As I often do, I had a chance to talk with scout Chris Landry last Friday. I wanted to get his take on a number of wide receivers who could be available in the second round.
The Green Bay Packers could be very interested in some of these receivers.
The Packers recently lost veteran wide receiver James Jones to the Oakland Raiders via free agency, and although the Packers still have players like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin at wide receiver, along with some other young prospects, the Packers might look to grab a wide receiver early in the draft.
For one thing, the wide receiver class is very deep in this year's draft. Then there is the track record of Ted Thompson, when it comes to drafting wide receivers in the second round.
Thompson has done that four times. He drafted Terrence Murphy from Texas A&M in 2005, Greg Jennings from Western Michigan in 2006, Nelson from Kansas State in 2008 and Cobb from Kentucky in 2011.
Thompson also drafted Jones from San Jose State in the third round in 2007.
First, Chris broke down the talent of three wide receivers who played their college ball in the SEC. He started by talking about Jordan Matthews from Vanderbilt:
"Jordan Matthews ran extremely well at the combine. He didn't play with the type of vertical speed he showed, but they didn't do a whole lot with him because of their quarterback situation. They didn't go vertical a lot. But he showed some interesting qualities to go vertical based upon his pure raw speed. He is a really good physical player, who I thought was more of a possession guy, but with that type of vertical speed, I think he helped himself at the combine."
Then Chris talked about the two wide receivers from LSU, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry:
"Odell Beckham is a little more explosive. A little faster. Great hands. Strong runner after the catch. Good returner. Jarvis Landry is Anquan Boldin and Hines Ward all over. He has big, strong mitts that catches everything like a spider web. Runs better and plays better than his timed-speed. But he's not a speed guy. Both of them will play and will have impacts. Jarvis is more of a big slot, but can play on the outside. Odell can play a couple of spots, particularly in the slot extremely well. Very quick. I think Odell will go earlier (get drafted) than Jarvis. And Jordan Matthews will kind of be in that mix too."
Chris also talked about the wide receiver class overall:
"It's a really good year for receivers. It's a deep year. You got different types. You've got different big guys. You've got smaller slot fast guys. You have a little bit different flavor, depending on what your likes are."
Finally, Chris talked about some other wide receivers who might be available for the Packers to pick:
"Brandin Cooks is a speed merchant. He's 5'9" and three-quarters and 190. Is a big-time explosive playmaker. Kelvin Benjamin, are you kidding? I mean this guy is built like Jimmy Graham. He's 6'5", 240. He's a receiver, but he's a tight end body-type. He's going to be a real good value. Davante Adams from Fresno State is a 6'1", 212 pound guy. You've got a number of guys (to choose from)."
Do you think the Packers will select a wide receiver early in the 2014 NFL draft?
If the Packers get a third-round compensatory pick for losing Jennings last year to free agency, and the Packers get a sixth-round pick for losing Erik Walden to free agency last year like Silverstein predicts, the Packers will have some ammunition to trade up to get a player, and maybe a wide receiver, whom they have targeted.
Compensatory picks can't be traded, but all the other draft picks are in play, in terms of being used to trade up or down.
Time will tell whether Thompson will use an early draft selection on a wide receiver, but his history of picking wide receivers seems to indicate it's certainly a possibility.