Colts NFL Combine preview: wide receivers
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – NFL prospects report to the Combine, or underwear Olympics as it’s sometimes called, this week. Franchises will get the chance to interview players, many of whom teams will be speaking with for the first time. Medical checks are always crucial as well. Last year we saw potential first-round pick Maurice Hurst fall to the fifth round after a medical check brought to light his heart condition. For others, medical checks will be an opportunity to show teams they have recovered from a previous injury and are ready to contribute.
The real fun starts March 1 when workouts officially begin. That Friday we’ll see running backs, offensive linemen and special teamers, positions the Colts solidified through last year’s draft. Saturday we’ll watch quarterbacks, tight ends and wide receivers. Defensive linemen and linebackers will run drills on Sunday, followed by defensive backs on Monday.
While game tape accounts for the majority of a prospect’s evaluation, the Combine is a chance for players to distinguish themselves from the pack. Getting official measurements and times can help teams separate guys who are closely ranked. Though the Combine is far from an end-all-be-all, it will certainly have an impact on most players’ draft stock.
With three draft picks in the first two rounds, and four in the first 90 selections, the Colts have an opportunity to add several more starters to their young nucleus. General manager Chris Ballard’s first two picks last year (Quinton Nelson & Darius Leonard) were elected First-Team All-Pro as rookies. The next Colts star will likely be in Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend.
Colts Draft Picks
First Round – 26th Overall
Second Round – 34th Overall (From Jets)
Second Round – 59th Overall
Third Round – 90th Overall
Fourth Round – 123rd Overall
Fourth Round – 135th Overall (Compensatory)
Fifth Round- 154th Overall
Sixth Round – 187th Overall
Seventh Round – 218th Overall
Indianapolis lacks the weapons to win shootouts right now. The Colts went 0-5 this past season (including playoffs) when their opponents scored 30 or more points. Chester Rogers finished second among Colts wide receivers with 485 receiving yards. His 30.3 receiving yards per game average was the second-fewest of any team’s number-two wide receiver. Whatever angle you look at it, upgrading the receiving corps should be one of Ballard’s top priorities. Here’s a look at some of the best receiver prospects performing at the Combine.
D.K. Metcalf – RS Sophomore – Ole Miss
Listed Height: 6’4”– Listed Weight: 230 lbs
A size-speed freak who routinely makes highlight-reel catches, Metcalf is expected to post eye-popping Combine numbers. His medical evaluations will be critical after suffering a broken neck in October.
N’Keal Harry – Junior – Arizona State
Listed Height: 6’4”– Listed Weight: 216 lbs
Harry has a colossal catch radius and excels at running with the ball in his hands. His ability to separate has been questioned, placing an added emphasis on how he runs at the Combine.
Kelvin Harmon – Junior – North Carolina State
Listed Height: 6’3”– Listed Weight: 214 lbs
Maybe the most well-rounded receiver in this class, Harmon runs polished routes, has strong hands and good size. He could put himself in the round-one conversation with an impressive 40-yard-dash time.
Deebo Samuel – RS Senior – South Carolina
Listed Height: 5’11”– Listed Weight: 216 lbs
Samuel has the quickness and route running prowess to make defenders look silly. He is a versatile weapon with experience taking handoffs and returning kicks, but his injury history is concerning.
Riley Ridley – Junior – Georgia
Listed Height: 6’2”– Listed Weight: 200 lbs
Riley is a bigger version of his brother Calvin, who turned heads as a rookie for the Falcons. Georgia’s run-heavy offense limited his production, but Riley can illustrate his desirable traits at the Combine.
Hakeem Butler – RS Junior – Iowa State
Listed Height: 6’6”– Listed Weight: 225 lbs
Butler uses his size to box-out defenders, win jump balls and run through defensive backs. Like other large receivers in this class, his performance in the speed drills will determine how high he is drafted.
A.J. Brown – Junior – Ole Miss
Listed Height: 6’1”– Listed Weight: 230 lbs
Brown was productive from the slot in college, which is where he belongs in the NFL. He runs crafty routes and is savvy after the catch but lacks top-end speed and burst. Combine measurables will be key.