Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Combine Breakdown: Wide Receivers

The story of the 2009 NFL Combine wasn’t who was participating, but rather, who wasn’t. Well, at least at the wide receiver position. Top prospects Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin both went down with injuries during the Combine.

ESPN.com’s John Clayton has since reported that Crabtree will delay his pending foot surgery until after his March 26th workout. Which means scouts will finally get to see how fast Crabtree really is.

Maclin and Crabtree were considered by most to be the top two prospects at the receiver position in the upcoming NFL Draft. Maclin was able to complete some drills and had a pretty impressive workout (4.45 – 40) before hyper-extending his knee. The injuries to Maclin and Crabtree shouldn’t hurt their draft status too much. They are still likely to be the top two receivers taken in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Darrius Heyward-Bey was one marquee receiver who was able to compete, and compete well. Heyward-Bey had the fastest 40 yard dash (4.30) and was also a top performer (top 10 at his position) in the bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone drill, and 20 yard shuttle. Heyward-Bey has enough size (6’2”, 210) that scouts will now be drooling over his 4.30 40 yard dash time. He did nothing but help his draft status and should be contending with Percy Harvin to be the third WR taken.


The Combine was a great opportunity for two slightly undersize Penn State receivers to show that they are NFL material. One seized the opportunity while the other would like another chance. Former defensive back and walk-on Deon Butler was the one impressing scouts last weekend, and not the five star ‘do-everything’ athlete Derrick Williams. Butler proved that the Big Ten does have speed as he clocked in a 4.38 40 yard dash. On the other hand, Williams must have left his running shoes at home, running a disappointing 4.58.

My Top Five Wide Receiver Performers at the Combine:
1. Darrius Heyward-Bey, 4.30-40, 38.5 inch vertical jump
2. Mike Wallace, 4.33-40, 40.0 inch vertical jump
3. Mike Thomas, 4.40-40, 40.5 inch vertical jump
4. Deon Butler, 4.38-40, 37.0 inch vertical jump
5. Percy Harvin, 4.41-40, DNP in vertical jump
Photo from Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

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