Wiederer: Array of receivers come in all sizes, styles at combine

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER
  • Updated: February 22, 2013 - 8:59 PM

The Vikings should be able to shore up their mediocre corps.

hide

West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin answers a question during a news conference at the NFL scouting combine.

Photo: Michael Conroy, Associated Press - Ap

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

INDIANAPOLIS - With the Super Bowl in the rearview mirror and still nine weeks left before NFL draft weekend, comparison season has exploded across the league. So it was no surprise Friday that as 38 receivers funneled through the NFL combine for media interviews, they each came with parallels.

Cal's Keenan Allen, a prospect who could be an ideal fit for the Vikings at No. 23, likened his skill set to that of Ravens standout Anquan Boldin.

"I watch highlight tape to see what he's good at," Allen said. "And it's his physicalness, that ability to go up and make catches you don't think he's going to come down with. [Joe] Flacco just throws it up there, and he makes incredible catches."

West Virginia's Tavon Austin, a small, explosive and versatile playmaker? He can't go 10 minutes these days without eliciting references to Vikings standout Percy Harvin.

And Tennessee's Justin Hunter could only laugh when told his college quarterback, Tyler Bray, had stamped him as Gumby thanks to his ability to bend and contort to make big-time grabs.

"If the freakish catch presents itself," Hunter said, "I'm there to catch it."

From Tennessee's Cordarelle Patterson (comparison: Demaryius Thomas) to Marshall's Aaron Dobson (Sidney Rice 2.0?), the surplus of receiving talent in this year's draft was apparent Friday.

It will become even more obvious when those playmakers take the field Sunday for drill work plus speed and agility testing. Perhaps most obvious of all, the Vikings are almost certain to dig into this receiver grab bag in late April aiming to upgrade a unit that might have been the league's most ordinary in 2012.

"The depth at wide receiver should help us," Frazier said, "[especially] as we go through this with nine picks."

Consider this: Even after missing the final seven games, Harvin (62 catches, 677 yards) still led Vikings' receivers in receptions by 22 and yardage by 228. Michael Jenkins was second in both categories but is nearing his 31st birthday and might become a contract casualty in the coming weeks.

So, yeah, a talent infusion is necessary. And Frazier asserted Friday that he'll have his eyes peeled for speed.

"We need an all-encompassing guy, a guy who can run by some people, who can make the hard catch for us if he's in a contested situation but hopefully also can get us some yards after the catch. And he has to be a guy who has the smarts to be able to understand game plans from week to week."

So now the question becomes where the Vikings will pounce in a draft in which intriguing receiving talent promises to still be on the board into the third day.

If they're eager to grab a receiver with their top pick, then maybe Allen, a self-professed film junkie, will provide the perfect fit. A knee injury will prevent him from running here Sunday. So the Vikings will have to wait until Cal's pro day March 14 to get a stopwatch on him.

But Allen seems to fit the wish list; he's productive, smart and dedicated even if he might not have blazing speed.

"Where the Vikings are picking, I think that kid's a heck of a value," said Mike Mayock, the NFL Network's resident draft guru. "Here's the deal with Keenan Allen: If you like him on tape, he's Anquan Boldin. If you don't like him, he's speed-deficient."

Baylor's Terrance Williams (think Torrey Smith) and Louisiana Tech's Quinton Patton (similar to Reggie Wayne) could also make sense in Round 1.

Yet the depth of this draft class might give the Vikings the patience to look at a pass-catcher with the 52nd and 83rd picks on Day 2 or even into Day 3.

Perhaps Southern Cal's Robert Woods is an option when the Vikings are on the clock in the second round. He may have inside help at Winter Park from former college teammates Matt Kalil and Rhett Ellison.

"They both said they'd put in a good word for me," Woods said Friday.

Kalil and Ellison might also want to use the prevailing Woods comparison, noting how his burst and agility resemble James Jones'.

Just how valid these comparisons turn out to be is anyone's guess. But in a year where the Vikings need receivers, there seem to be plenty of options.

Dan Wiederer • dan.wiederer@startribune.com

  • 2013 NFL COMBINE THROUGH TUESDAY IN INDIANAPOLIS

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Thursday in Green Bay?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close