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2018 NFL Combine Watch List: Wide Receivers Packers fans should follow in Indy

Here are a few wideouts that APC will be keeping close eyes on next week in Indy.

NCAA Football: Boise State at San Diego State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

In the lead-up to the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine, which officially begins on February 27th, Acme Packing Company will break down a few positions of interest for the Green Bay Packers. We’ll bring you a few names to watch at each of these positions, both potential early draft picks as well as third-day players.

Teams across the NFL will be scrutinizing the wide receiver position, but the Packers have tended to look for a particular set of athletic thresholds during Ted Thompson’s tenure as general manager. We do not yet know how closely the team will adhere to these cutoffs now that Brian Gutekunst is in charge, but with Thompson still advising heavily on the draft board, we expect that they will still be heavily considered.

Be sure to check out Justis Mosqueda’s piece at about those thresholds, which roughly break down as follows:

  • Minimum height: 5’ 11-7/8”
  • 40-yard dash cutoff: 4.56 seconds
  • 3-cone cutoff: 7.08 seconds

Here are a few names to watch in Indy for players who might put up numbers in the range that would qualify them for these thresholds.

Early-Round Players

D.J. Chark, LSU

A tall, lanky, fast wideout from LSU, Chark is expected to be one of the stars of this year’s Combine, particularly in the 40-yard dash and the jumping drills. There should be no questions about the 6’3” Chark meeting the first two thresholds; what will be interesting to watch will be his cone time and his receiver drills, as he remains a bit of a raw athletic prospect. Still, he had a great game in the Senior Bowl eith five catches for an impressive 160 yards.

Courtland Sutton, SMU

As with Chark, size isn’t a problem for Sutton, who fills out his 6’3” frame better (around 215 pounds) than the 195-pound Chark. However, his testing will be worth watching. If he runs in the low 4.5s and 7.0s, he could be squarely on the Packers’ board, either in round two or possible even earlier.

Sutton’s production won’t be a question, and he will likely stand out positively in team interviews. He’s one prospect who could benefit greatly from an impressive workout. An added bonus for the Packers, who like young prospects: Sutton doesn’t turn 23 until October.

Dante Pettis, Washington

A player with both receiving and return ability, Pettis should meet the speed and agility cutoffs; the question for him will be his height. The Huskies listed him at 6 feet, but if that was a generous measurement, that might drop him a bit. If his height ends up being a non-issue, the Packers could target Pettis late on day two both to supplant Trevor Davis on returns and as a versatile wideout who can play the slot or split out wide.

Day-Three Possibilities

Marcell Ateman, Oklahoma State

While James Washington grabbed most of the headlines in Stillwater over the past few years, Ateman nearly kept pace with his smaller teammate’s production in 2017, putting up almost 20 yards per catch and 1,156 receiving yards. Like Sutton, Ateman is a big prospect who will need to answer some questions about his agility.

As for why Washington isn’t on this list? He measured in at the Senior Bowl an inch shorter than the Packers’ cutoff. Granted, he could still fall and effectively force the Packers no choice but to select him despite his shorter stature, much the way Randall Cobb did in 2011.

Cedrick Wilson, Boise State

The son of a former NFL receiver by the same name, Wilson had absurd production for two years with the Broncos after starting out in junior college. Take a look at these stat lines:

2016: 56 receptions, 1,129 yards (20.2 YPR), 11 TDs
2017: 83 receptions, 1,511 yards (18.2 YPR), 7 TDs

Listed at 6’3” and around 195 pounds, Wilson could use a good workout to pair with his production, which would likely put him squarely in the sights of teams like the Packers sometime on day three.

Jordan Lasley, UCLA

The favorite target of top QB prospect Josh Rosen in 2017, Lasley probably has more questions to answer in interviews than he does on the field. However, the junior would benefit from a good measurement above six feet and solid testing to match the 1,264 yards and nine touchdown he recorded last year — in just nine games.

However, the reason he missed a few contests in 2017 was due to off-the-field issues rather than injury. He was suspended by head coach Jim Mora for unspecified reasons, and also has a pair of arrests in 2016 on his record. He should impress in workouts, though, and if he can demonstrate to teams that he has made the necessary changes to stay focused and out of trouble, he could be a nice find on day three.

Notable Combine Snub

Daurice Fountain, Northern Iowa

Fountain, a native of Madison, Wisconsin, was left off the Combine invite list despite being the type of player that teams would often want to know more about from an event like this. After a great senior year (over 900 yards and 12 touchdowns), he impressed at the Shrine Game in January. Unfortunately, teams will need to wait until UNI’s Pro Day to see him work out.