Senior Bowl Primer: Wide Receivers (Part 2)

photo credit: USATSI

Rannell Hall, UCF
6'0", 193 lbs
Rannell Hall had a senior season to forget, as if there were anything worth remembering to begin with. Without Blake Bortles but with injuries and a larger role, Hall suffered, not reaching 100 yards receiving in a single game and catching only one touchdown all year. Strictly on paper, Hall isn't much, but that's why the camera was invented, kids. Hall's strength isn't in his flash, but in his experience. The great thing about seniors is that you know they've been putting in college-level work for at least four years, and Hall has the footwork and route running ability to prove it. He's cool under pressure, and plays his part to perfection. He does lack a serious amount of speed and playmaking ability, but when it comes to relying on guys down-by-down, Hall can be trusted.

photo credit: USATSI

Justin Hardy, East Carolina
6'0", 190 lbs
South Carolina fans need no introduction to Mr. Hardy. In his three contests against USC in his career, Hardy has had 30 catches for 377 yards and two touchdowns. Hardy has reportedly been one of the most impressive prospects in Senior Bowl practices thus far, and that shouldn't be surprising to anyone. Hardy has been a one-man catch magnet for Shane Carden and ECU the past three years, snatching anything that Carden threw within five feet. Seriously, watching his footage, I'm amazed at how many catches come Hardy's way in heavy traffic that he somehow ends up with. It's a good thing he's got those magic hands, because getting separation from his defender is not a strong suit. Hardy does have an amount of breakaway speed, but getting that initial breakaway will be an issue against NFL talent.

photo credit: USATSI

Ty Montgomery, Stanford
6'0", 216 lbs
Montgomery is another Senior Bowl pity invite that had an awful senior season due to lack of a good quarterback or any other strength on offense. Montgomery also went without a single 100-yard performance, and didn't catch a single touchdown in his final seven games (he didn't play in the season finale or the bowl game). Watching him play, though, any concerns that came from what was on paper simply fade away. Montgomery is a playmaker, with incredible elusiveness and an ability to get open big time downfield. A great performance at the Senior Bowl will be a nice reminder to scouts about just how good he really is.

photo credit: USATSI

Vince Mayle, Washington State
6'2", 219 lbs
If there's one thing you can say about Wazzu receivers it's that they're always prepared to have the ball thrown their way. A lot. Mayle was the top dog for Washington State's gunslingers this year, despite it being only his second year of actually playing. Mayle caught 106 passes for over 1,400 yards, but that's the curse of being on an air raid offense: nobody really bats an eye. Mayle's going to have to prove himself as someone who can stand out in a pro-style offense, and also showcase his athletic side at the combine. Every receiver in the NFL Draft can catch the ball, but it what they do with the ball that sets them apart.

photo credit: USATSI

Tony Lippett, Michigan State
6'2", 192 lbs
Lippett was the man for MSU's QB Connor Cook this past season, and he became the man by making big plays. Lippett caught 65 passes for over 1,100 yards, and averaged over 18 yards per catch, showing he's the man you want downfield getting it done. Lippett has tremendous control over his hands and feet, so discipline is not going to be an issue for coaches. Judging from Lippett's performances despite the more smashmouth style of offense that Michigan State runs, it's clear he's a guy who is just too good to ignore in the playbook.

photo credit: USATSI

Antwan Goodley, Baylor
5'10", 210 lbs
Hey, if you have one of the best senior quarterbacks in the nation playing in the game, you might as well bring the baller senior wide receiver he always threw to as well, just for good measure. Goodley earned his place, though, despite having a down year compared to his junior campaign. The Midland, Texas native's short and stout frame provides a different type of weapon for quarterbacks, especially in the height-obsessed NFL. 'Twan brings crazy athleticism, defying gravity with his jumping and leaping ability. I swear he has some sort of robotic extendo-arms that allow him to catch balls normally far beyond his reach. Goodley can get it done, and even one big play in the Senior Bowl will make that clear.

photo credit: USATSI

Devin Smith, Ohio State
6'0", 190 lbs
Smith is already slotted to be a first-round pick, but when you've been reliable and talented enough to make three quarterbacks look like Heisman contenders, you've earned a little dap. Now it's up to Smith to prove his worth as his own man, and prove he belongs in the conversation as one of the best wide receivers available. He certainly has an NFL-level ability to make catches in traffic, and is quite speedy as well, but Ohio State has had so many offensive weapons that Smith might have a hard time making the case that he should be the number one option for an elite offense.

photo credit: USATSI

Jamison Crowder, Duke
5'8", 174 lbs
I made my love of little guys known yesterday when talking about Phillip Dorsett, but Crowder is positively pint-sized. Crowder is more than a pinball, though. He has real talent at running routes and finding tons of space downfield. Maybe it's a credit to his size that he's so elusive, but there's no reason genetics can't help you get a good draft spot.