Skip to main content

2017 Combine Preview: Wide receiver

How much a need the receiver position will be for the Detroit Lions this offseason sort of depends on the future of pending free agents Anquan Boldin and Andre Roberts.

Both Boldin and Roberts played key roles for the Lions last season, and if they return, they could slot in behind Golden Tate and Marvin Jones on the depth chart. As of the Super Bowl, Boldin hadn't made a decision about playing a 15th season in 2017.

Youngsters TJ Jones, Jace Billingsley and others will attempt to carve out roster spots and roles for themselves as well.

No matter what happens with those moving pieces, the Lions could stand to add more speed at receiver. The position could use a true speedster to take the top off a defense.

With the NFL Scouting Combine taking place next week, here's a look at some of the more speedy receivers to keep an eye on during the week in Indianapolis:


School: Western Michigan

View photos of the prospects participating in the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine.

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 213

Best trait: Size speed combination. The 2016 Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year, he was the all-time leader in major college football in receiving yards (5,285). He was a man among boys in the MAC conference.

Concern: He injured an ankle after the season that required surgery, and he will not participate in on-the-field drills at the Combine. The medical evaluations (if he goes through them) will be important. He had 16 drops over the last three years.

The skinny: Davis is a very good route runner, which makes him so hard to defend because of his size and speed combination. He can make plays in all three levels of a defense, and just might be the best receiver available in this draft.


School: Washington

Ht/Wt: 5-11, 190

Best trait: Straight line speed. He's expected to put on a show in the 40-yard dash at the Combine. Defenders have to respect his speed so much that it opens up the underneath routes for him. He caught 81 passes for 1,150 yards this past season with 17 touchdowns, which tied for second in the country.

Concern: He's on the smaller side and isn't particularly tough in traffic. He missed all of 2015 due to knee injuries, so that will have to check out on the Combine medicals.

The skinny: Ross can take the top off a defense. He scored 23 touchdowns in 112 total touches in college. A team looking for a true deep threat will have Ross high on their list.


School: Oklahoma

Ht/Wt: 6-0, 176

Best trait: Big play threat. More than 25 percent of his catches went for 25-plus yards in 2016. He was responsible for 12 touchdowns of at least 40 yards this past season.

Concern: There are obvious concerns about his thin frame. He had some off-the-field issues that teams will address in the interview process.

The skinny: He made big play after big play for the Sooner offense last season. He led the nation in receptions of 20-plus yards (26), 50-plus yards (7), 60-plus yards (6), and 70-plus yards (3). He recorded 17 total touchdowns and can also return punts (16.2 average) and kicks (27.1). He simply finds a way to make big plays.


School: Ohio State

Ht/Wt: 5-11, 197

Best trait: Jack-of-all-trades. He did it all for the Buckeyes and was the only player in the nation with at least 700 rushing and 800 receiving yards last season. Samuel led the Big Ten with 128.8 all-purpose yards a game, but projects more as a receiver at the NFL level.

Concern: He doesn't have natural hands, and his route running will need work at the next level.

The skinny: He's explosive both vertically and out of his breaks. He led Ohio State with 17 plays of 20 or more yards. He also has experience returning kicks. His raw speed and do-it-all capabilities will fit nicely in a creative scheme.


School: Virginia Tech

Ht/Wt: 6-2, 195

Best trait: Polished. Ford led the Hokies each of the last two seasons in receptions (154), yards (2,258) and touchdowns (18). He's a terrific athlete with good height and terrific vertical speed.

Concern: His play strength is a concern as physical NFL cornerbacks will likely challenge him at the line of scrimmage and force him to get stronger.

The skinny: He has the height and speed to be a good deep ball threat in the NFL.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content