That process begins in earnest this week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., where NFL personnel have arrived to continue the legwork in advance of the NFL draft.
Finsiders analyst John Congemi caught up with some of the top senior receivers in Mobile to find out what separates them from the pack.
If you played a game of word association with “playmaker,” speed, size, and strength would probably lead the way, in some order. But Kansas State’s Chris Harper said for him, it’s all about the hands, a skill that Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland recently said he looks for in a receiver in the West Coast offense.
“Catch the ball, that’s the first thing,” Harper said. “I had one drop this year. That’s what I’ve been talking to teams about, and they’ve watched the film. That’s the main thing. I go out there and make the tough catches, the crazy catches – that’s what I pride myself on.”
For players from non-BCS schools, the Senior Bowl can provide a more visible platform for prospects to reinforce what they’ve put on tape. Louisiana Tech’s Quinton Patton, who finished the 2012 season with 104 catches for 1392 yards and 13 touchdowns, told Congemi that he is the “ultimate competitor.”
His goal by the end of the week: make sure people remember his name.
“I want to show that I’m one of the best receivers in the nation, period,” Patton said.
The Dolphins coaching staff will have a working familiarity with Ryan Swope, no doubt, a Texas A&M receiver that was brought to College Station by current Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman and played with Ryan Tannehill.
Swope, a 6-foot, 206-pound slot receiver, said he wouldn’t mind having the chance to catch passes from Tannehill again.
“Coach Sherman recruited me out of high school, and he’s really just mentored me. He’s been a huge part of my life and I keep in touch with him,” Swope said. “So it would be pretty cool to go back up to Miami and play for him and (offensive line) coach (Jim) Turner and some of the guys down there.”
A year after Kendall Wright was selected in the first round — and Josh Gordon was taken in the NFL’s supplemental draft — another Baylor wide receiver, Terrance Williams, a projected second-round pick in many early mock drafts, is trying to break into the top half of April’s draft.
Williams, a standout in Art Briles’ spread offense, hopes that work ethic and willingness to learn the intricacies of a pro-style offense will stand out this week.
“I just like to compete,” Williams said. “The times when my coaches called my number, I had it drilled it through my mind that I was going to win that play and I was going to make the best out of it.
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