NFL standards when it comes to the receiver position always covet size and speed. This mentality pushes those players above a shorter and or slower player, in many cases, there is a total disregard for production. I break up receivers into three categories so that shorter or slower playermakers don’t get lost in the process, allowing them to receive the final grades they deserve. A receiver with good height, weight and speed is considered clean, or WR. A receiver lacking the idea speed for the position (4.55 or slower) is slotted in the WRs category, and receivers with diminished height (5-9 or shorter) are tagged and put in the category of WRz. A lot of teams dropped Anquan Boldin, now a member of the San Francisco 49ers, out of the first three rounds after he ran a 4.60 on grass in 2003. But, when you turn on his DNA (film) you see a player who played faster than timed and had RAC (run after catch) skills that were excellent and yielded very good production.
During my 15 years in the league I quickly understood there is no perfect size for a football player, and this is why I break it down this way. Blue players (playmakers and difference-makers) come in all sizes and speeds. I also understand that if you draft a lot of short players, you will eventually have a short team. Likewise, if there are too many slow players on the roster, you have built a slow team. All 32 teams have a scheme fit and positional draft guidelines that they strictly follow when building their roster and championship foundation.
Character: Leader in the locker room, community involvement, off-field issues (arrests, drugs, domestic incidents, guns, tickets, etc.).
Football Intelligence: Student of the game, film study, playbook memorization, ability to process and regurgitate information with recall.
Mental Awareness: Intelligence, ability to take hard coaching, understanding role on team and position assignments. Ability to process and retain football information.
Leadership: Natural-born leader, locker-room guy, team captain.
Competitiveness: A clutch player with a win-at-all-cost attitude, with a high level of intensity. He is at his best under adverse and pressure situations. He has confidence in himself and his teammates have confidence in him.
Toughness: A clutch player to consistently deliver under tough, pressurized situations. Has the ability to play when injured, or hurt, if the team needs him.
Production: Produce under pressure in critical situations as a runner, receiver and blocker.
Blocking: Attitude and temperament, three points of contact, strength/explosion; lead blocker; pass blocking; blocking on the move; toughness; aggressiveness; willingness; 3-E (eye, ear, elbow), downfield, uninterested and avoids contact.
Durability: Stamina; endurance; injury history for position and the ability to play hurt.
Receiving Skills: RAC (run after catch) elusiveness; vision in open space; playmaker; catch-in-a-crowd toughness; production, track over the shoulder, contort and climb ladder, diving effort, won’t get dirty,
Athletic Skill Set
Start: Quickness and explosiveness out of stance.
Initial quickness: Initial movement out of stance, .
Release: Hand combat and escapability; strength/explosion against bump; body language and head fake, elude press man, shake and avoid off LOS.
Burst/Acceleration: Increase acceleration into route.
Speed: Playing speed in pads; one speed; long strider; gear change with acceleration; short strider.
Concentration: Courage in a crowd, across the middle; running alone.
Routes: Stride; speed and quickness in/out of cuts; sharp; round; gear down in space, sluggish, lacks separation; sideline awareness with tap shoe drag.
Separation: Quickness out of break from defender; speed to run away in space.
Catching Ability: Make the tough catch – body, craddle, trap.
Ball Reaction: Find and adjust to ball in flight; track on the move.
Toughness: Ability to want and make the tough catch.
Adjustments: Physical adjustment; over shoulders; high and low; underthrown; jumping ability.
Hands: Hard/soft; sure; extend arms outside frame; strong.
Run after Catch: Vision; burst/acceleration; playmaker; elusiveness in space; production.
Durability: Stamina/endurance; injury history for position.
Special Teams: Return skills (KOR/PR); coverage ability; holder.
(*) = Underclassmen
Alabama Amari Cooper 6’0 – 211* WR Top 10
West Virginia Kevin White 6’2 – 215 WR Top 15
Louisville DeVante Parker 6’2 – 209 WR 1st Rd
USC Nelson Agholor 6’0 – 198* WR 1st Rd – 2nd Rd (Return specialist)
Arizona State Jaelen Strong 6’2 – 217* WR 1st Rd – 2nd Rd
Others to Watch
Missouri Dorial Green-Beckham 6’5 – 237* WR 2nd Rd
Central Florida Breshad Perriman 6’2 – 212* WR 2nd Rd
Ohio State Devin Smith 6’0 – 196 WR 2nd Rd (Return Specialist)
Georgia Chris Conley 6’1 – 213 WR 2nd Rd
Miami Phillip Dorsett 5’9 – 186 WRz 2nd Rd (Return Specialist)
Auburn Sammie Coates 6’1 – 212* WR 2nd Rd – 3rd Rd
William & Mary Douglas McBride 6’0 – 210 WR 2nd Rd – 3rd Rd (Return Specialist)
Michigan Devin Funchess 6’4 – 232* WRs 3rd Rd
Kansas State Tyler Lockett 5’9 – 182 WRz 3rd Rd (Return Specialist)
Stanford Ty Montgomery 5’11 – 221 WR 3rd Rd (Return Specilist)
Alabama-Birmingham Jamarcus Nelson 5’10 – 156 WR 3rd – 4th Rd (Return specialist)