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2011 NFL Scouting Combine: WR and TE

Our Player Evaluations from this weekend's NFL Scouting Combine

Wide Outs and Tight Ends are progressively finding the field earlier and earlier with every passing season.  The league is passing the football more and pass catchers are being forced to make the transition to the Sunday League at an accelerated rate.  The NFL is facilitating this transition some by implementing versions of the college spread offense in their base packages.  As a result, we are seeing rookie Receivers and Tight Ends producing adequate fantasy production in their first season.  Read on to find out some of our early favorite draft propsects following a solid Scouting Combine Weekend.

Straight line speed is important and the 40 yard dash is the most publicized workout at the combine.  Broad Jump and Vertical Jump are particularly important indicators of explosiveness, especially off the line.  While the Bench Press isn't the most indicitave workout for a WR, the TE's asked to block look to post a big number on the flat bench.  When looking at the 3 cone drill, 20 yard shuttle and 60 yard shuttle times, you can get a good indication of a players ability to get in and out of breaks.  The slot receiver must do especially well in the 3 cone drill and 20 yard shuttle.

A.J Green
6'4" - 211 lbs
Georgia (SEC)
A protypical X-type receiver (in time, he needs to gain some weight), Green enters the 2011 Draft season as the consensus top WR prospect.  A player in the mold of a Dez Bryant skill set, he has ridiculous deep speed, and ability to haul in passes from errantly thrown balls.  NCAA suspension for selling a game jersey will not follow him through Draft Season.  Although Green did not land on a top performer list at this weekend's Combine, his talent is unmistakeable and we are excited to watch the battle between he and Julio Jones this Draft Season.

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Julio Jones
6'3" - 220 lbs
Alabama (SEC)
The consensus #2 Wide Out in this group had a better Scouting Combine than A.J. Green.  Jones is an aggressive player that has deep threat ability and no fear over the middle.  He has shown some inconsistency at times, and he will need to improve his route running, but he is likely an immediate starter at the next level.  He also needs to learn to use his size better to gain separation off the line, however his understanding of route concepts is superior to most of the other Wide Out prospects.
Top Performer: 40 yard dash
Top Performer: Broad Jump
Top Performer: 60 yard shuttle

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Jonathan Baldwin
6'4" - 228
Pittsburgh (Big East)
Baldwin is a solid Dynasty prospect that can grow into a big time player in the NFL.  He has tremendous size and the build to add a few pounds, making him an even greater presence on the football field.  Like many young recievers, Baldwin needs to refine his route running and establish an ability to run the entire route tree.  We like his fearlessness over the middle, and he looks to us as one of the players that could eventually grow into the complete receiver package.  Not the fastest player out there, but his tremendous size gives him significant advantage over most of the Wide Out field.
Top Performer: Bench Press
Top Performer: Vertical Jump
Top Performer:  Broad Jump

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Torrey Smith
6'1" - 204 lbs
Maryland (SEC)
High character player who had an impressive Scouting Combine weekend.  Smith reminds us of a Darrius Hayward-Bey skill set with a similar developmental road ahead.   While he will be looked at mostly for his deep threat ability initially, it is important to go back and look at his intermediate routes through his college career.  We really like his upside and should he be drafted to a situation conducive to his skill set, Smith is a player worth reaching for a bit in upcoming Dynasty Rookie Drafts.
Top Performer: Vertical Jump

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Greg Little
6'3" - 220 lbs
North Carolina (ACC)
There is nothing little about this Beast.  Many forgot about Little as he missed a season due to ineligibility of which he showed his character by taking full responsibility for his actions while at UNC.  Little is a physical specimen that plays with legit competitiveness.  He currently lacks legit top end speed, but in time should get back into football shape.  While he did not help his stock at the Combine, pay attention to Little through Draft Season as he will undoubtedly become a well known prospect.
Top Performer: Bench Press
Top Performer:Vertical Jump
Top Performer: Broad Jump

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Leonard Hankerson
6'2" - 209 lbs
Miami (ACC)
Our favorite WR coming out of Senior Bowl weekend had another nice Combine weekend.  Hankerson comes out of Miami, a place where we don't typically love WR talent, however we are intrigued by his overall upside.  LH is surely a developmental prospect and his lack of concentration can be concerning, but the intangibles are in place for him to find a productive role on an NFL squad.
Top Performer: 40 yard dash

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Edmund Gates
6'0" - 192 lbs
Abilene Christian (Lone Star)
Cousin of Bengal Bernard Scott, Gates really helped his Draft stock at the Combine where he put up workout warrior type numbers.  A small school prospect that must refine every part of his game has a big couple of months ahead of him where he hopes to carry his Combine momentum into the 3rd round of the Draft.  Keep tabs on Gates this draft season as he currently projects as one of our favorite deep sleepers.
Top Performer: 40 Yard Dash
Top Performer: Vertical Jump
Top Performer: Broad Jump

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Ricardo Lockette
6'2" - 211 lbs
Fort Valley State (Southern)
Lockette is a relatively unknown prospect that made a name for himself in the 40 Yard Dash at the Combine.  Lockette reportedly opened a lot of eyes over the weekend and will surely look to build on his strong start to Draft Season.  Lockette will still need to work on all the fundamentals, most noteably route running and concentration.  He tends to drop the easy ones and catch the difficult passes.  He has a solid build and shows an agressiveness that will be looked fondly by teams looking for solid developmental value.
Top Performer: 40 Yard Dash

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Wide Receivers to pay close attention to this Draft Season: Niles Paul, Randall Cobb, Jerrel Jernigan and Titus Young

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Charles Clay
6'3" - 245 lbs
Tulsa (Conference USA)
Clay is not a blocking TE and that has Dynasty owners fired up.  He is an aggressive pass catcher that was super productive at the college level.  He may need a season or two before he reaches his full potential, but he is surely a TE prospect, not currently mentioned with the top TE prospects.  Clay is also being considered in some Draft circles as an NFL Fullback, so pay attention to how his Draft Stock changes over the next few months.
Top Performer: Broad Jump
Top Performer: 20 Yard Shuttle
Top Performer: 60 Yard Shuttle

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Jordan Cameron
6'5" - 254 lbs
USC (Pac 10)
Cameron is considered a raw talent however his performance at the combine might be an indicator of his tremendous upside.  Cameron has all the attributes you are looking for in a developmental TE including soft hands, exceptional speed and strength.  Teams likely won't reach for Cameron in this years draft as he may already be labeled as a Combine workout warrior, but at the very least his weekend performance deserves a mention on this list.
Top Performer: 40 Yard Dash
Top Performer: Vertical Jump
Top Performer: Broad Jump
Top Performer: Bench Press
Top Performer: 3 Cone Drill
Top Performer: 20 Yard Shuttle
Top Performer: 60 Yard Shuttle

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D.J. Williams
6'2" - 245 lbs
Arkansas (SEC)
Williams is not the prototypical size for a TE at the next level.  He is, however, super athletic and very fast, in the mold of a Aaron Hernendez (NE).  That means he could easily become a very productive player in the NFL on the right team.  Williams work ethic and cerebral approach to the game are big pluses, as he is known for understanding route concepts from various formations.  
Top Performer: 40 Yard Dash

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Lance Kendricks
6'3" - 243 lbs
Wisconsin (Big Ten)
Kendricks is another smaller TE that fits the mold of a H-Back/TE type hybird player.  He is an extremely explosive player that should find a role with one of the many teams looking to utilize a productive receiver in multiple TE sets.
Top Performer: Bench Press
Top Performer: 20 Yard Shuttle
Top Performer: Broad Jump

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Tight Ends to keep a close eye on this Draft Season: Kyle Rudolph (did not participate Combine weekend), Luke Stocker, Weslye Saunders. 

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Upcoming BeastOrBust.com NFL Draft Content:
Over the next couple months, we will be bringing you important NFL Draft Content.  Check back as we will unveil our Top Dynasty Prospects at each skill position.  In our yearly Needs not WantsDraft Column, we will take an in-depth look at each NFL teams needs to highlight suitable landing spots for these future Beasts of the NFL.  Draft Previews and Draft Instant Reaction Articles will wrap up this years coverage.