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A Missed Opportunity For Top WR Prospect?


INDIANAPOLIS -- The on-field workouts began on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium on a busy Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine with the offensive linemen and running backs. The Vikings' win in the coin toss over the Colts gave the Eagles the No. 14 overall pick. The quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends spoke in the media room. With the desire to add more weapons for quarterback Carson Wentz, here are the top storylines from the wide receiver prospects.

1. Mike Williams Won't Run The 40

The consensus top-three wide receivers in this draft class are Corey Davis, John Ross, and Mike Williams.

Williams is 6-3, 218 pounds and has the longest arms among wide receivers at the NFL Combine at 33 3/8 inches. An amazing contested-catch receiver, Williams hauled in 98 passes for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns this past season for the National Champion Clemson Tigers.

He's not known as a burner, so it should come as no surprise that he will only run the 40-yard dash at Clemson's Pro Day. Williams cited the long season along with using the time after the title win to focus more on preparing for the position drills at the Combine.

"You only run the 40 once, ever, in your life," Williams said. "You are always running routes. I was just focusing on what I'm going to be doing for a long time."

On the one hand, a slow time in the 40 would hurt his draft stock. But a better-than-expected result could propel him to the top of the receiver group, especially since Davis is unable to run because ...

2. Davis Sidelined With Ankle Injury

Davis suffered a high-ankle sprain training for the NFL Draft. He said on Friday that he tore two ligaments which required surgery to repair. He won't run in Indianapolis, and won't run at Western Michigan's Pro Day on March 15. Davis said he will be good to go in time for minicamp following the NFL Draft.

The 6-2, 209-pound Davis might not have played in a Power 5 conference, but he was extremely productive with three-straight seasons of 1,400 yards or more. This past year, he had 97 catches for 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns. In addition to his nice frame, Davis is known for being dangerous with the ball after the catch.

Unable to impress teams on the field, Davis understands that he must "trust the process," which is a popular refrain right now in Philadelphia. Davis is interviewing with the NFL clubs and cites one aspect of his mental approach that separates himself from the other receivers in this draft class - work ethic.

"I have that chip on my shoulder," Davis said. "I work like I'm the worst receiver in the draft, but the confidence is there. I know I'm that top guy."

3. Ross Thinks He Cleared Medical Hurdle

Ross is expected to be one of the fastest players in Indianapolis. He said his fastest unofficial 40-yard dash time was 4.3 flat.

At 5-10, 188 pounds, Ross burned defenses to the tune of 81 catches for 1,150 yards and 17 touchdowns one year after missing all of 2015 with a torn ACL in his left knee. He previous suffered meniscus tears in his right knee.

During the medical exams, Ross said that he was told his knees are stable, which is what he expected to hear.

If he's OK from a medical standpoint, Ross is a student of the game who has learned to harness his speed on the field.

"I don't just want to be a guy who can go deep. I want to be able to do a lot of things in my game," Ross said.

"As you get older, a lot of people get faster, a lot of people get smarter. You can't just run past everyone."

He has drawn comparisons to former Eagle DeSean Jackson. In fact, Ross has been mentored by Jackson, and spoke with him last week while preparing for Indianapolis.

4. Carson Wentz Has A Fan In JuJu Smith-Schuster

Prior to the NFL Scouting Combine, JuJu Smith-Schuster worked out in California with Carson Wentz.

"I learned a lot on and off the field. He basically told me about the Combine, what to expect, how to handle it. You only do it once. He told me to embrace it," Smith-Schuster said.

The 6-1, 215-pound former USC receiver compared his style of play to that of NFC East-rival Dez Bryant. Wentz would love to have someone come in and produce like Bryant. Smith-Schuster had 213 catches for 3,092 yards and eight touchdowns in three seasons, and said that he could see himself playing with Wentz in the NFL.

5. Godwin Has Plenty Of Eagles Fans In His Corner

The best game of Chris Godwin's career at Penn State came at a perfect time.

In the Rose Bowl against USC, Godwin had nine catches for 187 yards and two touchdowns featuring some ridiculous highlight-reel catches against fellow draft prospect Adoree' Jackson.

It would be Godwin's final collegiate game. But it also came off the heels of a virus that left him ill the morning of the game.

"To have that game was kind of surprising to me," Godwin said. "It was definitely a good note to go out on. I'm very thankful for the people who played a role in getting me to that point."

The Middletown, Delaware native has family who would love to see Godwin continue his pro career in the state of Pennsylvania. Godwin has family from West Philadelphia who are diehard Eagles fans.

Godwin has above-average size at 6-1, 209 pounds, but watching him win 50-50 balls, one would think that he's closer to 6-5. Godwin just credits his dedication to the craft.

"It's not really a secret. It's a lot of practice," Godwin said. "It takes a lot of hours of hard work, practicing ball drills and anticipation. But it's also a right time, right place-type of thing."

6. Whitfield: The Fastest Man In Indy?

Before arriving on campus at Florida State, Kermit Whitfield was the Florida high school state champion in the 100- and 200-meter dash, and was considered one of the best sprinters in the country.

In three years with the Seminoles, Whitfield had 102 catches for 1,338 yards and seven touchdowns. On Saturday, he'll look to improve his draft stock by potentially being the fastest player at the Combine.

"I try to block it out and focus on what I have to do," he said.

Whitfield wants to be known for more than just his speed. He wants to make an impact not only as a receiver, but a returner as well. However, the title of fastest man at the Scouting Combine is not a bad one to have.

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