2019 NFL Scouting Combine Review: Wide Receivers

Bruce Matson

With the completion of the NFL Scouting Combine, we are now one step closer to the draft. The results will give us one more piece to the puzzle as we try to crack the code and see which prospects will make an impact on our dynasty teams.

Wide receiver is the deepest skill position in the draft in terms of talent. This class has all types of receivers to choose from, including a few players who could make an instant impact as a true WR1 for an NFL team. On top of that, we will have traditional field stretchers, possession receivers, and slot receivers at our fingertips in rookie drafts this year.

The Combine hosted 48 wide receivers who have hopes, dreams and aspirations of becoming the next mega star in the NFL. After a strenuous week of fielding interviews, testing medicals and getting measured, the group of wide receivers took to the field to test their athleticism. Along with performing some drills they also tested their 40-yard dash, vertical, three-cone, 20 and 60-yard shuttle and broad jump.

Below are the full results from the Combine for the 2019 wide receiver class:

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A player’s dynasty value is heavily dependent on a player’s athleticism combined with their production. Of course, there are other things we take into account when monitoring players, but the Combine is the standardized test that we use to grade a player’s athleticism on an even playing. With the being said, let’s use the DLF rookie rankings to analyze some of the top wide receiver prospects at the combine.

Hakeem Butler, WR Iowa State

Butler measured in at just under 6-foot-6 and weighed in at 227-pounds. His 4.48 40-yard dash time helped him reach a 124.7 height adjusted speed score, ranking third best amongst wide receivers. He’s a big-bodied deep threat who does an excellent job of making plays on the football while it’s in the air. His numbers support what we see on tape. His height combined with his massive 83.88-inch wingspan adds merit to his catch radius.

It’s always smart to double down on your strengths and avoid your weaknesses when it comes to a standardized test like the Combine. Butler did exactly that by not participating in the three-cone drill and the 20-yard shuttle. Since he didn’t do the agility drills, we will need to use the film as our guide to determine if his lateral movement is fluid enough to help him run routes underneath the coverage.

N’Keal Harry, WR Arizona State

For many, Harry is the top wide receiver in this year’s draft class. It’s hard to argue his age-adjusted production. Not to mention, Rivals ranked him as the top wide receiver in the 2016 recruiting class. Going into the event, his athleticism was in question. Many analysts had doubts concerning his speed and quickness. He eliminated those doubts by running a 4.53 40-yard dash at 228 pounds while also posting a 38.5 vertical. Harry’s 110.7 height adjusted speed score proves that he’s more than fast enough to pull away from defenders in the open field. He should be locked in as a top three pick in rookie drafts this year. There’s nothing that can drastically affect his stock at this point.

D.K. Metcalf, WR Ole Miss

Metcalf might be the most debated player in Combine history. His historic 4.33 40-yard dash at 228 pounds makes him one of the athletic wide receivers to ever grace the artificial soil of Lucas Oil Stadium. He might have thrown back a few extra Red Bulls before he competed in the events because he definitely had wings when he posted his 40.5-inch vertical.

The disputes and conspiracy theories started to emerge when he ran a lackluster 7.38 three-cone and a 4.5 20-yard shuttle. Granted, those times were about as low as you can get for a wide receiver prospect which is why there’s so much debate concerning Metcalf’s dynasty value. By being on both ends of the spectrum, he created a lot of disparity in his actual athletic metrics and dynasty owners are having trouble deciding how he should be valued. This is a rare case. We simply don’t see conundrums like this at the Combine on a regular basis. More than likely, we will just need to go back to the tape and analyze his traits to finish the evaluation process.

A.J. Brown, WR Ole Miss

With all the rumblings from Metcalf’s controversial outing, Brown’s display of athleticism fell under the radar. He quietly ran a 4.49 40-yard dash at 226 pounds. He also submitted a 36.5 vertical jump which is very explosive for his size. The main knock on Brown going into the Combine was his speed and quickness and how it could inhibit his ability to run routes and pull away from defenders. He quieted the crowd by displaying more than the requisite amount of speed to get the job done at the next level. He also did a smart move by not participating in the three-cone or shuttle because usually, guys his size don’t perform well at those drills and it’s better to do the events you are best at then showoff your weaknesses.

Kelvin Harmon, WR North Carolina State

Harmon’s performance wasn’t disappointing but it wasn’t exciting either. He ran an official 4.60 40-yard dash and a 32.5 vertical jump along with a 7.05 three-cone. The buzz he was building up going into the draft might start to slow down. This might create an extra buying opportunity for dynasty owners in rookie drafts. With two 1,000-yard seasons to his name, Harmon was still productive during his tenure at NC State.

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR Stanford

Arcega-Whiteside didn’t participate in the athletic testing. He did measure in at 6-foot-2 and weighed in at 225 pounds. The key thing to note about his measurements is that his 79 and 7/8-inch wingspan ranks in the 90th percentile among wide receivers.

Marquise Brown, WR Oklahoma

After undergoing surgery to fix a Lisfranc injury in January, Brown couldn’t compete. On a sour note, he did weigh in at a dismal 166 pounds. This isn’t a total death knell for his potential, but there’s also not a long list of fantasy relevant wide receivers in his weight class either.

Deebo Samuel, WR South Carolina

Samuel did enough at the combine to keep him in the hearts of many dynasty aficionados. He ran a 4.48 40-yard dash while weighing 214 pounds and he managed to post a 7.03 three-cone. His height-speed-ratio nets him a 99.7 height adjusted speed score. If he was in a draft class that wasn’t diluted with wide receiver talent, Samuel would be getting a lot more publicity. The sheer depth at wide receiver in this year’s crop of rookies makes it easier for some players to not get the recognition they deserve. At least from an athletic standpoint, Samuel can compete at the NFL which is always a plus when putting the pieces together for our final evaluations for a player.

Riley Ridley, WR Georgia

Ridley has a small fanbase that is infatuated with his traits. The problem is, his best season with Georgia only netted 43 receptions for 559 yards and nine touchdowns which allowed him to only own just a 17.94 percent market share of his team’s passing production. He needed a good combine to boost his stock. However, he didn’t deliver, weighing in at just 199 pounds while posting a 4.58 40-yard dash, equating to a dismal 89.7 height adjusted speed score. The combine wasn’t good to Ridley as he also failed the vertical jump (30.5 inches) and the three-cone (7.22). There are guys in this draft class who have 25 or more pounds on him who are faster, quicker and explosive.

Parris Campbell, WR Ohio State

Due to Metcalf stealing the show with his 40-yard dash time, Campbell’s elite-level performance didn’t receive the recognition it deserved. He destroyed every event. His 4.31 40-yard dash time was immaculate and he also jumped out of Lucas Oil Stadium and into the Ohio River with his 40-inch vertical. Campbell flashed his speed and athleticism often at Ohio State where he proved week after week that he was one of the most explosive players in the country. In the right situation, Campbell has the potential to be a valuable asset in dynasty in the near future. Without a doubt, his performance increased his value for both dynasty and the actual NFL Draft.

Emanuel Hall, WR Missouri

Hall elevated his draft stock by running a 4.39 40-yard dash. He also tied Myles Boykin with the best vertical jump amongst all of the wide receivers. Hall is one of the top deep threats in this class and his athletic metrics proves that he excels at taking the top off the defense. Just like the tape shows, his agility isn’t his strong suit which is why he didn’t take a stab at the three-cone. He cemented himself as a player that dynasty owners must think about during the second round of rookie drafts.

Andy Isabella, WR Massachusetts

Isabella proved he can be more than just a slot receiver. His 4.31 40-yard dash tells us he has the speed to burn defenses with ease. He’s also a superb route runner and with him being able to breakdown defensive backs with double moves in the open field, he will always be a threat to burn the defense for a big gain. Isabella is a player you should have on your radar going forward.

Ashton Dulin, WR Malone

I’m throwing Dulin into the ring even though he’s not currently ranked by the DLF staff. Even though he’s a small school prospect, he was very productive at Malone. He only improved his stock by running a 4.43 40-yard dash at 215 pounds while also jumping out of the building with a 38-inch vertical. He’s this year’s Jeff Janis and will be another mid to late round prospect who will carry a lot of upside due to his athleticism.

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