Comparing Colts to Combine: Top Wide Receivers

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In our latest edition of our “Comparing Colts to Combine” series, we’ll take a look at another position for the Indianapolis Colts and some of the top prospects at that respective position in this year’s NFL Draft.

While we’ve previously covered tight end, offensive tackle, and just recently, quarterback, we’ll shift our focus to the wide receiver position. This year’s NFL Draft class is loaded at wide receiver and features West Virginia’s Kevin White, Alabama’s Amari Cooper, Louisville’s DaVante Parker, and Missouri’s Dorial Green-Beckham.

The Colts have some pretty talented young wideouts in T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief themselves. We noted earlier that Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson highly values forty-times when evaluating potential skill-position prospects at the NFL level, specifically in wide receivers.

After looking over Hilton and Moncrief’s measurables compared to the top wide receiver prospects in this year’s draft class, and it’s easy to see why they were selected by the Colts within the 1st 3 round of their respective drafts. T.Y. Hilton was a 3rd round selection of the Colts in 2012 out of Florida International, while Donte Moncrief later followed him as a 3rd round selection out of Ole Miss in last year’s draft:

Speed evidently kills evaluators, as Hilton and Moncrief’s speed clearly stands out respectively among this group. With the exception of Kevin White, who we’ll get to in a bit, they are the fastest wide receivers in this group. While Hilton is clearly “a burner”, Moncrief really stands out on paper for me. His 4.40 forty-time at 6’2″ is particularly impressive, and his 3-cone drill (7.02) and 20 yard shuttle (4.30) is actually faster than Hilton despite having 40 pounds on him.

Moncrief actually boasts the best vertical jump (39.5 in.) and broad jump (132.0) among this group, and it’s by a large margin. Donte Moncrief is a freak athlete, and last season, we saw that translate onto the field during an impressive rookie campaign.

Of course, looking over the numbers, and it’s no wonder then that ESPN Draft Expert Todd McShay had this to say about Moncrief’s combine workout last season:

"“Donte Moncrief did not play all that well this past year,” McShay said. “But if you’re a metrics guy, he’s the first pick of the draft. One of the most impressive workout freaks that you’ve ever seen at the wide receiver position.”"

A workout that was arguably better than Sammy Watkins, who was the 4th overall pick by the Buffalo Bills as the 1st wideout taken in the 2014 NFL Draft.

However, it’s worth shifting gears to West Virginia’s Kevin White too. His 4.35 forty-time at 6’3″ was absolutely ridiculous, and it puts him right up there with current top freak NFL wideouts like Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson:

Otherwise, his primary competition for being the top wide receiver selected 1st in this year’s draft is Alabama’s Amari Cooper, who also posted solid measurables across the board, including the fastest 3-cone drill (6.71) and 20-yard shuttle (3.98) among this group:

Other notables are Louisville’s Davante Parker, who like White and Cooper, is projected to be a Top 10 pick and showed impressive measurables, including a broad jump of 125.0 that only trailed Moncrief:

As well as Missouri’s Dorial Green-Beckham (DGB), who has a tremendous amount of physical talent littered with off-the-field concerns. Heading into the combine, Green-Beckham drew comparisons to Calvin Johnson, although he ultimately ran a bit slower than “Megatron”:

Overall, this is a really, really talented group of wide receivers in this year’s NFL Draft at the top. With 3 wideouts projected to be Top 10 picks, it’s easy to see why:

Due to their talent, all four of these wideouts are projected to be long gone by the time the Indianapolis Colts draft at #29 overall, although there’s an increasingly slim chance Dorial Green-Beckham could still be there due to off-the-field concerns.

Still, even so, it’s impressive that the measurables of the Colts two talented wideouts in Hilton and Moncrief in their respective combine performances actually compare quite favorably to the talented wideouts in this year’s draft class, considering they were both 3rd round picks, not Top 10.

Well done, Mr. Grigson.