Clemson WR Sammy Watkins opined that he could ‘run by just about anybody’ during his media session on Saturday afternoon.
That could be perceived as a bold statement amidst what some coaches and league executives have dubbed the deepest receiver draft in recent memory.
Sunday morning, Watkins supported that statement by clocking an official 40-yard dash time of 4.43 seconds, though was hardly the only burner among this year’s receiver class.
Watkins, who enters this year’s draft as possibly the most coveted wideout among the class, had designs on topping the group in 40-yard times during Saturday’s press conference.
“I’m pretty sure everybody’s going to do well, but I have to separate myself someway, somehow,” Watkins said.
While his actual figures placed him among the top of his class, they fell short of the marks of several receivers. Brandin Cooks of Oregon State led the group in 40-yard times, clocking in 4.33 seconds. Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, whose 6’5”, 231-pound frame has often drawn comparisons to Tampa Bay receiver Vincent Jackson, helped his draft stock by logging a time of 4.53 seconds Sunday.
Other notable times included 4.42 by Clemson wideout Martavis Bryant, 4.34 by Pittsburgh State receiver John Brown, and 4.39 seconds by Michigan’s Jeremy Gallon.
The times logged by the swiftest of receivers speaks well of the considerable depth in this year’s receiver class, a notion that was emphasized Sunday by NFL analyst Mike Mayock.
“I was really impressed with Evans,” Mayock said. “Cooks is a kid that made a statement that ‘I’m a first-round pick,’ and this is one of the best wide receiver drafts I’ve ever seen, so that was significant.”
News and notes:
-With an official time of 4.26 seconds, Kent State RB Dri Archer logged the fastest 40-yard time of the day. Archer projects as a multipurpose big-play threat, primarily in the return game. He returned four kickoffs for touchdowns in his college career.
-Sunday also featured media availability for defensive backs, another deep draft grouping at both safety and corner. The majority of top-ranked defensive backs spoke Sunday, with Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard the lone notable exception.
-Auburn RB Tre Mason, who said on Sunday that he had a meeting scheduled with the Rams while at the Combine, posted a 4.5 40-yard time on Sunday.
-In evaluating the performance of this year’s quarterback class, at least among those who participated in Sunday’s tests, Mayock was impressed with both A.J. McCarron of Alabama and Central Florida’s Blake Bortles.