Today, I want to talk about a college football prospect who has not been getting much attention lately. He's a talented wide receiver out of Clemson University, and one who had a pretty impressive junior year in 2013.
What? Sammy Watkins will be a top-10 pick!
Who said anything about Sammy Watkins? I'm talking about his teammate, Martavis Bryant.
Exactly. If you haven't followed Clemson closely, you might think that they ran the Tajh Boyd-to-Sammy Watkins show nonstop. And to an extent, they did. Bryant was certainly overshadowed by his more well-rounded teammate, but Bryant definitely has some skills that make him a possible day 2 draft choice.
Okay, fine. Tell me more.
How about this: Bryant stands 6' 3-3/4" tall, and weighed 211 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine. He then went out and ran his 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds and posted a 39-inch vertical jump - better than all but four other wide receivers there. As you can see, he's got great height and leaping ability, and speed to burn.
I am officially intrigued. What kind of a role would he play in a Green Bay offense?
Well, Bryant is tall, but he's not big. He's not a James Jones type, a guy who will make a ton of tough, physical catches in traffic or in the red zone. No, Bryant is a true deep threat, one who will be best running a limited set of routes (at least initially) that take advantage of his speed and height. You can send him on a go route while Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson work underneath or on crosses, and the three different types of skill sets will build off each other.
Then as he becomes more comfortable and bulks up a bit down the road, you can use him as more of a diverse receiver who can run those crossing routes and hitches that the Packers love so much.
How does his college production stack up?
Well, take the number of receptions he recorded with a grain of salt, and remember that Watkins was the go-to guy in that offense. Still, Bryant's stat lines in his three years show just what kind of a big-play threat he is:
2011 (Freshman): 14 games, 9 receptions, 221 yards (24.6 average), 2 touchdowns
2012 (Sophomore): 10 games, 10 receptions, 305 yards (30.5 average!!), 4 touchdowns
2013 (Junior): 13 games, 42 receptions, 828 yards (19.7 average), 7 touchdowns
Watkins, on the other hand, had 82, 57, and 101 receptions those three years, so he was clearly more of the possession receiver and all-purpose weapon as opposed to Bryant being the deep threat. On another team, Bryant might have put up better total numbers, but a career 22.2 yards per reception average is just nuts.
Wow. Okay, how about some highlights?
Done. Sorry that the music isn't as terrible as you've become used to from these scouting reports, though. When you get a highlight package released by a player's Conference, they don't seem as inclined to set it to terrible tunes.
On a few of these catches you can clearly see Bryant just burning the defense deep and getting wide open past the secondary. Some of the other receptions are the ones that impress me more, though. Take a look at the sideline catch at the 28-second mark - that's the kind of thing a tall, athletic receiver can do for you. How about the back-shoulder throw he pulls in for a score at 1:05 of the video? That seems like a very Green Bay-like route. Finally, skip ahead to about 2:37 to see an example of him adjusting to a ball in the air and making a touch catch at the high point of the throw. I like what I'm seeing here.
(Notice that that highlight package doesn't show a ton of catches made at the high point of the throw - I attribute that more to QB Tajh Boyd and his troubles with accuracy than a lack of ability on Bryant's part.)
Overall, Bryant is a tall, fast, athletic receiver, but he doesn't appear to be terribly physical, so it may take a year of him bulking up a bit to develop the skills he would need to make tough catches in traffic and to put his height to use in the red zone . Still, 6'4" receivers who run 4.4-second 40s don't come around very often, and his ball skills are quite good. Bryant would make a great addition to the Packers' receiving corps on day 2 of next week's draft.