Yeah, this receiver class is as good as we thought it was.
With every week that goes by, the decision to let Golden Tate walk makes more and more sense.
For a fraction of the price, the Seahawks are going to land a very talented player at some point in this draft. If they take a receiver at #32, they’ll be paying around $1.25-2.5m for his services for the next FIVE years.
Or around $4-5m less than Tate’s getting in Detroit.
Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Marqise Lee, Odell Beckham Jr, Kelvin Benjamin, Donte Moncrief, Brandin Cooks, Martavis Bryant, Jarvis Landry, Brandon Coleman, Allen Robinson, Davante Adams.
And now you can add Cody Latimer to the list of prospective first or second round picks.
I keep seeing people refer to the depth of this class and that players will drop to the middle rounds as a consequence.
Not for me.
I think we’ll see a ton of receivers going off the board in round one. As many as seven or eight, if not more. There’s no doubt whatsoever that the strength of this class is at receiver. And with so many teams needing a wide out, they’d have to fight the board not to make an early splash.
Any team thinking of handing DeSean Jackson a big contract needs to consider the options available. The Redskins make a lot of sense because they don’t have a first round pick. Their first pick is at #34 overall.
There’s every chance most of the top receivers will be long gone by then. Seriously.
Grab one early or risk missing out. That’s how I see it.
I might be wrong. But the more I watch of these receivers, the more impressed I am by the sheer strength in top-tier depth.
So what about Latimer?
He’s 6-2 and 215lbs. He’s been bothered by a foot injury so didn’t do anything at the combine other than the bench press. His 23 reps were the highest among receivers.
He’s since run a 4.43 at his pro-day and recorded a 39 inch vertical. He’s still to do any drills and that’s probably why the Seahawks are bringing him in for a visit:
Seahawks to conduct private workout with Cody Latimer, according to league source. Stock rising for Indiana receiver
— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) March 30, 2014
Latimer’s a former basketball star who chose to pursue football for a career in High School: “I was leaning more toward basketball at first… But I love the contact.”
He isn’t kidding. Latimer’s one of the best blocking receivers you’ll see in college football. He’ll lock onto a target and drive a defensive back out of the play. As I went through the tape this weekend, he was pushing people ten yards downfield, shoving them into the end zone to spring a running touchdown and taking any opportunity to get involved.
I’ve seen it suggested that football isn’t his first love. Based on his passion for blocking, I’d say that’s irrelevant. If he’s on the field, he’s getting involved. Nobody can question his heart or commitment in that sense.
And if Basketball was his key passion, you can kind of see why…
Either way, he’s a football player now. That kind of leaping ability at 6-2 can’t be ignored.
Throw in the upper body power (he’s ripped, as the 23 reps on the bench press indicate) and you’re looking at a terrific possession receiver who has all the tools to compete down the red line, win jump balls and provide some value in the running game.
Basically — the kind of things Seattle looks for. The fact he’s a 4.43 runner is just a bonus.
Fast forward to 1:38 in the video beow:
That’s Darqueze Dennard covering Latimer — perhaps the most physical cornerback in the 2014 class. I’ve not spent a ton of time on Dennard because I don’t expect the Seahawks to take a corner in round one — but I haven’t seen anyone shield the football like this against him, gain position and make it look this easy.
Dennard was flat out schooled there — Latimer’s power, control and strong hands were too good.
This is what you want to see from a prospective red zone threat, especially against a first round talent (Dennard could be the first cornerback off the board).
It’s not the only example of strong hands either. I’ve not seen any ugly drops in three games against Michigan State, Michigan or Bowling Green. He’s a sure handed, reliable catcher who can high point the football and make a difficult grab.
He can get downfield as you’d expect from a 4.43 runner — but he’s not a truly explosive athlete or a shifty runner. He’s a straight line guy who tries to out-sprint an opponent, he won’t make many people miss in the open field. But then you wouldn’t be drafting him to be a YAC threat — that’s why you’re paying Percy Harvin $13.4m in 2014.
Latimer’s a pure possession receiver with plus speed and ideal strength. ‘Possession receiver’ shouldn’t be a negative. That is what Seattle needs to compliment the current group.
He also suffered in college — as many of these 2014 receivers did — via bad quarterback play. He’s right there alongside Moncrief, Coleman and even Bryant/Watkins in that regard (the more you watch Tajh Boyd, the more inaccurate you realise he is).
I’ve seen it suggested that Latimer could be anything from a late first rounder to a 5th rounder. For me he’s a solid second round grade with the potential to get into the first round mix. He isn’t the same athlete as a Moncrief or Bryant, but there’s a lot to work with here.