INDIANAPOLIS —- In case you didn’t pick up the paper today, my daily story from the NFL scouting combine was on this year’s wide receiver class, which isn’t as great as last year but still strong.
At least three wide receivers are considered locks to go in the first round this year, and a few others could end up joining them. But they will be hard-pressed to produce like Odell Beckham Jr. and Co. did this past year, when 10 wide-outs had at least 48 receptions as rookies.
The talent and depth of that class, followed up by another good one in 2015, led to a lot of NFL coaches and general managers being asked why so many college receivers come pro-ready now.
“We’ve talked a little bit about that. From a throwing standpoint in the National Football League, you end up throwing the ball quite a bit. I think the college game has really helped,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “It’s helped because they’re throwing the football more and these guys are having more opportunities to run the routes that we run and go against these different coverages that are little bit more sophisticated at the college level and have to make adjustments on those coverages. I think from a quarterback’s standpoint, tight ends and wide receivers, it’s a beautiful thing.”
Chargers general manager Tom Telesco theorized that the development starts before college even.
“Maybe the advent that so many teams run spread offense and throw the ball so much, we’re seeing more receivers at this level that are much more polished,” Telesco said. “Most of these kids through high school, there are 7-on-7 camps in the summer time, and in college, these receivers have been running routes, and a lot of routes, for a long time. It’s a repetition game, so many we’re starting to see some of that at this level.”
Alabama’s Amari Cooper was asked for his thoughts on why he and his peers are more pro-ready. He didn’t have an explanation but did say he expects to make an instant impact, too. And I’m sure fellow wide-outs like WVU’s Kevin White and Louisville’s DeVante Parker feel the exact same way.