Tantalizing WRs on Display at Combine for Titans

Adonai Mitchell
Adonai Mitchell

INDIANAPOLIS – Oh, the parade. Talented receiver after talented receiver took the three steps up to the podium platforms at the NFL scouting combine Friday.

Headliner Marvin Harrison Jr. skipped it.

But a loaded class with plenty of other big names forged ahead, making a lot of good impressions and cases for while they will be high-quality additions to teams around the league. 

It’s hard to imagine any are more receiver-needy than the Titans, who’ve got uncertainty after DeAndre Hopkins and lack the speedy and explosive playmakers they need to take advantage of Will Levis’ quick release and big arm. Both Ran Carthon and Brian Callahan spoke early in the week about receivers and sounded committed to solving a long-term issue.

Many receivers spoke of what they think differentiates them from the field.

“I feel like a lot of receivers with my speed don’t have the ability to stop how I do,” Xavier Worthy of Texas said. “So I feel that kind of separates me.”

Worthy comes into the combine with a reported 4.29 40 at 6-foot-1, 172. Gaining strength will be a major project for him at the next level.

At seventh overall, the Titans could conceivably be in range of LSU’s Malik Nabers, though Dane Brugler of the Athletic thinks he’s one of the draft’s top three players.

“I’m able to play outside, inside, I go against eight corners a game and still put up big numbers at the end of the game, Nabers said.

Greg Cosell, who studies film and evaluates players for NFL Films, looks at three things for receivers: They need to be able to defeat press coverage, they have to be able to win at the top of their route stem and they’ve got to be able to win at the catch point.

“He can do all of that,” Cosell said of Nabers. “I believe he has a ways to go in terms of refinement at the top of his route stem. But he’s so good just as a natural athlete that he wins and he’ll get better at that. He’s a big kid, body type and he’s physical and he’s really good after the catch. There is nothing I do not like about Malik Nabers.”

Rome Odunze is widely regarded as the third-best receiver in the draft and a top-10 talent, and Cosell considers his a classic boundary X receiver, a single receiver to the short side of the field who can be a contortionist.

“I think a lot of people underrate my speed, my explosiveness,” Odunze said. “I see a lot of that on tape. …If you watch the entire tape then you’re going to see.”

If the Titans lose out on both or choose to go offensive line, several wideouts will disappear before they go on the clock again at No. 38. But they should still be able to get a quality weapon there.

Possibilities include Adonai Mitchell and Worthy of Texas, Troy Franklin of Oregon and Xavier Legette of South Carolina.

Cosell thinks Franklin can be a top 10 NFL receiver within three years because he loves the way he can Kuharsky megaphonerun, is explosive and is sudden.

Franklin brings great speed but more while Legette had only one year of significant production – 71 catches for 1,255 and seven TDs last year for the Gamecocks -- and said it was about “availability and opportunity.”

Brian Callahan touted the depth and variation of players in the wide receiver class. Without a third-round pick, the Titans need to do something in free agency, where they can find help but not anything close to a complete receiver. In the draft they’ve got to find a big contributor.

There is plenty to sort through, and the desperate need for a premier left tackle is omnipresent. But Nabers and Odunze sure are tantalizing.

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