Intriguing WR talent

Posted April 18, 2012 @ 11:24 p.m.
Posted By PFW staff

This is the fourth in a series of 10 features profiling late-rising prospects from the pro-day circuit or developmental talent that just missed the cut in PFW's 2012 Draft Preview, offering a more condensed scouting report than the 400-plus in this year's Draft Preview. Results from nearly 200 pro days are now featured online in PFW's draft database.

As Wes Welker, Victor Cruz and Malcom Floyd have proven, undrafted receivers not only can latch on to roster spots but flourish in the right situation. The following players (including a former teammate of Cruz's), listed alphabetically, could prove to be value buys as late draftees or quality undrafted free agents:

WR-QB Phil Bates, #5
Ohio            PFW grade: 5.00
Ht: 6-1 3/8 | Wt: 201 | Sp: 4.49 | Arm: 32 3/8 | Hand: 10 1/2
Notes: His father, Phillip, was a fullback at Nebraska and selected in the seventh round of the 1982 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. Phil was a dual-threat quarterback as a Nebraska prep. Began his collegiate career at Iowa State in 2007, where he caught five passes for 73 yards (14.6-yard average) in nine games (one start against Texas). Appeared in four games in ’08 with 24 rushing attempts for 166 yards (6.9-yard average) and zero touchdowns while completing 11-of-24 pass attempts (45.8 percent) for 137 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Transferred to Ohio and sat out the 2009 season per NCAA rules. In ’10, posted 78-519-3 (6.7) on the ground and was the Bobcats' second leading rusher while tossing 9-23-178-1-3 (39.1) in 10 games (five starts at QB and the Buffalo game at wide receiver). In 13 games in ’11, including a start at WR against Miami (Ohio) on Senior Day, produced 16-69-0 (4.3) on the ground, 15-197-1 (13.1) as a receiver and threw for 4-5-142-2-0 (80.0). Had a 1-4 record in five career starts as a college quarterback.
Bottom line: An athletic Iowa State transfer and converted quarterback, Bates has deceptive speed and catches surprisingly well, showing the ability to track and extend away from his body. At his pro day, he slimmed down 25 pounds from his listed playing weight and exhibited 4.5 speed, a 40½-inch vertical leap and a broad jump of 10 feet 8 inches. Also has some agility (3-cone drill time of 6.87 seconds), having run zone-read and option out of the spread. Has NFL bloodlines and persevered through injury and position change with a team-first attitude. Size-speed prospect who could be tried as a big slot receiver.
NFL projection: Priority free agent.

WR Toney Clemons, # 7
Colorado            PFW grade: 4.95
Ht: 6-2 1/8 | Wt: 211 | Sp: 4.43 | Arm: 31 3/4 | Hand: 9 3/8
Notes: Cousin, Steve Breaston, is a receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs, and cousin, Swin Cash, was an Olympic gold medalist women's basketball player. Prepped in Michigan, where he was an all-state receiver/defensive back, state champion hurdler and four-year basketball letterman. Began his college career at Michigan — saw limited action in 18 games (three starts) during the 2007 and '08 seasons, totaling 12 catches for 106 yards (8.8-yard average) and zero touchdowns. Sat out ’09 per NCAA transfer rules. With the Buffs in ’10, started 8-of-12 games and pulled in 43-482-3 (11.2). Played all 13 games in ’11, starting the final 10, and tallied 43-680-8 (15.8). Graduated.
Bottom line: A Michigan transfer with athletic bloodlines, Clemons flew under the radar as Colorado tumbled to a 3-10 season. However, he managed to produce on a poor offense, scoring eight touchdowns and gaining more than 15 yards per catch, including a 5-112-2 effort against USC. Has very good size and length and catches confidently. Releases cleanly, tracks the ball and competes in the air — extends outside his frame and high-points throws. Needs to get stronger, but after running in the 4.4s and posting a broad jump of 10 feet 8 inches, Clemons boosted his stock and has some upside as an “X.”
NFL projection: Priority free agent.

WR Thomas Mayo, #19
California (Pa.)            PFW grade: 5.00
Ht: 6-1 1/2 | Wt: 206 | Sp: 4.54 | Arm: 32 | Hand: 9 1/2
Notes: Also played basketball as a Virginia prep. Spent his first three collegiate seasons at Division II Concord (WV) (wore uniform No. 1), hauling in 41 passes for 341 yards (8.3-yard average) and three touchdowns in 2008; 72-1,368-11 (19.0) in ’09 and 74-1,315-14 (17.8) in ’10 while playing in all 33 games. Wanted to increase his exposure and competition level for the ’11 season and followed Mike Kellar, his head coach at Concord, to California (Pa.), where Kellar would be the offensive coordinator. Mayo contributed career highs in catches and touchdowns after grabbing 79-1,359-16 (17.2) in 13 games (11 starts). Had 17 career rushing attempts for 126 yards (7.4-yard average) and one touchdown.
Bottom line: Lean and well put together, Mayo is a productive, motivated, small-school “Z” receiver with good size and arm length to go along with a 39-inch vertical leap. Averaged 75-1,347-14 his last three college seasons, though has a somewhat “tweener” skill set — excelled vertically in college, but lacks elite top-end speed to separate, and burst and suddenness/flexibility in and out breaks could hinder his ability to work open short-to-intermediate. Spent three seasons at Concord (W.V.), where he was physically superior, before following his coach to Division II California (Pa.). Struggled handling the speed of BCS cornerbacks at the East-West Shrine Game and will have to adjust to the pace and complexity of the NFL game to stick.
NFL projection: Late draftable pick.

WR Dale Moss, #13
South Dakota State            PFW grade: 5.23
Ht: 6-3 1/4 | Wt: 213 | Sp: 4.56 | Arm: 33 | Hand: 10 1/4
Notes: Uncle, Johnny Rodgers, was the 1972 Heisman Trophy winner as a Nebraska running back before being selected in the first round by the Chargers and opting to play in the CFL. Cousin, Bobby Newcome, played quarterback for the Cornhuskers (1997-2000). Moss prepped in South Dakota, where he was an all-state performer in basketball and football and placed in the long jump at the state track and field championships. Played basketball for four years (averaged 7.6 rebounds and 4.5 rebounds as a senior starter) before exhausting his eligibility on the football field — started 9-of-11 games in 2011, totaling 61 receptions for 949 yards (15.6-yard average) and six touchdowns.
Bottom line: Four-year hoopster who parlayed one season of football into an NFL opportunity. Raised eyebrows at his pro day, where he looked explosive (41½-inch vertical leap, broad jump of 10 feet 10 inches) and scorched a 6.35-second 3-cone drill, one of the quickest ever recorded. Has a basketball physique and needs to get stronger, but has intriguing length — has good height, long arms and large hands — and room to bulk up (could play closer to 230 pounds down the road). Is surprisingly aggressive attacking the ball and snatching throws with his hands, and shows body control and hand-eye coordination to win in the air. Draftable on size-speed ratio and developmental upside as a West Coast receiver and red-zone target.
NFL projection: Fifth- to sixth-round pick.

WR-RS Julian Talley, #1
Massachusetts            PFW grade: 5.10
Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 199 | Sp: 4.58 | Arm: 31-32 3/4 | Hand: 8 5/8
Notes: (Arms measured 31 inches at Boston College pro day, 32 3/4 at UMass.) Also was a track and field standout as a New Jersey prep. Redshirted in 2007. Played all 12 games in ’08 (wore jersey No. 15), recording 18 receptions for 234 yards (13-yard average) and zero touchdowns. In ’09, tallied 24-288-1 (12.0) in 11 games (three starts). Started all 22 games the next two seasons — totaled 56-747-6 (13.3) in ’10 (11 starts) and 60-759-4 (12.6) in ’11 (11 starts). In his career, also rushed 12 times for 152 yards (12.7) and two touchdowns, returned 16 kickoffs for 286 yards (17.9) and brought back 25 punts for 252 yards (10.1).
Bottom line: Does not possess the speed or “salsa zest” of NFL breakout star Victor Cruz, a former UMass teammate, but has ability to carve out a pro career of his own. Has an athletic build, shows smooth movement skills and is quick in and out breaks. While his production was hindered by poor quarterback play, Talley has worked outside and inside and has punt- and kickoff-return experience, and comes from a I-AA program that recently has produced several NFL products. Lets some throws into his body and requires some more polish, but could be draftable given intriguing combination of size, tape and workout numbers (41½-inch vertical, broad jump of 10 feet 8 inches, short shuttle of 4.09 seconds, 3-cone drill time of 6.65 seconds).
NFL projection: Priority free agent.

Other notable pro-day standouts:

WR-RS Josh Bellamy, Louisville

Ht: 6-0 1/8 | Wt: 204 | Sp: 4.49 | Arm: 34 1/2 | Hand: 8 1/2
Good-sized, long-armed, narrow-framed, short-to-intermediate receiver who shows a quick first step after the catch along with some giddyup and shimmy to pick up yards after the catch, though he has to improve his route running.

WR Michael Calvin, California
Ht: 6-2 1/2 | Wt: 209 | Sp: 4.34 | Arm: 32 3/4 | Hand: 9 1/2
Big, long-armed, athletic, underachieving receiver whose impressive workout numbers did not translate to college production. Rain prevented him from doing position drills at his pro day, but tested outstandingly: 4.34 40-time, 40½-inch vertical jump, broad jump of 11 feet 1 inch, short shuttle of 4.09 seconds and 3-cone time of 6.7 seconds.

WR-PR Brandon Collins, Southeastern Louisiana
Ht: 5-10 5/8 | Wt: 181 | Sp: 4.44 | Arm: 31 1/8 | Hand: 8 3/4
Adequate-sized, explosive speedster/punt returner boasting a rare 45-inch vertical leap and broad jump of 10 feet 10 inches, though he did not dominate I-AA competition. Began his college career at Texas, but struggled academically and was dismissed after being arrested and charged with two first-degree felonies: aggravated robbery and engaging in organized criminal activity.

WR Devin Goda, Slippery Rock (Pa.)
Ht: 6-2 3/4 | Wt: 224 | Sp: 4.57 | Arm: 32 3/8 | Hand: 10 5/8
Small-school, straight-linish, size-speed prospect with a cut-up physique. Measurables, including a 37-inch vertical leap, exceed ordinary production amidst a poor supporting cast against marginal competition. Has large hands and shows concentration and toughness to take a hit and hang on, but hip stiffness shows in and out of breaks.

WR Jared Green, Southern
Ht: 6-1 1/8 | Wt: 191 | Sp: 4.43 | Arm: 32 1/4 | Hand: 9 1/2
The son of Hall of Famer Darrell Green and recruited by Al Groh at Virginia, Jared graduated in four years before playing his senior season at Southern. Wiry, physically weak “X” receiver with legitimate, top-end vertical speed and sudden acceleration. Flashed some special-teams ability at the NFLPA all-star game.

WR Sam Kirkland, Kent State
Ht: 5-10 3/4 | Wt: 194 | Sp: 4.54 | Arm: 32 1/8 | Hand: 9 5/8
Lean, athletic vertical threat who displayed freakish explosion numbers at his pro day, including a 45-inch vertical leap and broad jump of 10 feet 10 inches. Measurables do not translate to the field, however. Gained less than nine yards per catch as a senior, and durability, hands and competitiveness are questionable.

WR Kerby Long, James Madison
Ht: 5-10 3/4 | Wt: 174 | Sp: 4.37 | Arm: 30 1/8 | Hand: 8 7/8
Lean, undersized “X” receiver with sudden acceleration and speed to burn who tallied just 59 career catches in a run-oriented, I-AA offense. Opened eyes at his pro day, when he ran the 40 in the 4.3s, posted a 37½-inch vertical leap and recorded an outstanding 3-cone drill time of 6.69 seconds. Also has kickoff-return experience. Coming off a torn left labrum injury.

WR Quintin McCree, Maryland
Ht: 6-0 3/4 | Wt: 199 | Sp: 4.49 | Arm: 32 1/2 | Hand: 9 1/4
Quick-footed slot receiver with good size and speed — his 3-cone drill time of 6.52 seconds would have placed second among all NFL Scouting Combine participants — though he had only modest, one-year production and lets throws into his body.

WR Aaron Pflugrad, Arizona State
Ht: 5-9 3/4 | Wt: 181 | Sp: 4.59 | Arm: 29 1/8 | Hand: 8 1/2
Small-framed with marginal length, Pflugrad does not have draftable measurables or workout numbers (despite being strong for his size). However, he is a motivated, competitive, tough coach’s son whose sure hands and intangibles will earn him a chance to carve a niche as a slot receiver. Nifty route runner — expresses patterns and executes crisply.

WR Royce Pollard, Hawaii
Ht: 6-0 1/2 | Wt: 183 | Sp: 4.63 | Arm: 33 1/4 | Hand: 10
Narrow-framed, long-armed, productive, quicker-than-fast receiver who lacks ideal speed and bulk, but has sure hands, balance and body control to project as a crafty slot. Recorded a 37-inch vertical leap and broad jump of 10 feet 6 inches at pro day.

WR Darius Reynolds, Iowa State
Ht: 6-1 3/4 | Wt: 206 | Sp: 4.54 | Arm: 31 3/4 | Hand: 9 3/8
Junior-college product who did not emerge and produce until senior season, but gained more than 16 yards yards per catch and displayed some playmaking ability — has strength to combat the jam, shows a sizable catching radius and makes contested grabs, though too many are just that. Could catch on as a reserve flanker in a West Coast system if he's able to contribute on special teams.

WR Nelson Rosario, UCLA
Ht: 6-5 1/8 | Wt: 224 | Sp: 4.62 | Arm: 35 1/2 | Hand: 10 1/4
Big, extremely long-armed, strong-handed, inconsistent flash player who shows the ability to reel in highlight grabs, though he lacks speed, suddenness and flexibility to consistently separate. Has terrific size and presents a large target, but is straight-linish and questions exist regarding intermittent intensity, competitiveness and toughness. 

WR Deonte Thompson, Florida
Ht: 5-11 3/4 | Wt: 198 | Sp: 4.28 | Arm: 32 1/2 | Hand: 8 3/8
A one-time elite recruit, Thompson is a chiseled speed merchant who did not live up to expectations in Gainesville, as he was plagued by drops and inconsistent play. Has rare timed speed, special-teams experience and quality makeup to turn heads in camp. Could be tried as a “gunner”/outside kickoff coverage man and/or kickoff returner.