GREEN BAY, Wis. – Now that you know who might not be a consideration and why the Green Bay Packers need to use a pick or three at this spot, here is a look at the 2021 NFL Draft class of receivers.
LSU’s JaMarr Chase (featured here), Alabama’s DeVonta Smith (featured here) and Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle are expected to be top-10 selections in this year’s draft. Who could be options for the Packers?
Kadarius Toney, Florida (5-11 5/8, 193 pounds; 9 1/4 hands; 4.37 40; 39.5 vertical; 4.23 shuttle): The rap against the Packers’ receiver corps is it doesn’t have a natural slot threat or a player capable of bringing life to the jet sweep. Enter Yung Joka, aka Toney.
When not lighting up SEC offenses, Toney is an aspiring rapper. He started in fifth or sixth grade but stepped up a notch upon arriving at Florida. After the Gators won the Orange Bowl last year, Toney opened for hip-hop artist Lil Keed in Miami.
"I will say the music actually keeps me balanced and it helps me express how I feel about things and get in touch with other people,'' Toney told the school Web site. "I've seen my music touch people and affect them in a positive way. That keeps me motivated and neutral about a lot of things."
In 2020, Toney caught 70 passes for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns, rushed 19 times for 161 yards and one touchdown, and averaged 12.6 yards per punt return with one touchdown and 21.6 yards on a handful of kickoff returns.
Here’s all you need to know about Toney’s impact. When he was on the Field, Gators quarterbacks completed 70 percent of their passes with 40 touchdowns vs. four interceptions. When he was getting a breather, they completed 63 percent of their passes with six touchdowns vs. six interceptions.
According to Pro Football Focus, he averaged 6.8 yards after the catch, forced 20 missed tackles (fifth in the nation) and caught 7-of-9 deep balls. According to Sports Info Solutions, he had four drops (5.4 percent) and ran 17 unique routes. He caught 55 passes from the slot.
Draft Bible says: In a similar role to former Florida Gator standout Percy Harvin, Toney is a do-it-all gadget player who can affect the game every time he touches the football. Toney is the type of athlete you manufacture space for and watch him work. Screens, jet sweeps, reverses, returning kicks, variety of routes… no matter what it is, get the football in his hand. From a physical perspective, Toney is equally as flexible as he is explosive with straight line speed. He is also a very physical runner, boasting fantastic contact balance for a player his size. As a pure wide receiver, Toney is still developing his feel for the position.
Rashod Bateman, Minnesota (6-0 3/8, 190 pounds; 9 1/2 hands; 4.41 40; 4.35 shuttle; 36 vertical): There are hot recruits. And then there’s Bateman, who committed to Minnesota without ever setting foot in one of the coldest states in America.
Heading into his senior season at Tift County (Ga.) High School, Bateman had no scholarship offers from Power 5 football schools. He loved football but he was getting more recruiting interest in basketball. That summer, he attended a football camp in Atlanta and chatted with Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck. Bateman told Fleck that he’d commit if offered a scholarship. Bateman had an excellent camp, Fleck offered and Bateman committed – and stayed committed.
In two full seasons and his COVID-abbreviated final campaign, Bateman caught 147 passes for 2,395 yards and 19 touchdowns. He had a monster sophomore campaign with 60 grabs for 1,219 yards (20.3 average) and 11 scores to earn first-team all-conference and third-team All-American honors. In five games in 2020 – he opted out of the end of the season after COVID struck the Gophers’ locker room – he caught 36 passes for 472 yards and two scores.
According to Pro Football Focus, he averaged 5.3 yards after the catch, forced nine missed tackles and caught 2-of-5 deep balls. According to Sports Info Solutions, he had three drops (7.7 percent) and ran 10 unique routes. Of his 36 receptions, 33 came from the slot.
Draft Bible says: Bateman has a physicality to his game of a man even larger than his actual size. He is able to win consistently at the catch point, feasting on smaller defensive backs. In terms of athleticism, Bateman has some juice to his game. He is able to stack and win vertically at a good rate for his play style. Bateman is also a sudden athlete who shows some nice nuance as a route runner. There is a ton to love about his game, without much evidence in terms of weaknesses. He routinely plucks the ball out of the air, showing some soft hands.
Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU (6-2 1/2, 205; 9 1/2 hands; 4.40 40; DNP shuttle; 39 vertical): When Marshall was going into his freshman year at Parkway High School in Bossier City, La., he suffered a fractured left fibula. Before his sophomore year, his grandfather died. The following summer, he lost his grandmother. Through the physical and emotional pain, Marshall became a five-star recruit. Then, early in his senior year, he again suffered a broken left fibula (and a dislocated ankle). After a lackluster freshman year, he caught 46 passes and scored 13 touchdowns even with Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson commanding the bulk of the targets. With Jefferson off to the NFL and Chase opting out, Marshall caught 48 passes for 731 yards and 10 touchdowns in seven games. He opted out of the final games of the season.
According to Pro Football Focus, he averaged 6.4 yards after the catch, forced seven missed tackles and caught 6-of-8 deep balls. According to Sports Info Solutions, he had five drops (9.4 percent) and ran 14 unique routes. He caught 47 passes from the slot.
He is related to the late, great Joe Delaney. Marshall’s family believes he is Delaney reincarnated.
Draft Bible says: Marshall has a long lean frame that has some big time developmental potential moving forward. He could hold 220+ pounds without potentially losing much speed in the process. He has a ton more juice that you might envision when first popping on the film. In a lot of ways, he mirrors former Clemson Tiger and Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver Martavis Bryant physically. Marshall is a legit deep threat who can win on the vertical frame both with his long speed and length to gain separation. He has flashed the ability to win through contact and highpoint with the best of them. Marshall has some intriguing body control to make some phenomenal catches climbing the ladder.
Dyami Brown, Tylan Wallace Among Day 2 Prospects
Dyami Brown, North Carolina (6-0 5/8, 189 pounds; 9 5/8 hands; 4.44 40; 4.35 shuttle; 35.5 vertical): Brown had two seasons filled with big plays. In 2019, he caught 51 passes for 1,034 yards (20.3 average) and 12 touchdowns. In 2020, he caught 55 passes for 1,099 yards (20.0 average) and eight touchdowns.
His younger brother, Khafre, was a redshirt freshman for the Tar Heels in 2020. “They used to go at it, all the time, over everything,” Jarvis Davis, who coached the Browns at West Mecklenburg High School, told The News & Observer. “If Dyami scored, Khafre wanted that ball in his hand the next series. It wasn’t hating, it was, ‘OK, he scored, let me show you what I can do.’” Said Dyami: “We have the confidence in ourselves so we already say we’re the best out of all the brothers, regardless of what it is. It’s not really a topic of discussion, but it’s just something that we know.” Brown doesn’t want to be thought of as only football, as he posted in a memorable social media message.
According to Pro Football Focus, he averaged 4.9 yards after the catch, forced nine missed tackles and caught 12-of-27 deep balls. According to Sports Info Solutions, he had five drops (8.3 percent) and ran nine unique routes. He caught zero passes from the slot.
Draft Bible says: At UNC, Brown has been a deep threat who primarily wins with his athleticism. A very dangerous route runner on a limited vertical tree, the Tar Heel complements his clean footwork off the line with very impressive linear burst and above-average long speed. Brown generally creates separation in vertical patterns with his burst and spatial awareness. He also runs a particularly effective stop and go route. He uses his quick feet and lateral agility to both beat press and enhance his efficacy as a ball-carrier. At the catch point, Brown boasts strong hands with a wide catch radius but can struggle with focus drops. While the Tar Heel has potential as a route runner at all levels of the field, he is frequently jammed by physical corners and must improve his hand usage when beating press and working up the route stem.
Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State (5-11 3/8, 194; 9 3/8 hands; 4.49 40; 4.25 shuttle; 33 vertical): Wallace was a second-team All-American in 2018 with 86 receptions for 1,491 yards (17.3 average) and 12 touchdowns. It was more of the same in 2019 until his season was cut short by a torn ACL. Back in 2020, he caught 59 passes for 922 yards (15.6) and six scores in 10 games.
Wallace’s twin brother, Tracin, was a quarterback at Oklahoma State. Fourteen months before Tylan’s ACL, Tracin suffered his third torn ACL and retired. “He was a huge help,” Tylan told The Oklahoman. “I would go in there and ask him anything, like I needed to know why my knee was feeling a certain way or what I need to mainly focus on during rehab. I could ask him anything and he had an answer for it. He was a huge help that pushed me to get through rehab.”
The two were always close. Literally. To such an extent that their mom thought they were conjoined twins. “They could have a full-on conversation, and it was obvious they were getting through to each other, and we couldn't make out a single word,” their mom, Mandi, told NFL.com. “They'd talk, then run off together, and you knew one had convinced the other to go do something. This was past the point where they should have been speaking some English. The doctor always said, 'It happens with twins sometimes. They don't think they need to talk to you.’”
According to Pro Football Focus, he averaged 5.0 yards after the catch, forced eight missed tackles and caught 12-of-28 deep balls. According to Sports Info Solutions, he had one drop (1.7 percent) and ran 10 unique routes. In fact, he had three drops the past two seasons after flubbing nine in 2018. He caught nine passes from the slot.
Draft Bible says: While he doesn’t possess great size, Wallace is a handful to defend with his great leaping ability and elusiveness, coupled with his breakaway speed. He’s an excellent route runner, as his fancy footwork allows him to generate separation in an instant. Wallace is dangerous with the ball in his hands when used as a weapon on jet sweeps and reverses. Wallace specializes in winning contested jump balls and delivers in the clutch. While Wallace lines up all over the formation for the Cowboys, he would translate smoothly to a slot wide receiver in the NFL.
Nico Collins, Michigan (6-4 1/8, 215; 9 3/8 hands; 4.45 40; 4.32 shuttle; 37.5 vertical): Collins made the most out of his 75 receptions in 2018 and 2019 by scoring 13 touchdowns. On 78 career catches, he averaged 17.8 yards. He opted out of the 2020 season.
Collins is from Birmingham, Ala., but wound up at Michigan. Coach Jim Harbaugh made his mark on a recruiting visit. Collins had a bag of Dairy Queen in his hands. “Harbaugh just stuck his hand right in Nico’s bag, grabbed some fries out and started eating them,” high school coach Jerry Hood told The Michigan Daily. “(It) was like they had known each other for forever, which was pretty awesome. He just had himself a good old Jim Harbaugh time.” It wasn’t until deep into his Michigan career that Collins truly believed he could be good, his dad said. “God willing, he stays healthy, and if he does, there’s no telling where he could go,” Don said. “Heck, Hall of Fame.”
According to Pro Football Focus, he averaged 6.3 yards after the catch, forced five missed tackles and caught 9-of-17 deep balls. According to Sports Info Solutions, he had six drops (14.0 percent) and ran 10 unique routes. He caught zero passes from the slot.
Draft Bible says: Limited by a struggling Wolverines passing game, wide receiver Nico Collins might be the most talented and underutilized pass catcher not being talked about nearly enough. Boasting an outstanding frame with a notable catch radius, Collins is a matchup nightmare with the ball in the air. He is incredibly physical at the catch point, routinely out positioning smaller defensive backs for some easy receptions. There is a lot of Michael Pittman Jr. to Collins’ game. His physicality shows off at the line of scrimmage as well. He is a tough player to press, showing the ability to exert his will early on in reps. Collins has a strong pair of mitts, consistently winning outside of his frame with full extension. He has more long speed than you might expect.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC (5-11 1/2, 197; 9 1/8 hands; 4.59 40; 1.63 shuttle; 38.5 vertical): The brother of Green Bay’s Equanimeous St. Brown recorded three productive seasons, finishing with 178 receptions for 2,270 yards and 16 touchdowns. He had 1,042 yards in 13 games in 2019. In six games in 2020, the team captain caught 41 passes for 478 yards (11.7 average) and seven touchdowns.
St. Brown is one of three kids. The oldest, Equanimeous Tristan Imhotep J. St. Brown, starred at Notre Dame and was a sixth-round pick by the Packers in 2018. The middle child, Osiris Adrian Amon-Ra J. St. Brown, played at Stanford. Amon-Ra Julian Heru J. St. Brown is the youngest. They are the sons of John Brown, a three-time Mr. World and two-time Mr. Universe bodybuilder. With a German mother, Miriam, the kids went to school in Germany and France to be immersed in other languages. John and Miriam met in Germany at an international fitness show. In a story by ESPN.com, Brown said he wanted to settle down and have athletic children. What caught his attention? Her big toes, big knees and big IQ.
About those names? “My name is John Brown," he told Bleacher Report. "There are a lot of John Browns. I didn't know what they'd do. It's not like I knew they'd play football; you can't know something like that. But I knew they'd be special. I thought they should have special names.” And his youngest’s name? “It's a strong name. It translates to energy, and it fits him to the T. It just sounds strong coming off your tongue -- Amon-Ra … Ra!!!," John exclaimed in a story at NFL.com. “Oh, man, he's a guy who can change the culture of a team.”
According to Pro Football Focus, St. Brown averaged 4.0 yards after the catch, forced three missed tackles and caught 4-of-10 deep balls. According to Sports Info Solutions, he had two drops (4.7 percent) and ran 11 unique routes. He caught 16 passes from the slot.
Draft Bible says: It starts with his route running, where St. Brown gets in and out of his breaks extremely well and has the ability to cut on a dime. He is going to create easy separation early on in reps with his fluidity. His hands are also phenomenal, rarely showing evidence of drops or double catches. This is in part due to his play strength. He isn’t the biggest receiver, but St. Brown comes down with the football each and every time. He comes from a football family, and it is easy to see that he is an experienced player. St. Brown has a good understanding of spatial awareness, allowing him to pick apart defenses in zone coverage.
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Cade Johnson, South Dakota State (5-10 5/8, 184; 9 1/2 hands; 4.51 40; DNP shuttle; 35 vertical): Johnson had two huge years with 67 receptions for 1,332 yards (19.9 average) and 17 touchdowns in 2018 and 72 receptions for 1,222 yards (17.0) and eight touchdowns in 2019. He was an FCS All-American both seasons. With the FCS season pushed to spring due to COVID, he didn’t play in 2020 other than the Senior Bowl, where he dominated.
Johnson was a zero-star recruit. He grew up about an hour from the Nebraska campus but didn’t get a sniff from the Cornhuskers, even though his father, Clester Johnson, was the No. 1 receiver on the school’s 1995 national championship team. Then again, nobody gave him an offer. He landed at South Dakota State under the agreement that he’d get a scholarship in two years. His work on the practice field gave got him a scholarship a year early.
“I am a huge believer that God puts you in the right place for a reason,” Johnson told The Athletic. “I’m just so blessed with the success that I’ve had here. I could’ve gone to Nebraska and not played till this year. I’ve been the underdog my whole life. Just to see that people are noticing me at the next level now has been really, really cool.”
In 2019, according to Pro Football Focus, he averaged 9.0 yards after the catch, forced 17 missed tackles and caught 9-of-20 deep balls. He had four drops (5.3 percent) and caught 53 passes from the slot.
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Draft Bible says: Mirroring the skill set of current Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Diontae Johnson, Cade is a cat quick slot type who has outstanding fluidity out of his breaks. Evidenced by his insane yard per catch numbers during his Jackrabbit career, Johnson has big play ability, posting multiple long scores for the team. Johnson has some legitimate juice to his game, routinely blowing by defensive backs and breaking angles in post catch situations. For a smaller framed wide receiver, Johnson has some really promising flashes of concentration to win through contact. He is also arguably the top kick returner in the 2021 NFL Draft class, bringing a ton of special teams value with him. Size is always going to be a bit of a concern. Johnson has limited length and not a ton of room to add a significant amount of weight without compromising his athleticism.
Simi Fehoko, Stanford (6-3 7/8, 222; 10 1/4 hands; 4.43 40; 4.26 shuttle; 34.5 vertical): Fehoko caught 24 passes for 566 yards in 2019 – his 23.6 yards per catch setting a school record – and 37 passes for 574 yards (15.5) and three touchdowns in six games in 2020. The bulk of that production came against UCLA with his 16 receptions.
According to Pro Football Focus, he averaged 5.4 yards after the catch, forced four missed tackles and caught 7-of-16 deep balls. According to Sports Info Solutions, he had five drops (11.9 percent) and ran eight unique routes. He caught nine passes from the slot.
Draft Bible says: A height-weight-speed freak for the position, Fehoko has the look of a possession receiver - or at least most defenders think so until he has blown past them. Featured on “Feldman’s Freaks" list during the summer, Fehoko is the type of athletic dynamo who will have coaches drooling over the possibilities of future development. Working mostly on a vertical plane, Fehoko is an exceptional deep ball tracker, able to contort his body to work positioning to finish down the field. He has a very projectable frame, boasting a huge catch radius to win at the contact point.
Josh Palmer, Tennessee (6-1 1/4, 210; 9 5/8 hands; 4.51 40; 4.24 shuttle; 34 vertical): In his final three seasons, Palmer caught 90 passes for 1,416 yards (15.5 average) and seven touchdowns. Four of those touchdowns came in 2020.
Palmer is from Brampton, Ontario, and went to high school at Florida powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas. “As long as I had that goal in my head to be the best and get recruited, I didn’t really think about (the long ride) that much,” Palmer, who went by the nickname “Air Canada,” told The Daily Times. “I just did what I had to do.” Among his football role models is Davante Adams. “Davante Adams, I love his releases, the way he gets defenders moving off their spot. I study them a lot,” he said before pro day. He’s a big Star Wars fan – Darth Vader, included. “I wouldn’t say I feel the dark side … but it’s this pull of light and dark. There’s a fight within him that makes him human and easy for us to relate to as human beings,” Palmer said in a hit on the NFL Network. “At one point in our lives we’re all told that we are destined to be something or do something great. But we don’t know how it’s going to happen.”
According to Pro Football Focus, he averaged just 1.9 yards after the catch, forced two missed tackles and caught 6-of-18 deep balls. According to Sports Info Solutions, he had zero drops and ran 11 unique routes. He caught six passes from the slot.
Draft Bible says: The Canadian is a very physical pass-catcher who truly excels in contested catch situations and high-pointing the football. He possesses the speed to take the top off a defense and the frame to go up and get anything thrown his way. On top of that, he takes great pride in blocking on the perimeter while also bringing value on core special teams units. Where Palmer needs to show improvement moving forward is in his footwork and route-running. He plays with a pad level that is too high, which limits his ability to run consistently smooth routes and separate from defenders.
Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Iowa (6-0 3/4, 181 pounds; 9 3/4 hands; 4.47 40; 4.23 shuttle; 37 vertical): In four seasons, Smith-Marsette caught 110 passes for 1,615 yards (14.7 average) and 14 touchdowns, rushed 34 ties for 274 yards (8.1 average) and four touchdowns, and averaged 28.7 yards on kickoff returns with two touchdowns. He had a career-high 44 catches in 2019, then added 25 in seven games in 2020.
Before he was a football player, he was a water polo star. “It got pretty nasty sometimes,” Smith-Marsette told The Gazette. “Behind the scenes, if you're under the water, you see people kicking you, grabbing you, all that stuff ... A lot of physicality. A good sport.” When he transferred to a different high school for his sophomore year, there was no pool. But there was a football field and a nation passion. “In high school, just coming from a swimmer's background, your lung capacity is different from others. I was able to sprint all day compared to other people. Just being able to run freely full speed and not get tired, that felt good ... I believe that's something that gave me an edge. I'd grown up a football fan, been an (Philadelphia) Eagles fan since I was knee high. So just starting to play football, it was like ‘All right, maybe this could take me somewhere.’”
According to Pro Football Focus, he averaged 5.1 yards after the catch, forced five missed tackles and caught 3-of-10 deep balls. He had three drops (10.7 percent), caught eight passes from the slot and ran 10 unique routes.
Draft Bible says: One of the more underrated deep threats in all of college football, Iowa wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette possesses a tantalizing skill set that will be highly coveted at the next level. With plus deep speed and impressive ball tracking ability, Smith-Marsette puts a ton of stress on defenses working in the vertical third of the field. He is not, however, a one trick pony. His ability as a deep threat will be his main selling point but Smith-Marsette has shown a ton of potential as a route runner. He is very fluid in and out of his breaks, showing a great understanding for how to attack leverage.
Anthony Schwartz, Auburn (6-0, 186; 9 3/8 hands; 4.25 40; 4.25 shuttle; 32 vertical): Schwartz might be the fastest player in the draft. The Tigers mostly used that speed with quick game. In 2020, he caught 54 passes for 636 yards (11.8 average) and three touchdowns. In 2018, he caught 22 passes but rushed 27 times for 211 yards and five touchdowns.
Look at that 40 time. He goes by the nickname “Flash.” He set a world youth record in the 100 meters, won Florida state championships in the 100 and 200, struck gold in the USATF Junior Outdoors and won a silver medal in the 100 at the IAAF U20 world championships. “(Flash) pretty much just feels like a part of me now,” Schwartz told AL.com. “I did not expect it to grow this much because I made it, like, on the fly, in eighth grade.” While he ran track at Auburn, he’s a football player first. “He was a guy that could absolutely run, but being a track guy, you always kind of worry about, ‘Does he have that track mindset?’ But he’s got some bite about him, he’s got some dog in him,” Auburn wide receivers coach Kodi Burns told the Montgomery Adverstiser. “He’s got good ball skills, he can run routes, and he’s tough. He fights for the ball, which you wouldn’t expect a track guy to do, but he’s not a track guy playing football — I think he’s a football player running track, as well.”
According to Pro Football Focus, he averaged 9.0 yards after the catch, forced four missed tackles and caught 3-of-16 deep balls. According to Sports Info Solutions, he had eight drops (12.9 percent) and ran 13 unique routes. He caught 34 passes from the slot and tied for third in the class with 29 receptions on screens.
Draft Bible says: The fastest player in college football forces false steps or early hip turns with footwork and body language up or at the top of the route stem. From there, he can either blow by defenders deep or break his route off underneath with sudden change of direction ability. Against press, he uses quick feet, jab steps, head fakes and body language to avoid contact at the line of scrimmage. Often a recipient of manufactured touches, Schwartz’s speed, surprising contact balance and ability to read blocks make him a dangerous ball-carrier. While his hands are sufficient, he has occasional focus drops or double catches.
Jonathan Adams Jr., Arkansas State (6-2, 210; 9 7/8 hands; 4.54 40; 4.38 shuttle; 39 vertical): Adams caught 62 passes in 2019 to set the stage for his banner 2020 campaign. In 10 games, he caught 79 passes for 1,111 yards (14.1 average) and 12 touchdowns to win Sun Belt Conference offensive player of the year. According to Pro Football Focus, he led the nation in deep receptions (15) and contested catches (23).
Adams was happy with his pro day. "I know they wanted to see my speed," he said afterward. "I bet they didn't know I was that fast. I knew from my training I was going to be faster than I was in the past. I believed in myself the whole time. I never had a doubt in myself." Never a doubt. “I’m sure someone has me as the fifth-best receiver in this draft and someone else has me 17th.”
Adams’ father, Jonathan Adams, was a star running back at Arkansas State, ranking fourth in school history in rushing. Adams’ Jr. was a star on the Jonesboro (Ark.) High School team that was an undefeated state champion. "I think just being a guy on the court who's being physical and just get every rebound," Adams told NWAOnline. "My senior year I had to play a bigger position even though I was an undersized big. But I still played it because of how physical I was."
According to Pro Football Focus, he averaged 3.3 yards after the catch, forced seven missed tackles and caught 15-of-38 deep balls. According to Sports Info Solutions, he had 11 drops (12.2 percent) and ran 14 unique routes. He caught three passes from the slot. “There is no 50-50 ball with that guy. It’s about 80-20,” ASU coach Blake Anderson said.
Draft Bible says: Adams’ size is the first thing that stands out when studying him. He can use his body to shield defenders away from the ball. He utilizes his size in the end zone and will come down with any ball. Defenders have to think twice about playing too physical with Adams because his athleticism is respected. Adams’ size is the reason for his absurd catch radius. If you put it anywhere near him in the air, he will come down with it. He plays with a ton of passion, and his energy often gets passed down to his teammates. Adams is a willing blocker down the field and can use his big frame to body up defenders.
Trevon Grimes, Florida (6-4, 220; 9 3/8 hands; 4.49 40; 4.26 shuttle; 35 vertical): After catching two passes at Ohio State in 2017, Grimes caught 26 passes in 2018, 33 in 2019 and 38 in 2020. He saved the best for last with career highs of 589 yards, a 15.5-yard average and nine touchdowns.
Early during his freshman year at Ohio State, his mom, Leah, was diagnosed with cancer. He returned home and, ultimately, decided to transfer – a transfer shrouded in controversy. “Trevon being so far and not knowing exactly what was going on with my health, that was the biggest issue,” she told the school athletics site. “He's always been a momma's boy and no matter what, he's always been right there. I tried to spare him as much as I could, but you can't lie to your family.” Cancer brought Grimes to his mom; COVID took her away. A frontline nurse, she spent weeks away from home and only saw her kids occasionally through a glass door.
“She’s an amazing woman. I’ve known that my whole life, though,” Trevon told the Sun-Suntinel, from a doorway several steps away from his mother, in her work scrubs and mask. “This is what she loves to do and she’s going to do it until this is over. She’s got that kind of heart. That’s the kind of woman she is, and I just love that about her.”
Grimes was the Florida state champion in the 300-meter hurdles as a freshman and sophomore.
According to Sports Info Solutions, he averaged 5.4 yards after the catch, had two drops (5.0 percent) and ran 14 unique routes.
Draft Bible says: With his huge frame and gigantic catch radius, he is able to win constantly in the vertical third against smaller defensive backs. Grimes has some really strong hands, showing the ability to extend and snatch the football with high efficiency. For a man his size, Grimes has enough juice to threaten vertically. In the run game his size again shows up, while showing outstanding effort as a blocker. Grimes has put the production together at points but it has been very sporadic during the majority of his career.
Cornell Powell, Clemson (6-0 1/4, 204; 9 7/8 hands; 4.52 40; 4.21 shuttle; 36.5 vertical): After four mostly invisible seasons, Powell had a breakout final year with 53 receptions for 822 yards (16.6 average) and seven touchdowns.
Powell is driven to succeed to help his mom, Stephanie. “She can take care of her grandkids every day, all day long. That would be her only job,” Powell told The State. “Until I get to that point, I’m not gonna stop.” After four nondescript seasons, Powell put himself in position to make that goal a reality in 2020. He had three consecutive 100-yard games to tie a school record. “Going out there and making her proud and trying to make sure I do whatever I can to retire her one day; it’s definitely on my mind when I go out there and play,” Powell said. “I’m gonna get her whatever she wants, whatever that is.”
According to Pro Football Focus, he averaged 5.9 yards after the catch, forced eight missed tackles and caught 8-of-19 deep balls. According to Sports Info Solutions, he had three drops (5.4 percent) and ran 12 unique routes. He caught zero passes from the slot.
Draft Bible says: Powell could be a hidden gem in this receiver class. He has a suddenness to his breaks that make you optimistic about his ability to translate as a separator to the next level. He doesn’t possess elite traits athletically, however, he does meet the threshold required to find a home in the NFL. Though he can get rough up defenders as a run blocker, you don’t see that same physicality throughout his route stems. His average athleticism and lack of production profile will make him an under-the-radar prospect.
Jacob Harris, Central Florida (6-5, 219; 4.40 40; 40.5 vertical; 4.31 shuttle; 9 1/2 hands): Starting for the first time as a senior receiver, Harris caught 30 passes for 539 yards and eight touchdowns. Harris was a soccer star in Palm Harbor, Fla., who had more than 10 Division I scholarship offers but, at the urging of a friend, decided to give football a try as a senior. He was hooked.
"If you asked me my senior year what I was going to do in college, it was going to be [to] play soccer," Harris told Fox 13. "Once I got into those pads and played that senior year of football, I just fell in love with the game and that's what really took over my passion." He walked on at Western Kentucky and redshirted at 2015, then left the team and returned home because an aunt had been diagnosed with breast cancer. He got jobs busing tables and at a sporting goods shop. He also became a football coach at his high school. The head coach there, Reggie Crume, got Harris an opportunity at UCF in 2017. He didn’t catch any passes in 2017 and 2018 and scored his first touchdown in 2019. He had a massive pro day with elite size/speed/athleticism numbers. Scouts see him as a Day 1 special-teams weapon with room to become somewhere on the spectrum of a big receiver like Allen Lazard or an athletic tight end like Robert Tonyan.
“I’ve got the tools to be great,” Harris told Spectrum News. “It’s just a matter of putting them together and fine-tuning. That’s something I’m going to keep working on and working my butt off to eventually get to that level of success I want to be at and know I can be at. I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of my potential in the game of football.”
Frank Darby, Arizona State (6-0, 201; 9 3/8 hands; 4.59 40; 4.23 shuttle; 34.5 vertical): Darby caught 67 passes for 1,317 yards and 13 touchdowns in 39 games over four seasons. He caught only six passes for 63 yards in 2020, a season limited to three games due to injury and a personal matter involving his daughter.
It’s been quite a road for Darby. He wasn’t immediately eligible academically. During COVID, he lost three friends back home in New Jersey to gang violence. “I want to play ball. I need to play ball,” he told TheSunDevils.com. “I've got anger in me and I've got so much to get off my chest. I'm going to play hard and play physical on the field. I'm taking this out on the competition.” And, worst of all, his mom died a few weeks before ASU’s pro day. "I got myself together knowing I had to keep going because it's the most important thing in my life, and I know this is what she wanted for me," he said at pro day. "I've been doing this for five years for her, and she went away on me about three weeks ago, but I'm just happy I was able to just fight through it, keep pushing for her and coming out here and doing what I need to do. I just know she's watching over me."
Known for his smile, Darby was a big-play receiver with his career average of 19.7 yards per catch. "One thing I can say [I’ll bring to the NFL] is my toughness and also the energy that I bring. I'm going to go out there with energy and that's going to push other players to be great and play at their highest level each and every day at practice,” he said at pro day. “I'm also tough enough to go out there and play special teams. That's just one thing about me, just like my energy and the way I compete, the passion I have to go out there and play football.”
According to Sports Info Solutions, he averaged 4.2 YAC and had a drop rate of 15.2 percent on his 67 career receptions.
Draft Bible says: Darby is a quick-twitch receiver that possesses the breakaway play speed you want to see in an NFL prospect. Darby proves this ability when he is asked to run double move routes, as he combines his route running ability with his agility which allows him to get open with his and make plays down the field. Darby has solid hands as sometimes he does body catch passes that are through to him which sometimes can slow him down when trying to run after the catch. He also displays elite tracking ability on deep passes and has no issue adjusting his body to make terrific catches.”
Ben Skowronek, Notre Dame (6-2 7/8, 220 ponds; 10 1/8 hands; DNP workout/foot): Between four seasons at Northwestern and a final season at Notre Dame, Skowronek caught 139 passes for 1,856 yards and 13 touchdowns. He caught 45 passes for Northwestern in 2017 and 2018, then concluded his career with 29 receptions for 439 yards (15.1 average) and five touchdowns for the Fighting Irish in 2020.
He’s got a troubling injury history, having missed most of the 2019 season with an ankle injury, the start of the 2020 season with a hamstring and the Senior Bowl (and pro day workout) with a broken foot. However, he’s a big, physical target with enormous hands and a taste for blocking. He fits the tough-guy, Allen Lazard-style mold.
His uncle his longtime NFL quarterback Trent Green. Green’s son, T.J., is a quarterback at Northwestern and was teammates with Skowronek. And that’s just part of the family athletic DNA.
According to SIS, he had two drops (6.5 percent), averaged 6.6 YAC (up sharply from his career mark of 3.6) and ran nine unique routes.
Draft Bible says: Skowronek is a big-bodied receiver who plays on the outside for the Fighting Irish. Due to his overall lack of speed, it will make sense for teams to move him inside as a big slot, similar to how Robert Tonyan is used in Green Bay. Skowronek is a great blocker and was consistently driving cornerbacks backward, five to ten yards downfield. The competitiveness and willingness to do whatever is asked of him will help Skowronek at the next level. He is really smart and has reliable hands. He won’t hurt teams with boneheaded mistakes or bad drops. His route running ability is underrated, as he moves better than expected for a player of his size.