More Potential Day 2 Prospects
Martavis Bryant, Clemson (6’5″, 200 pounds)
When watching Clemson’s offense, one’s attention tends to shift toward Watkins, but Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris said in September that he thought Bryant was “every bit as good of an athlete” as Watkins, according to ESPN’s Heather Dinich. His statistics indicate an ability to get deep, and he has proven that he can make a big play when needed, but his incredible speed and athleticism isn’t as apparent on the field as one would like to see.
If the speed Morris and others have raved about is indeed there, he could be a truly explosive player if he can combine that with his 6’5” frame and develop consistency. Whoever drafts Bryant is going to be taking a risk based on his size and likely strong combine performance, but the risk could pay off in a big way if he becomes a more polished player.
Brandon Coleman, Rutgers (6’6″, 220 pounds)
Coming out of his junior season at Rutgers, Coleman is more raw materials than a finished product. He showed flashes of brilliance at Rutgers, and is 6’6″ with a huge amount of raw athleticism and quickness, but so far his game just hasn’t fully come together.
Coleman has decent body control and the ability to get behind defenders, but he also drops passes he shouldn’t, doesn’t always catch with his hands and lacks polish in his route-running. Yet although he is a work in progress, his size and natural talents might make someone take a chance before the end of Day 2.
Day 3 Options
Cody Latimer, Indiana (6’3″, 215 pounds)
Another athletic receiver with an impressive combination of speed and agility, Latimer caught 135 passes for more than 2,000 yards in his career at Indiana. A good route-runner, Latimer creates separation easily and is able to make defenders miss in the open field. He adjusts well to balls in the air and shows the physicality one likes to see from bigger receivers.
Latimer has had some concentration lapses that have kept him from being consistently great, but he has the skills to be a very good wide receiver. The Bills might be hesitant to take another larger Indiana receiver after 2008 second-round pick James Hardy turned out to be a bust, but Latimer should come with far less risk as a likely Day 3 draft pick.
Kevin Norwood, Alabama (6’2″, 197 pounds)
Norwood does everything well but nothing great. He might be the most well-rounded wide receiver prospect in the 2014 draft. He is a solid route runner, has very good hands, makes good adjustments to the ball in the air and has the long speed to beat people over the top. He is not overly quick and does not gain separation as easily as some of the other receivers in this year’s draft class, but Norwood would bring real value as a physical possession receiver as a Day 3 draft pick.
L’Damian Washington, Missouri (6’4″, 205 pounds)
Washington is a high-upside prospect with impressive measurables. He is another player who is relatively raw but has shown solid, if inconsistent, ability to run crisp routes and create separation. His strength and quickness make him tough to cover on deep passes, but he needs to get better at catching the ball with his hands and not his body if he wants to be a true deep threat. With the flashes he has shown in college, it’s not a stretch to think Washington could be an NFL difference-maker with the right coaching.
Devin Street, Pittsburgh (6’4″, 195 pounds)
An impressively large target, Devin Street might be the best jump-ball receiver in this year’s draft class. His timing is nearly perfect and he can secure passes with just his hands rather easily. He has also become adept at adjusting to underthrown or poorly thrown passes, keeping plays alive and controlling his body when reaching for a pass.
Being the best jump ball receiver, however, is not enough to propel him into the top groups of receivers. Despite the above skills and the flashes he showed in college, Street is not an overly physical receiver and can get bumped off of his routes. He tries to make tacklers miss in the open field rather than using his strength to create space or earn extra yards. He also does not seem particularly fond of going over the middle, and he has had some fumbling issues. Street is one of the more gifted talents in the draft, but he has not quite put it all together.
Cody Hoffman, BYU (6’4″, 218 pounds)
Hoffman is a talented prospect, but his senior season did not live up to expectations. He possesses the tools to be a future No. 1 receiver in the NFL: he is a physical player with good body control, above-average athleticism for his size and strong hands. He positions himself well between quarterbacks and defenders and is an NFL-ready route runner. He has solid skills after the catch and is tough to tackle for most defensive backs, but he needs to show more consistency.
Jeff Janis, Saginaw Valley State (6’2″ 212 pounds)
A Division II product who participated in this year’s Senior Bowl, Janis is another big wide receiver who could draw looks, possibly from the Bills, on Day 3.
If the Bills were to come out of this draft with one more solid, physical wide receiver, the offense could be helped immensely. I don’t believe it’s time to cut Stevie Johnson, and both Woods and Goodwin showed real talent in the first seasons, but the Bills should still be in the market for a big receiver and a pass-catching tight end. The Bills’ second-round pick might be high enough to select Robinson, Benjamin or Matthews, but they also might be able to wait and still get a starting-caliber talent in Moncrief or Bryant.
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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, Allen Robinson, Brandon Coleman, Cody Hoffman, Cody Latimer, Davante Adams, Devin Street, Donte Moncrief, Jared Abbrederis, Jeff Janis, Jordan Matthews, Kelvin Benjamin, Kevin Norwood, L'Damian Washington, Martavis Bryant, Mike Evans, Potential Bills, Sammy Watkins, Wide Receivers