Josh Norris

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Draft 2012: The Wide Receivers

Friday, April 20, 2012

8. Chris Givens, Wake Forest

Height/Weight: 5'11/198
College Experience: Fourth-year junior
Pro Day #s: 4.41 forty, 1.57 10-yd split, 19 x 225, 33.5" vertical, 9'10" broad jump, 4.23 ss
Style Comparison: Mario Manningham
2011 Stats: 83 - 1330 (7.6) - 9 TDs
Draft Prediction: Bears, No. 79 overall.

Positives/Negatives: Givens' production is even more amazing after watching him repeatedly underthrown by his weak-armed college quarterback. Possessing legit vertical speed, Givens sustains separation with fluid routes at multiple levels. His college route tree was limited, but he looks comfortable in the slot or split out wide. Givens lacks an elite burst from a slowed pace and looks slower with the ball in his hands despite good one-on-one open-field wiggle. Givens shines sifting through traffic on crossing routes and using an inside arm bar versus press coverage at the line. He could clean up bobbles when body catching, but Givens seems to break his routes off at the precise time when the defensive back is off balance. This timing is tough to teach, and Givens always keeps his isolation matchup on their toes. Even when the cornerback stays with him, Givens is one of the best in this class at dealing with contact during routes.

Outlook: Givens has been overlooked throughout the draft process after leaving Wake Forest early. He needs to clean up his cuts and reduce bobbles, but Givens can help immediately as a slot weapon that specializes in vertical routes.

9. Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
Height/Weight: 6'4/215
College Experience: Third-year junior
Combine #s: 4.45 forty, 1.49 10-yd split, 14 x 225, 39.5" vertical, 11'1" broad jump, 4.48 ss
Style Comparison: Incomplete
2011 Stats: 28 - 820 (7.3) - 5 TDs
Draft Prediction: 49ers, No. 30 overall.

Positives/Negatives: It is nearly impossible to evaluate Hill without NFL resources. Many of his catches came from blown coverages, where the Yellow Jackets' rare passing attack immediately opened up the field for Hill. Otherwise, Hill only ran three routes; fade, bubble screen, and a five-yard out (which was sloppy). The results were mixed, as Hill produced highlight-reel grabs while often dropping simple conversions. Hill possesses unbelievable straight-line speed for his size, but his inability to lower his center of gravity on cuts forces Hill to lose quite a bit of momentum and, in turn, separation. Teams have the luxury of putting Hill through workouts, including full route trees, so their evaluations will be a lot more thorough than mine. Because I stick to on-field evaluations, I am forced to give a safe grade to Hill despite the tremendous upside. I can say that unless he cleans up his cuts and routes, Hill will be limited to a vertical target.

Outlook: There really is no comparable NFL player for Hill. The play he put on tape is incredibly raw, but obviously the extreme upside is enticing. He could be a great bargain for a team with enough time to develop him.

10. Jarius Wright, Arkansas

Height/Weight: 5'10/182
College Experience: Fourth-year senior
Combine #s: 4.42 forty, 1.55 10-yd split, 11 x 225, 38" vertical, 10' broad, 4.03 ss
Style Comparison: Eddie Royal
2011 Stats: 249 - 1,517 (6.1) - 19 TDs; 17 - 171 (10.1) - 4 TDs
Draft Prediction: 49ers, No. 92 overall.

Positives/Negatives: Arkansas' all-time leader in receptions, Wright made his mark in the slot and will ride that position into the NFL. His quickness is easily among the best in this class, eating up cushion in just a few steps with excellent wiggle in routes and cuts. Wright could minimize his footwork on multiple-breaking routes, but it is very difficult to keep up with him in space. Despite rarely leaving his feet on catches, Wright exhibits plus concentration when catching tipped passes during contact. However, other than speed, Wright is limited after the catch. He is a very limited blocker who whiffs on crack backs.

Outlook: He won't dominate after the catch, but Wright beats press coverage despite a thin frame while jerking defensive backs in multiple directions on inside routes. He will make an early impact on returns and quick slot routes.

11. Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina - 4.54 forty at 6'3/216 ... 16.6 career YPR ... 49 catches last season ... Played overweight but has lost nearly 30 pounds ... Foundation of his game is making catches in traffic ... Lacks separation skills and struggles versus physical corners ... 88/1,517 season as a sophomore ... Can he keep the weight off and improve his limited separation skills? ... Went four straight games last year with fewer than 25 receiving yards.

12. Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers - 4.67 at 6'2/211 ... 10.8 career YPR ... 115 catches last year ... 125 career rushes for 706 yards and nine TDs ... Will make a living on intermediate routes ... Very strong hands in traffic ... Lacks downfield speed and an overall burst to his game; limited to underneath routes.

13. A.J. Jenkins, Illinois - 4.39 at 6'0/190 ... 14.6 career YPR ... 90 catches last season ...Versatile; comfortable in slot or out wide ... Fluid route runner with great catch radius ...Needs to work back to QB ... Willing blocker.

14. T.Y. Hilton, Florida International - 4.34 at 5'10/183 ... 15.4 career YPR ... 72 catches last season ... 27-yard career kick return average with four TDs; 12.5 punt return average with two TDs ... Explosive slot receiver, excellent intermediate burst and vertical speed ... Can't stay healthy; even got hurt at Pro Day.

15. Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma - 4.57 at 5'10/192 ... 13.1 career YPR with 48 TDs... 83 catches last year in only nine games ... Suffered late-season torn ACL ... Heralded prospect before injury ... Recovering nicely, ran 4.57 forty at Pro Day ... Natural slot receiver ... Mature movements with burst to separate.

Other WRs on the NFL draft radar - Keshawn Martin (Michigan State), Devon Wylie (Fresno State), Tommy Streeter (Miami), DeVier Posey (Ohio State), Danny Coale (Virginia Tech), Nick Toon (Wisconsin), Chris Rainey (Florida), LaVon Brazill (Ohio), B.J. Cunningham (Michigan State), T.J. Graham (N.C. State), Marvin McNutt (Iowa), Rishard Matthews (Nevada), Juron Criner (Arizona), Jeff Fuller (Texas A&M), Dwight Jones (UNC), Jordan White (Western Michigan), Tim Benford (Tennessee Tech), Greg Childs (Arkansas), Junior Hemingway (Michigan), Eric Page (Toledo), Travis Benjamin (Miami), Marquis Maze (Alabama), Gerell Robinson (Arizona State), Jermaine Kearse (Washington), Chris Owusu (Stanford).

Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Josh Norris

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