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3 Offensive Players To Watch At The Combine

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 20, 2013 – 2:11 pm

The Senior Bowl opened my eyes to this draft class’ crop of pass catchers. I arrived in Mobile, Alabama for the week excited to see Marshall WR Aaron Dobson, but I came away as impressed with Elon’s Aaron Mellette. Baylor’s Terrence Williams struck me as the most NFL-ready, but I was surprised with Texas’ Marquise Goodwin and blown away by Louisiana Tech’s Quinton Patton. And I’d be remiss to leave out Arkansas’ Cobi Hamilton and Kansas State’s Chris Harper because they both had solid weeks.

But the good news is that was just the beginning of our assessment of this year’s entire class of receivers. The individuals mentioned in the above paragraph were just a few of the top senior WRs in this class. There are other seniors and a bunch of underclassmen who are jumping to the NFL in 2013.

Here we’ll look at 3 offensive players to watch during the Combine this week. They all play the same position – WR. I’m not saying WR is the most important position to watch this year, rather, I feel this is a deep and talented position AND I feel the Combine can reveal the kind of information that will enable us to distinguish these receivers from each other more than it can reveal similar information that will allow us to distinguish players at other positions from each other. Also, this list focuses on players who were not at the Senior Bowl, since we’ve already gotten a good luck and have had plenty of conversation about them.

Anyway, let’s just get to the list…

WR DeAndre Hopkins (Clemson)
This is a guy who is growing on me more and more as I continue to talk about him and watch him. He had 82 receptions for 1,405 yards and 18 TDs last year as a junior for Clemson – impressive numbers. Depending on where you look, Hopkins is listed at anywhere from a half-inch over 6-0 to as high as 6-2, and usually always around 200-205 pounds. We’ll get an official measurement when he arrives at the Combine. Regardless, I actually think he plays bigger than even a 6-2 receiver. I say that because he does a great job of shielding defenders from a pass and making sure he puts himself between the defender and the QB. Also, he high-points the football with consistency and tenacity. NFL.com’s Josh Norris compares him to Roddy White, but I actually see more Anquan Boldin. I know scouts typically despise comparisons like that, but comparisons help fans develop a mind’s eye picture of a player.

On top of playing like a big receiver, Hopkins is also an explosive athlete. I’m not sure he has the explosive skills of a Quinton Patton and surely not of a Tavon Austin or Marquise Goodwin, but the explosion he has is good enough that, when put in combination with his size and catching ability, makes me excited about his NFL future. Besides, that’s one function of the Combine – analyzing measured speed/quickness of a player. If Hopkins times well in the 40-yard dash, he will definitely move up in my WR rankings.

This guy is definitely one to watch.

WR Kenny Stills (Oklahoma)
It’s a good idea to take a close look at mid-round prospects as well as 1st-round prospects, and that’s one of the reasons I’m including Stills on this list. He’s consistently listed at 6-1, 190 pounds. I don’t think he has elite speed or suddenness. And he doesn’t have a 1,000-yard receiving season to his credit at Oklahoma. Those are all pretty good reasons as to why he’s not considered a top-end WR prospect at the moment.

But for what he lacks in elite measurable qualities I think he makes up for in toughness, intangibles and competitiveness. Just take a look at the block he makes at the 2:02 mark of this clip. And then watch the rest of the highlight clip to see the kind of physical ability he brings to the table.

WR Robert Woods (USC)
Last year at this time, Woods was one of my favorite prospects. The trouble was, I didn’t realize until I arrived at the Combine that Woods had one more year left at USC. Fast-forward a year later, and I still like Woods. He’s listed at 6-1, 190, which won’t strike you as a prototypical height-weight combo for an NFL WR, but that shouldn’t turn you off from Woods.

As a sophomore in 2011, he had 111 receptions for 1,292 yards and 15 TDs. Those are incredible numbers and you can see why I was so high on him last year. His numbers were not as good this past season – 76-846-11 – but he’s hardly to blame for that. USC’s passing offense went primarily through another talented WR – Marquis Lee – and Woods production fell off as a result. But he still had 11 TDs, and he’d already proven he could produce at an elite level for an elite program.

I believe he’ll be able to produce at the NFL level, too, if he lands in the right situation. Is that right situation in Minnesota? I don’t know, that’s a question that will be answered much higher than my pay grade or knowledge level. But I’m excited to see him this week at the Combine because I think he’ll be a good player in the NFL.


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66 Responses to “3 Offensive Players To Watch At The Combine”

  1. By PurplHaze on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    First”

  2. By PurplHaze on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    Hope we don’t “settle” for one of these 3 if Patterson is available! It’s good to have a backup guy, but we should also watch the real stars too.

  3. By odark30 on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    Off topic..Odds on where Percy ends up.
    http://www.blindsidefootball.com/PercyHarvinOdds.html

  4. By Carl K on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    purplhaze – Patterson should test well at the combine. Keenan Allen will not do any drills.

    So Patterson should be the #1 WR after the combine.

    I am sorry but I don’t see how he falls past the Rams, Dolphins and Steelers.

    I don’t think the Vikings have a shot at Patterson.

    Next choice… D Hopkins or Patton or… Justin Hunter!

    I think Hunter was a great fit with Patterson at Tenn… So, I think he would be a great fit with Harvin. Hunter averaged over 17 yards a catch for his career.

    Draft a defensive stud in round 1. Hunter in round 2. QB Tyler Bray round 3.
    Resign Harvin and we will be explosive for a long time.

  5. By Parkway on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    Yeah I think we are most likely to go Minter/Ogletree/Rhodes/Banks in the first round

  6. By WRHopkins2013 on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    Wobb’s…

    Keep a close eye on Hopkins…I think he has the best skill set in the draft at WR…

    I would like to see one of these 3 WR in purple also…Patton,Wheaton, or Austin..To match with Hopkins…

    Patterson does not have the hands and concentration that Hopkins does…Enough of tall receivers that can run fast…But lack concentration to catch the ball in traffic…T Williams has the same problem…

  7. By kevinwi on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    Patterson is late 2nd round pick. What will drive him down there is that he has average speed, so don’t look for him to take a top off a defense. Combine speed will show this.

    Robert Woods can catch the ball. that’s about it. He isn’t much of a highlight reel player. 2nd/3rd round at best. Doesn’t high point a ball and very few YAC. Think Greg Camarillo type player.

    It is too bad Keenan Allen won’t compete at the combine suffering a PCL knee sprain while training…but it’s the same knee he has been nursing for close to 4 months which is troubling. He was a first round pick, but will probably drop a bit due to his knee concerns.
    Would be a good fit in MN if healthy.

    Kenny Stills? yes, mid round prospect…probably 5th round for some depth.

    The real prospect outside of Cordarelle Patterson and Tavon Austin, who are almost guaranteed to be taken before 23, would be De’Andre Hopkins. Speed, height, hands, physical, fights for the ball. and runs decent routes. Kid really has a lot going for him. Look for him to have a good combine.

  8. By WRHopkins2013 on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    .Scratch Austin…His best fit would be at slot receiver…

    We need help outside…

  9. By WRHopkins2013 on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    I think at this stage of the game…That there is a 50/50 chance the Vikings trade out of the first round altogether…

    Reason being there is so much depth in all the positions that they need…

  10. By Parkway on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    Possible but we have 9 picks, so if we can trade around to get 6 picks in rounds 2-4, then that would be good, we certainly don’t need 9 guys, we need some quality guys that fit our team and needs

  11. By Smith22DMVP on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    100 to 1 that he stays in here. what a joke. that article is just bad.

    Parkway, i fully agree with you! a surplus of picks in the 2-4 round would be fantastic as this draft is deep where we need it. I trust our GM will make the smart moves as far as any possible trades. If we stay where we are im sure it will be due to teams not being realistic in their demands

  12. By Derik on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    D Hopkins, D Rogers, J Hunter, C Patterson, Q Patton, and R Woods. Those are the receivers I want in the order I like them.

    Two guys to look at later in the draft to pair with one of the above… T King or A Mellette

  13. By RichardA1 on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    Can we dump Harvin on some other team? he is becoming quite the distraction! Harvin-it aint the money, Harvin-its the money,,,,,,,what a soap opera!

  14. By Parkway on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    Um it’s the media that is creating the drama richard, come on keep up.

  15. By Champ Henson on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    I don’t think Harvin has been quoted as saying anything. The media writers have been trying to create more controversy than there probably is. Not much happens between the superbowl and the combine so it’s a good time for the writers to stir the pot in order to justify their own paychecks.

  16. By Tomcat on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    Parkway- On the previous blog you mentioned a DT named Williams. Which one? There are 3 or 4 that are highly ranked.

  17. By Champ Henson on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    We need 2 lb’rs, 3 receivers, 1 nt, 1 og. 1 cb, 1 s, 1 rb, and 1 qb.
    A couple more picks would be a good thing.

  18. By Tomcat on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    I betcha we get at least 1 WR, 1LB, and maybe a G in free agency.

  19. By d on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    patterson the end

  20. By Jeremy on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    How is Harvin becoming a distraction??????? I absolutely don’t have a clue where people are getting this information from???

    Also how is Patterson a late second round pick???????????? best one i’ve heard to date. (besides how some of you idiots want to trade Harvin) He runs around a 4.3 40??????????? Average for receiver???????? I dont think so!!!!!!!!

  21. By Sean on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    Pick up recievers strictly from free agency. These recievers this year are nothing special. Besides once the Ponder experience blows up this year we can focus on bringing in new recievers to work with our new QB.

  22. By Parkway on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    But Sean that’s why we might as well get young receivers now since we’ll have a new QB next year anyway

  23. By WRHopkins2013 on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    http://www.1500espn.com/sportswire/Vikings_open_meetings_with_agents_dont_need_to_rush_on_cap_cleaning022013

  24. By Shawn on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    you guys havent figured out “the process” yet eh?

    Frazier always says “its part of the process” when talking about Ponder

    So I will tell you the “process”

    Step 1

    Draft Ponder and bring in a vet QB(McNabb) for Ponder to learn from. Only problem is there was no offseason so McNabb started for a minute

    Step 2

    Year 1 … give the rookie QB no blocking and no WRs … Now everything moves so fast it fry’s the kids brain … let him refocus for one offseason

    Step 3

    Year 2 … give the young QB an OL but still no WRs … Now the game will have slowed down for him but the throws will have to be perfect due to tight coverage on every play

    Step 4

    Year 3 … After a full season with time to process the game and only be able to check down … provide the kid some WRs … now he will have time and with good WRs it will seem like everyone is open …

    he will seem like a completely different guy when the talent around him is elevated to a professional level … lets face it OL was awful in 2011 … the WRs have been awful for 2011-12.

    Believe in “the process”

  25. By ccfan80 on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    I really like Hopkins he would fit in well with what we do in our offense he could be a solid player for us for at least the next 5 years

  26. By john61 on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    we need to draft all d this year,get ready to play outside,pickup 1 guard and wide out free agent ,we would be great

  27. By ccfan80 on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    Shawn, I think thats exactly whats going to happen Ponder is going to look totally different he ended the year figuring out how to play with no WRs

  28. By Parkway on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    We can only hope that’s how it pans out

  29. By ccfan80 on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    Ponder looked like a solid QB the last 4 games with no receiver as a real threat imagine what he can do with a good WR

  30. By vikings rule on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    John Carlson, Minnesota Vikings tight end: Cutting Carlson would be less about cap savings and more about admitting a big mistake from an offseason ago.

  31. By john61 on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    not hard to look good when all you do is hand the ball off,ponder will manage that it,no matter how many great receivers we have,i hope your right time will tell

  32. By Champ Henson on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    One good thing about 2013 is that we will know if Ponder is the answer or not.
    There should be no more excuses after 2013. Unless of course the excuse is used that the newly drafted receivers also need three years to mature and have the game “slow down”.

  33. By Champ Henson on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    ccfan 80….I’m trying to imagine what Ponder can do do with good wr’s….however, I just can’t imagine his arm getting any stronger.

  34. By vikings rule on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    the vikings will make a huge mistake and wait until 2014 to draft a qb. this next year we will be 7-9 with Ponder

  35. By Champ Henson on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    vikings rule….Exactly, right on.

  36. By Champ Henson on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    The best motivtion for Ponder to improve would be to draft a qb and declare the position as an “open competition” between the three qb’s.

  37. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    Why do any of you naysayers even come to vikings.com? Take your mediocrity and go to the Packers’ site. Loser mentality is contagious– keep this site and the Vikings healthy.

  38. By northwoodsv2 on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    Yes, Master Titus, we should all be sheep and just follow along blindly, accepting whatever the Vikings give us. We should never question them, for that would make them feel bad. We should never point out inadequacies of players, because that will bruise their fragile egos and prevent them from maturing as professionals. Heaven forbit we hold these people, who make more in one year than most people will make in a lifetime, PLAYING A FUGHKING GAME, to a higher standard of performance. No, absolutely not, should we say anything derogatory about someone who throws for 62 yards in a game when all of his peers can rack up 300.

    Let’s all just hold hands and sing praises to the bubble screen, bounce pass, looking at only one receiver during a play, and landing the ball out of bounds on a sideline route.

    Because that’s what it takes to win championships, right?

    You’re the dumbest smart person I know.

  39. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    Northwoods, you are entitled to your opinion.

  40. By Parkway on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    That’s the best post I’ve read on here for a while northwoods well done.

  41. By blues kluews on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    shame that keenan allen won’t participate in the combine. excited to see guys like Dobson and Goodwin.

  42. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    Parkway, big man on vikings campus, taking a roundabout dig at Titus. Wow– you are too cool. You must walk tall at your high school. Bravo!

  43. By Dwight Schroder on Feb 20, 2013 | Reply

    I think they should look into getting a tall receiver around 6’4 or something around that range. We haven’t really had a deep threat guy after S. Rice left for Seattle..
    Having a big guy could help C. Ponder out.

  44. By H.M.G. on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    titus
    Just saying what northwoods said is the truth.

  45. By H.M.G. on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    Now to leave this blog again before I catch Wobdingo’s rabies.

  46. By RichardA1 on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    Harvin said it was not the money, now his camp is saying its the money, thats what I’m talking about. Lets throw him off our Vikings ship!!! this is’nt football, he wants his own soap opera!

  47. By BlueBird7 on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    ^Titus

    Did I hear you say “ouch”

  48. By Frederick Jones on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    A lot of us look at the b@ll not leaving the QB soon enough. We see it go to the same receiver over, and over. We see b@lls dive into the dirt. ETC, ETC, ETC.

    But is that the O Line, the receivers, or the QB?

    I really don’t think you know. Maybe even the coaches don’t know!!!

  49. By Frederick Jones on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    A lot of times the b@all leaves the QBs hand too soon. This is fear on the part of the QB, and you really cannot blame him.

    Do you know the answer? I don’t think you do. In fact, short of getting 3 first round draft picks, I don’t think the Vikings do either.

  50. By Frederick Jones on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    Everyone says we need a receiver.

    But did you know that sometimes the O Line makes the receivers?

    No, the NFL is not “shotgun,” where everyone goes out for a pass, and nobody needs to block.

  51. By Frederick Jones on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    Aromashadu, and Harvin, those are your wide receivers. Jarius Wright, and Jenkins can come in when you need 4 wideouts.

  52. By Frederick Jones on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    What about Third Downs?

  53. By Frederick Jones on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    Keep Harvin and Peterson in on third downs.

  54. By Frederick Jones on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    Give Joe a chance in the 2nd half if the Offense is sputtering.

  55. By Frederick Jones on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    -A lot of us look at the b@ll not leaving the QB soon enough. We see it go to the same receiver over, and over. We see b@lls dive into the dirt. ETC, ETC, ETC.

    But is that the O Line, the receivers, or the QB?

    I really don’t think you know. Maybe even the coaches don’t know!!!

  56. By Frederick Jones on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    @Vikings Rule,

    You have predicted the Vikings finish 7-9 with Ponder at the QB. How do you think most great QBs are created? They are created by playing them. However the JonesMenace would like to see Joe Webb at the QB. Joe can do things no other QB in the history of the NFL could do. It would be foolish not to use him when we struggle.

  57. By Frederick Jones on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    @Vikings Rule,

    Last year RespectJonesOrElse predicted an 8-8 record for the Vikings. They were 10-6.

    I’m going to wait to make my prediction this year. They (Spielman/Studwell/etc) play games with us as to what they think. They have to. So who knows what we’ll wind up with.

  58. By Frederick Jones on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    We also have to account for injuries next year. We probably LED THE LEAGUE IN FEWEST INJURIES this year.

    We cannot count on that to happen again EVER!!!

    So we need more O Linemen. Sorry your collaboration among the O Line ain’t not gonna never ever happen.

    INJURIES SPIELMAN AND STUDWELL, INJURIES!!!

  59. By Frederick Jones on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    INJURIES SPIELMAN AND STUDWELL, INJURIES!!!

  60. By BlueBird7 on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    I don’t know about Spielman, but I do know about Scott Studwell!

    I used to watch him put the hurt on guys, so he knows about injuries!

  61. By PurplHaze on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    Fred’s busy this morning.

    As for my post, it seems folks are reading what they want to read, but not understanding the meaning.

    “Hope we don’t “settle” for one of these 3 if Patterson is available!”

    Note the word “IF”? Nowhere did I say he will be available, but IF he is, we should have done our homework on him too! You guys can play down how good Cordarrelle is all you want, but that doesn’t make the other WRs in the draft better. Cordarrelle is the REAL DEAL!

  62. By kevinwi on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    made huge mistake in my first post…meant Patton, not patterson in first paragraph. Patterson is awesome.

  63. By JP on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    The Vikes will trade Harvin to the NE Patriots for their 1st round pick (27). Vikes pick LB Ogletree with pick (23). Vikes pick LB Minter with pick (27). 2nd round, Vikes pick WR T Williams.
    Free agency pick ups – WR Bowe, OG Levitre, CB S Smith, S Byrd
    Restructure contracts of Williams and J Allen to free up cap space
    Resign – OT Loadholt, FB Felton, WR Simpson, LB Brinkley

  64. By Andy on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    Keenan Allen, and Coradelle Patterson are the TOP TWO. We need ONE OF THEM….

  65. By Vikings1 on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    By JP on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    The Vikes will trade Harvin to the NE Patriots for their 1st round pick (27). Vikes pick LB Ogletree with pick (23). Vikes pick LB Minter with pick (27). 2nd round, Vikes pick WR T Williams.
    Free agency pick ups – WR Bowe, OG Levitre, CB S Smith, S Byrd
    Restructure contracts of Williams and J Allen to free up cap space
    Resign – OT Loadholt, FB Felton, WR Simpson, LB Brinkley
    _________________________________________________________________
    At least you dream big my friend!

  66. By Brad S on Feb 22, 2013 | Reply

    Vikings need a Sidney Rice type of receiver and Hopkins fits the bill. @ shawn you have big dreams for Ponder this year. Ponder has a noodle arm, as shown when the Vikings get into the redzone and settles fo a field goal. Spielman must get a quarterback to COMPLETE with Ponder.

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