The first day of on-field workouts at the Senior Bowl did not disappoint. The wide receivers, especially, put on a show at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN, as they went through the crucial stage of testing in the NFL draft process.
Here are five pass-catchers who increased their stock with eye-opening demonstrations of athleticism.
Christian Watson, North Dakota State
The 6-4, 208-pound weapon from North Dakota State was unguardable at the Senior Bowl, flashing elite short-area quickness, dependable hands, and keen ball tracking skills. He continued his success with a freakish performance in the preliminary drills at the Combine, recording a 38.5” vertical leap and 11.4” broad jump. Then Watson ran an unofficial 4.28-second 40-yard dash, which was later corrected to 4.36. That’s still blazing fast for a receiver of his size.
According to Next Gen Stats, Watson is just one of three receivers standing 6-4 or above to record an athleticism score over 90 in the model since 2003. Watson’s draft stock continues its meteoric rise as his dominance in each task proves that out of all the tasks thrown at him, there is nothing he can’t do at a high level.
Chris Olave, Ohio State
A contender for the title as the best route runner in his class, Olave confirmed his stature as a 6-foot receiver and the silky route running style that earned him canyons of separation at Ohio State. Olave recorded the most surprising 40-yard dash time of the group, initially flying to a 4.26 before its amendment to 4.36. The result should make NFL scouts and evaluators feel better about his top-end speed and abilities as a vertical threat.
Bo Melton, Rutgers
Crafty releases and quickness popped in Melton’s tape at Rutgers and he brought his bag with him to the Senior Bowl, earning him a label as one the draft’s most underrated pass catchers. Melton torched the 40-yard dash with two times in the 4.3 range, with his second attempt confirmed at 4.34 seconds. Melton also had a 38” vertical jump, which ranked among the top 10 receivers that tested at the Combine. He should be firmly on the radar of evaluators now.
Calvin Austin III, Memphis
At the Senior Bowl, Austin illustrated that his size as a 5-7, 170-pound receiver are just ornamental numbers. Cornerbacks failed to touch him off the line and allowed Austin to slash his way to an electrifying performance in the three days of 1-on-1 matchups with rapid foot fire, snappy cuts, and overall elusiveness throughout his route. The Combine was another stop for Austin to stick it to the underestimators, which he accomplished in the form of a 39” vertical and 4.32-second 40-yard dash (third-fastest among this year’s receivers). The former Memphis walk-on’s history of overcoming obstacles he has met in his football journey carries on.
Skyy Moore, Western Michigan
Moore has been shooting up draft boards in recent weeks as his ball skills, instincts, and toughness after the catch earned him supporters. Despite measurements at 5-10 and 195 pounds, Moore ran a 4.41 40-yard dash. His natural catching ability and mid-flight adjustments were on display in the forthcoming drills while the gauntlet exercise verified the sturdiness of his massive 10.25” mitts, which enveloped the ball. A strong showing in Indy might have solidified his bid for a Day 2 selection.