The wideout position is a microcosm of this year's draft: thin on elite talent but lots of productive players in the middle rounds. We take a look at a few receivers whose stock rose or fell in Indy.
We continue our look at the winners and losers from the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine by looking at the wide receivers. There's a lot of speed to go around with this year's crop of wideouts, and it's looking like a very deep class at this point.
Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Austin was the star of the combine at the receiver position, kicking off the workouts with a blazing 4.34 in the 40-yard dash. He later put up an excellent 4.01 second time on the short shuttle, showing very good quickness. He's probably your Percy Harvin-type player, since he's only 5'9" and 175 pounds, but Harvin has proven that the right skill set can excel in the NFL in that role.
Josh Boyce, TCU
Boyce didn't lead the wide receivers in any one drill this week, but he was impressive in pretty much all of them. He ran under 4.4 seconds in the 40 (4.38), he put up more than 20 reps on the bench (22), he was under 7 seconds in the cone drill (6.68), and he was under 4.2 in the short shuttle (4.10). All of those results will make him an attractive prospect for someone in the middle rounds, and this performance could be the start of a climb upward into the second day of the draft.
Ryan Swope, Texas A&M
Here's a wideout who surprised many with his pure speed at the combine; as he himself said, "You don't see that every day, a white guy running a 4.3". (That's a great article, by the way, on Swope challenging the stereotype of white wideouts.) Anyway, he matched Austin's time at 4.34, and put up an even better time than Austin in the cone drill at 6.76 seconds. Suddenly, Swope is being seen as a complete wideout and a deep threat, and he could become a second-day draft pick as well.
Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas
I was high on Hamilton coming into the combine but was left wanting more by the Razorback. His 40 time was average at 4.56 seconds, but he showed little explosiveness, as he was the only wideout to have a maximum vertical jump under 30 inches and broad jump under 110. His shuttle time was on the slow end as well, so he'll need a good performance catching the ball at his pro day to show that he can be a productive receiver despite any physical limitations.
Keenan Allen, California
Allen gets lumped in with the falling players through no fault of his own; he was injured and therefore unable to work out, but with Austin and Cordarrelle Patterson looking good, it's natural for the guy who can't run to slip a bit. But if that injury causes Allen to fall in the draft, someone will likely get a really good receiver (when he comes back healthy) for great value in the late first or second round.
Ace Sanders, South Carolina
Sanders is the diminutive return man and wideout for the Gamecocks who was on many a highlight reel this year. Since he stands just 5'7" and weighs only 173 pounds, he needed a fast time in the 40 (like Austin put up) to make him appealing to NFL scouts. Instead, he ran the 40 in 4.58 seconds and had mixed results in the cone and shuttle drills. At this point, he's probably strictly a kick returner, and unless he shows better speed at his pro day, he could free fall all the way out of the draft.