the most out of the former Buckeye.  

Measurements 40-yrd 3-cone 20-yrd Rec. YPR P-Yrds % 
Curtis Samuel 4.31 7.09 4.33 107 11.7 31% (16)
Benchmark 4.50 6.95 4.10 150 15 33%

Scholar's Supremacy Score: 2.5

Draft Potential: Third round

 

With his Masters in history and professional experience as an educator, John Laub is uniquely qualified to research, analyze and discover new insights and trends in college and professional fantasy football. Laub has played fantasy football for nearly thirty years and provided FootballDiehards.com with weekly player rankings for two decades. He won $10,000 in 1993, defeating nearly 15,000 owners, and published Audibles: Winning is Everything in the 1990s. He truly is The Gridiron Scholar. Twitter: @GridironSchol91 or e-mail: Audibles@aol.com

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