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2018 NFL Combine: Stock up, stock down for wide receivers

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An already thin receiver class can’t afford many combine slip ups. Who improved their stock?

NFL: Combine
Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Christian Kirk catches a pass during the 2018 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. 
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The wide receiver class is paper-thin, as I wrote about back in February. This is not a draft the Miami Dolphins want to bet on replacing Jarvis Landry.

Yes, there are talented, unpolished receivers that could be a great asset to a team on day-two of the draft.

But, there are not any elite talents that stick out like previous drafts have had. Whether it’s dropped balls, poor route running, inconsistent play or lack of athleticism, this class lacks exceptional receiving talent.

However, there were a few who balled out at the combine, showing off their potential. If the combine is anything indicative of what they can bring to an offense, they may have a chance to replace Landry after all.

Let’s dive into who won and who lost the combine.

STOCK UP

D.J. Chark, LSU

Chark blew up the combine with his blazing 40-time of 4.34, combined with a 40-inch vertical. His 16 bench reps was even a good number consider Chark is on the lean side. His tape isn’t great, but we’re starting to see it’s more of an LSU distribution problem, than Chark problem. He’s still more of a body-catcher than a natural hands-catcher, but there’s no questioning his elite athleticism. Chark cemented his stock as a top-40 pick.

NFL: Combine
LSU Tigers wide receiver D.J. Chark runs the 40 yard dash during the 2018 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

D.J. Moore, Maryland

The best chance the Dolphins have at replacing Landry is by finding a way to draft D.J. Moore. Moore brings toughness, agility, razor-sharp cutting, hands and speed. He ran a 4.42-second 40, added a 39.5-inch vertical leap with an astounding 11-foot broad jump and put up 15 reps of 225-pounds on the bench. Beast.

He may have played himself into the first round, but if he falls to the second, Miami will have to move up to get him.

NCAA Football: Maryland at Rutgers
Maryland Terrapins wide receiver DJ Moore (1) turns and runs with the ball after making a catch against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the second half of the game at High Point Solutions Stadium.
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Courtland Sutton, SMU

Sutton’s 4.54 is fine, but his 35.5-inch vertical leap and 10-foot-4 broad jump shows how much of a handful he can be. Additionally, his ridiculous 6.57 three-cone drill time and 4.11 20-yard shuttle left teams drooling over Sutton’s agility. His tape is underwhelming and inconsistent -- especially against the upper echelon of college talent — but his combine definitely improved his stock. He could wind up going late in the first round.

NCAA Football: Southern Methodist at Navy
Southern Methodist Mustangs wide receiver Courtland Sutton (16) catches a pass for a touchdown in front of Navy Midshipmen cornerback Elijah Merchant (14) during the third quarter at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Honorable mentions: Equanimeous St. Brown, Tre’Quan Smith

STOCK DOWN

James Washington, Oklahoma St.

Washington was receiving tons of hype headed into the combine — for whatever reason — and was expected to excel in the 40-yard dash to show off his breakaway speed.

Washington had an outstanding career and was Mason Rudolph’s go-to target. The 5-foot-10, 213-pound field stretcher was expected to showcase his talents at the combine. However, he ran a 4.54-second 40, a 4.32 short shuttle and a 7.11-second three-cone. None of those numbers scream explosiveness. He also put up 14 bench press reps and a 34.5-inch vertical leap. A player known as a “deep threat” in college may find life way more difficult in the NFL if this combine is indicative of who he really is.

Braxton Berrios, Miami

A extremely unfortunate and unlucky injury to one of the hardest working receivers in college football was suffered right before on-field workouts. A strained pectoral muscle isn’t the end of the world, but it prevented him from improving his stock at the combine, and may hold him out of his pro day workout too. Berrios to the New England Patriots would be a dream matchup for both sides. His game is very much like Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman, so let’s hope it doesn’t happen for the rest of the NFL’s sake.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Miami
Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Braxton Berrios (8) celebrates his touchdown against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Auden Tate, Florida St.

Tate looked slow on tape and looked even slower at the combine. His 4.68 40-time and 31-inch vertical were both uninspiring. At this point, Tate looks like he’ll have difficulty creating separation at the next level with the lack of quickness he has, and will have to make a living off being a tough possession receiver. For a guy who is so big and compact, he may benefit from a move to tight end. His stock may have dipped into the fifth round, barring a complete turnaround at his pro day.

NCAA Football: Independence Bowl-Southern Mississippi vs Florida State
Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Auden Tate (18) catches a touchdown pass against Southern Miss Golden Eagles defensive back Cornell Armstrong (3) during the second half in the 2017 Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium.
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports