NFL Draft 2012: 5 Signs Baylor Bears' WR Kendall Wright Will Be a Stud
In a league obsessed with size, the steal of the 2012 NFL Draft could prove ultimately to be Baylor speed demon Kendall Wright, a pint-sized production machine.
With teams having a tendency to draft taller receivers, regardless of their resumes or shortcomings, small receivers such as the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Wallace have slipped through the cracks in previous drafts, making teams regret overlooking college production numbers.
For any team neglecting to look at the former Baylor Bear star's body of work over the past four years, they will be haunted by their lack of interest once they see the impact he will have at the next level. Though he is only 5'10", there is no denying his natural wideout ability.
He will be a home run threat every single possession he lines up on the field, and is exactly the kind of dangerous player that keeps a defense on their toes.
He has evoked comparisons to the Carolina Panthers' Steve Smith and Green Bay Packers' star Greg Jennings, two other vertically challenged wide receivers who have shined professionally.
Kendall Wright is going to be a star at the NFL level, if only for his electric playmaking ability. Here are five reasons he will shine as soon as he starts suiting up on Sundays.
Production and Experience
The production and experience of Baylor's Kendall Wright should have teams convinced that he will be a stud at the next level. The list of his accomplishments with the Baylor Bears is dizzying.
He was a four-year starter in Waco, and entered the program as a true freshman and became an immediate contributor. In his first season, he set Baylor records with 50 receptions for 649 yards. He also hauled in five touchdown passes.
In his sophomore season, he caught 66 balls for 740 yards and another four scores. In 2010, his junior season, he really started to dominate the Big 12 Conference. He blazed his way to 78 catches totaling 952 yards and seven touchdowns. As we all know, this past season was a banner year for him while playing alongside Robert Griffin III. In 2011, he exploded for 108 receptions and 1,663 yards while hauling in 14 touchdowns and earning a spot on the 2011 All-Big 12 First Team.
Over the course of his Baylor career, he has consistently improved in each of his four seasons on campus, and in the process, has built quite an impressive resume to showcase to NFL teams.
The explosive 5'10" Baylor star contains the rare acceleration to excel at the NFL level. He cuts extremely hard and it doesn't take long for him to reach full speed in the open field. If you don't wrap him up and he is able to break the initial tackle, he is capable of taking it the distance with his speed.
He is very good at showing just how great his acceleration is when he is in and out of breaks, creating separation from the defender. Because of just how good he is in this aspect of his game, defenders are hesitant to press him at the line, and if they do, he is just as good blowing by them and grabbing the deep balls.
If we are talking about players in college football last season who had the best hands, Kendall Wright has to be in the discussion.
He makes catches down low where taller and more rangy receivers would not be able to grab them. Also, he is skilled at plucking balls out of the air and getting to many jump balls that you wouldn't think he would be able to get.
He is fearless running across the middle of the field in order to make catches and has shown an ability to make catches in traffic over the course of his career. He also tracks the ball extremely well while chasing them downfield.
You can doubt his height all you want, but the one area of his game that you can't argue with is that he has absolutely blazing speed. In the 40 yard dash, his time is anywhere in the 4.3-4.4 range, which is elite for an NFL receiver.
Because he contains such explosive speed and quickness, it is hard for defenders to make the proper angles while in pursuit of him. Over the course of his career, he has shown the ability to separate himself from even the best defenders, making him a deep threat every time he is on the field.
Potential Devastating Return Man
When looking to draft Kendall Wright into their franchises, prospective NFL teams must also take into account the fact that he could be a valuable asset to the team in their return game.
His elite speed would set him apart from other 2012 draft prospects, and his natural quickness and agility is especially intriguing since he only had five punt return opportunities in his senior season at Baylor.
One would have to assume that this was because he was so crucial to their offensive arsenal that head coach Art Briles didn't want to risk injuring his key playmaker.
At the next level, his future NFL team can take a chance on molding him into a superstar kick and/or punt return specialist if he isn't getting as many reps at wideout.