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Summer School

2014 Season Preview: WRs

by Josh Norris
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET


Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma (formerly Missouri)

Where He Wins: Can create that sliver of separation with timing to come down with contested catches despite tight coverage. Does not mind hand fighting along the sideline, extends against armbars. Is bigger than corners and knows it, out leaps them when high pointing after cutting in front to gain positioning. Fights for yards after catch when catching screen passes. Can eat up cushion quickly thanks to burst and long strides off the line. WIll be difficult to slow down once in stride. Adjusts hands and footwork to get off jam.

Where He Fits: Predominantly an outside on the line of scrimmage WR. Tunnel and other screens when in the slot. Might be even better downfield in NFL because of illegal contact rule, would allow for easier release when wanting to high point. First one down the field on vertical routes.

NFL Comparison: AJ Green

DeVante Parker, Louisville

Where He Wins: Receiver on the line of scrimmage on single side. Uses step under to release off the line versus out stretched corner. Does not give up on his crossing route, continues from opposite side when quarterback breaks the pocket. Frequently pulled two defenders downfield, leaving check downs open underneath. Abruptly makes cuts off inside or outside foot. Body control to make contested catches off the ground is obvious. High points extremely well. Creates that sliver of space to win against tight coverage. Aggressively works back towards his QB on comebacks. Finds open areas on hot reads.

Where He Fits: Rarely see him as the inside receiver, and is in motion even less often. Is not a willing blocker. Limited YAC when approaching oncoming defender. Likes to play the ball in the air. Hand use upon release could be improved.

NFL Comparison: Hakeem Nicks

Day Two

Devin Funchess, Michigan

Where He Wins: Can really get down the field for someone his size. Ran a number of vertical routes with late inside or outside breaks. Willingly climbs the ladder to make contested catches. Uses hands and length to get into preferred position and separate during his route. Turns head quickly on short seam routes in trash. Will adjust to either shoulder on inaccurate passes. Plenty of quick hitting catches on curls or slow seams within seven yards. Can win at every level of the field.

Where He Fits: Moving from “TE” to outside ”WR.” Split time between inline, slot and outside in 2013, with majority seemingly from two point in the slot. There is room to improve on contested catches, has the frame to dominate there. Tough targets are in his hands but ultimately dropped too often for it to be his calling card. Does not seem comfortable on bucket catches.

NFL Comparison: Kelvin Benjamin with short completions mixed in and even more drops.

Rashad Greene, FSU

Where He Wins: Saw more time on the outside in 2012, mostly inside in multiple receiver sets in 2013, but won at each spot. Combines fluidity and burst in his breaks and routes. Targets shoulders when facing press coverage, leverages to avoid jams. Unafraid to catch passes away from his body when led to the sideline. Sustains separation in routes and with the ball in his hands. Let him run a lot of underneath and breaking routes, hopefully there is room to pick up YAC. Will sit in open areas versus zone and can escape diving defenders.

Where He Fits: Best as a slot receiver and wins on the ground. Might struggle to come down with contested catches over the middle of the field and occasionally was bullied on sideline routes. Don’t ask him to do things he can’t.

NFL Comparison: Doug Baldwin

Amari Cooper, Alabama

Where He Wins: Utilizes plenty of quick moves to make the jam whiff, instead of using a vertical get off. Frequently takes the top off coverages, especially from the slot versus zone, but ball trajectory holds him up. Has plenty of speed with the ball in his hands. Repeatedly had to slow his stride and pause for the football near the top of his route, but did so rather than leaving QB out to dry.

Where He Fits: Frequently lines up on the line of scrimmage, but does see some time as movement receiver. Needs to finish catches, especially along the sideline and over the middle with closing defenders. Does not run at full speed at all times during routes. He’s an on the ground receiver, but does flash some lateral moves to pick up yards there.

NFL Comparison: Donnie Avery

Nelson Agholor, USC

Where He Wins: An extremely fluid mover, can round cuts or make quick breaks. Sets up off corners with a stem, can shoot past them when going vertically and then force them to flip their hips early on a comeback on the next play. Can make catches away from his body when being led downfield. Placed as the slot receiver on twins side. Willing to occupy defenders as a blocker. Flashes some yards after catch skills by running away from defenses and using stiff arms to sustain space.

Where He Fits: Saw time as the Z when Marqise Lee was not on the field. Eats up a lot of cushion. Biggest question is how he handles contact during routes. Contested catches are his biggest issue, and even drops some extended targets over the middle.

NFL Comparison: James Jones

Ty Montgomery, Stanford

Where He Wins: Used as a kick returner and has very good straight-line speed. Reads blocks so well when running back kicks. Will leave his feet and climb the ladder to try and bring down contested catches. Just runs by defenders on vertical routes when given a free release. Comfortable on over the shoulder catches. Quick lateral then upfield moves after the catch. Flashes toughness with the ball in his hand. Looks very fluid against off coverage, keeps corner moving.

Where He Fits: Frequently used as the move receiver off the line of scrimmage, both inside and outside and in the slot. For as fast as he is, he could use more speed in his routes (might be for timing purposes). Does not always come down with contested catches.

NFL Comparison: Ted Ginn (Cian Fahey)

Jaelen Strong, Arizona State

Where He Wins: Typically played on the line of scrimmage. Really like what he does on routes between the numbers. Stays strong from the slot, can win against trailing defenders. Puts foot in dirt and gets upfield after the catch. Like how he runs vertical routes from the slot against zone. Plenty of inside breaking and crossing routes. Flashes strength after the catch.

Where He Fits: Needs to play to his size more often. Dropped some contested catches that would make him a more intriguing prospect.

NFL Comparison: Rueben Randle

Fringe Day-Two or Day-Three

Antwan Goodley, Baylor

Where He Wins: Really plays the position like a running back. Plays with low shoulders, tries to barrel through arm tackles, which is different than many receivers. Runs routes at full speed but slows down the closer the ball gets to him. Uses swim and hands to release past corners on downfield routes. Quick and explosive cuts after the catch. Likes to square his shoulders and juke.

Where He Fits: Typically on the line of scrimmage as an outside receiver. Looks extremely uncomfortable catching in traffic or when asked to extend arms/hands away from his body. Like he is catching with oven mitts.

NFL Comparison: Greg Little

Stefon Diggs, Maryland

Where He Wins: Once the pedal is pushed, he can fly. Displays good vision with the ball in his hands. Shows sideline awareness to keep toe in bounds in small sample of instances when forced there. A willing blocker. Confidence as a runner grows as the game goes along. Might be at his best on underneath patterns to run after the catch and vertical routes to run past defenses. Good things happen when he is decisive.

Where He Fits: Frequently lined up in the slot in three wide sets and occasionally saw time in the backfield. Seemed to gear down when not in open areas. Sees time on the edge, but usually takes an inside stem.

NFL Comparison: Chris Givens

Justin Hardy, ECU

Where He Wins: Underneath receiver. Loves to dip his shoulder to release off the line versus press coverage. Very quick in his cuts and breaks, not as explosive after the catch. Continues to move to mirror QB if passer escapes the pocket. Works back towards his QB. So many of his routes are quick movements before seven yards. Frequently keeps his defender guessing, cuts before their reads can be made against off coverage. Flashes some real body adjustments to make tough catches.

Where He Fits: ECU runs multiple WR sets (three, four or five), but he rarely played outside of the slot. Does not absorb contact very well from the slot when making breaks. Does not mind leaving his feet for high targets, but body size or strength is not there to box out. Vertical speed might be a question. Is there a Justin Hardy in every draft?

NFL Comparison: Julian Edelman

Devante Davis, UNLV

Where He Wins: Can create separation with strength. Pushes off or through at the line to beat a jam. Hand fights to create space. Uses frame to box out. Flashes some yards after catch with strength if up to speed. Uses a stiff arm after the catch. Keeps working to find open areas when QB escapes pocket. Likes crossing over defender’s face on inside routes.

Where He Fits: Does not separate well enough on the ground. Not sudden. Carries over into yards after catch in terms of lacking quick twitch movements beyond occasional flash.

NFL Comparison: Marvin McNutt

Josh Norris
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 .