Hill, Blackmon top speedy group of wideouts, tight ends at combine
Ga. Tech's Stephen Hill ran the 40 in 4.3 seconds and showed all-around skill
OSU's Justin Blackmon performed well despite being hampered by a bad hammy
Georgia TE Orson Charles had a shot to make a statement but did not look good
A surprisingly fast group of receivers took to the field Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium and impressed scouts, performing beyond expectations. Almost a half dozen receivers leave the combine with improved draft grades. Here's a breakdown on the receivers and tight ends.
Stephen Hill/WR/Georgia Tech: Hill is proving he's the next big-time receiver prospect to come from the Georgia Tech program. He was super fast in the morning, moving his 215-pound frame to 40 times in the mid 4.3-second range. His broad jump of 11 feet, 1 inch was just three inches shy of the combine record. During the pass-catching segment Hill displayed terrific eye/hand coordination and consistently caught the ball with his hands as scouts demanded. Hill's route running was better than expected and he showed terrific balance in all his movements. His performance at the combine pushes Hill into the early part of Round 2.
Justin Blackmon/WR/Oklahoma State: Blackmon chose not to run the 40 as he injured a hamstring in the week leading up to the combine. He did participate in the pass-catching drills and looked terrific in all facets. Blackmon ran terrific routes for a big-bodied receiver. He showed good body control and balance into breaks and crisply exited routes, positioning himself to make the reception. Blackmon caught the ball exceptionally well throughout his session, just as he's done the past two seasons. A good 40 time during his pro-day workout in March will seal Blackmon as the top receiver in the draft.
Michael Floyd/WR/Notre Dame: The big question coming into the combine was how fast would Floyd run. He positively answered that question with a pair of 40s that clocked under 4.5 seconds, a terrific time for the big-bodied receiver. Floyd struggled running routes but caught the ball well in drills and made his statement to be the second receiver selected in the draft as well as a top 12 pick.
Chris Owusu/WR/Stanford: Owusu surprised scouts by running a pair of 40s that stopped watches under 4.35 seconds. He then looked terrific in the pass-catching drills running sharp, crisp routes and displaying great balance on the deep receptions. His physical skills rate highly but his history of concussions is likely to push Owusu deep into the draft.
Ladarius Green/TE/Louisiana Lafayette: Green started his workout by posting 40 times in the low 4.6 area. He later stood out in pass-catching drills, the strength of his game. Green looked natural and showed terrific balance throughout his combine workout. He showed all the skills that teams want in a tight end -- a big-bodied pass catcher who gets downfield and creates mismatches.
Travis Benjamin/WR/Miami-Fl: Benjamin was fast in the 40, posting times in the low 4.3-second range, then practiced to that speed during drills. Benjamin was fast all morning, out-running throws and showing a deep burst on long routes. He also displayed terrific quickness running underneath routes and caught the ball exceptionally well during his entire session.
Chris Givens/WR/Wake Forest: Givens was another speedy wideout who stopped watches in times touching under 4.4 seconds. He later displayed soft, consistent hands in pass-catching drills, showing good balance and body control during the entire session. Givens leaves the combining knowing he's established himself as a top 60 pick.
Devon Wylie/WR/Fresno State: Wylie started his combine workout fast, broaching 4.4 seconds flat in the 40. He then translated that stopwatch time on to the field during drills. Wylie was super quick, running terrific routes and showing great body control and balance. He caught the ball well and displayed the ability to get vertical then contort in mid air to grab passes that would otherwise fly over his head. Wylie moves towards the draft as one of the top slot receiver/return specialist combos available.
Keyshawn Martin/WR/Michigan State: Martin ran better than expected, timing in the low 4.4-second range. He then put on a clinic running routes and was one of the best receivers on the field. He was scissors sharp into breaks and showed the ability to turn on the afterburners in a single step. Martin also caught the ball well and he may now get consideration in the late part of the draft's second day.
Drake Dunsmore/TE/Northwestern: Dunsmore quietly put together one of the most impressive performances at the tight end position. His 40 time of just under 4.6 seconds was solid while his three-cone time (6.73s) and 20-yard shuttle performances (4.03s) were outstanding. Dunsmore caught the ball well in drills and though limited by a lack of height (6 feet, 2 inches) he'll make some NFL quarterback happy with his ability to consistently separate from defenders then catch the football.
Kashif Moore/WR/Connecticut: From a testing stand point, Moore was one of the best receivers in attendance. He posted a 40 time under 4.4 seconds, completed 19 reps on the bench press, and posted a vertical jump of 43.5 inches as well as 10 feet, 6 inches in the broad jump. Those final three marks were at or near the top of the receiver board.
Dwight Jones/WR/North Carolina: Jones ran an adequate time of 4.53 seconds in the 40 yet his other marks including a broad jump of 9 feet, 1 inch and vertical jump of 33 inches, were pedestrian. Jones struggled through the pass-catching workout and dropped several easy throws besides running poor routes.
Jermaine Kearse/WR/Washington: The marks on Kearse were very average, including timing just under 4.6 seconds in the 40 and a 34-inch vertical jump. During pass-catching drills Kearse did not run good routes and seemingly fought the ball, which led to untimely drops.
Orson Charles/TE/Georgia: The door was open for Charles to make a statement at the combine yet it was not to be. Charles decided not to run the 40, a skill that should be his strength, then struggled in pass-catching drills, looking off balance and dropping a few catchable passes.