Beyond the 40: Packers WRs Show Athleticism

Adams (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Of the 33 receivers who were drafted last week, the Packers' three selections posted strong results in one particular drill. What is it and what does it mean?

In the "underwear Olympics," the 40-yard dash and vertical jump are the focal points for the wide receiver prospects.

Perhaps it's just coincidence — or, in Ted Thompson's manner of speaking, "It's just the way it worked out — but the Green Bay Packers appear to have focused on another of the Scouting Combine tests.

Of the 33 receivers who were drafted last week, the Packers' three selections all posted strong results. Seventh-round selection Jeff Janis, whose workout numbers ranked with any of the receivers at the Scouting Combine, posted the second-fastest three-cone time at 6.64 seconds. Fifth-round pick Jared Abbrederis finished 12th in 6.80 seconds. Finally, second-round pick Davante Adams tied for 13th in 6.82 seconds.

"You like to see their suddenness and lateral agility, thus the three-cone and shuttle drills play importance there, especially for slot receivers and running backs," the NFL's top scout, Dave-Te' Thomas, said. "To me, it gives me an opportunity to examine if a player shows proper knee bend. It allows me to see the crispness in their pivoting ability, as I do not want a player taking wasted steps in transition. It also allows me to see balance and body control as they shift their weight, because if the player can not shift their feet and fluidly move their body, no sense in utilizing them to move the chains, leaving that player to just deep-pattern routes as an option."

Compare the three-cone results to the 40-yard dash. Janis tied for the fifth-fastest 40 at 4.42 seconds. Abbrederis' 40 of 4.50 tied for 22nd. Adams' time of 4.56 seconds beat only four receivers.

The 40, however, tells only part of the story. While Adams won't beat too many defensive backs with sheer speed, he has other tools in his toolbox.

"Adams is an athletic mover who might lack blazing speed, but has the acceleration and stride to get into his routes smoothly and is very slippery once he gets behind the defender," reads the NFL's official scouting report on Adams. "He generates a strong hand push to prevent from being rerouted coming off the snap, and has the change-of-direction agility and loose hips to elude in the open field (6.82-second three-cone drill). He has loose hips and good forward body lean, as it is rare to see him get upright or run a bit straight-legged.

"The thing you see on film is his ability to explode and take that extra step needed to maintain acceleration throughout his patterns. He has excellent hand/eye coordination to get to the ball at its high point and the size and body control to time his leaps and contort his body to get to the tough throws in a crowd. He is very flexible for a tall receiver, flashing acrobatic moves to get to most balls thrown to him. He is a long strider with enough of a functional second gear to get on top of the defense. He has excellent balance adjusting to downfield passes and knows how to sink his hips and drop his weight to elude after the catch. His fluid stride is a definite asset, as he instantly becomes a dangerous threat with the ball in his hands, especially when challenging second-level defenders to mirror him (see 2013 Nevada-Las Vegas, New Mexico and Utah State games). You can see that he has the functional speed, agility and quickness throughout the route progression."

Beyond the three-cone, only one drafted receiver beat Adams' 39.5-inch vertical leap. Janis' 20-yard shuttle of 3.98 seconds ranked fourth; Abbrederis 4.08 in that drill ranked ninth.

The following chart shows the workout numbers from the 33 drafted receivers. They are ranked in order of their three-cone drills.

PlayerHtWt40BPVJBJ203-cnRnd
%REESE, Tevin  5:111634.4664111"00"4.186.637
JANIS, Jeff  6:032194.422037.510'03"3.986.647
GRANT, Ryan  6:001994.64835.509'11"4.116.685
NORWOOD, Kevin  6:021984.4883310'01"4.326.684
#BECKHAM JR., Odell  5:111984.43738.510'02"3.946.691
#ELLINGTON, Bruce  5:091974.451539.510'00"3.956.694
#LEE, Marqise  6:001924.52103810'07"4.016.692
POWELL, Walter5:111894.541031.510'00"4.236.706
STREET, Devin  6:031984.50103710'04"4.016.725
#COOKS, Brandin  5:101894.33163610'00"3.816.761
CAMPANARO, Michael  5:091924.46203910'02"4.016.777
ABBREDERIS, Jared  6:011954.50430.509'09"4.086.805
#ADAMS, Davante  6:012124.561439.510'03"4.306.822
JONES, T.J.  6:001884.48163309'11"4.276.826
HERRON, Robert  5:091934.481835.510'05"4.276.846
BROWN, John  5:101794.34836.509'11"4.126.913
WATKINS, Sammy  6:012114.43163410'06"4.346.951
RICHARDSON, Paul  6:001754.4083810'04"4.236.982
MATTHEWS, Jordan  6:032124.462135.510'00"4.186.952
HUFF, Josh  5:112064.47143709'10"4.126.963
#ROBINSON, Allen  6:032204.60103910'07"4.007.002
#MONCRIEF, Donte  6:022214.401339.511'00"4.307.023
#LATIMER, Cody  6:032154.44233910'00"4.337.022
EVANS, Shaquelle  6:012134.511334.510'02"4.217.074
GALLON, Jeremy  5:081854.491539.510'10"4.267.077
#LANDRY, Jarvis  6:002054.581228.509'02"4.317.072
#EVANS, Mike  6:052314.53123709'11"4.267.081
HAZEL, Matt  6:011984.501536.509'10"4.27.086
ENUNWA, Quincy  6:022254.45193410'0"4.357.146
#BRYANT, Martavis  6:042114.42163910'04"4.157.184
WRIGHT, James6:012014.451638.510'08"4.327.187
SAUNDERS, Jalen  5:091654.4483410'02"4.347.294
#BENJAMIN, Kelvin  6:052404.611332.509'11"4.397.331


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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