Titans Looking at Top WR Prospects at NFL Combine


INDIANAPOLIS — The receivers are here, in all shapes and sizes.

The Titans are watching them closely, trying to decide what their best option might be in the coming weeks and months.

"Get open and catch the football," Titans general manager Jon Robinson said when asked what he's looking for at the position, before being even more candid.

"And there's various ways of getting open – it's strength, it's size, it's quickness, it's speed. If you get all that wrapped up and one big bow on it, then you probably have a pretty dang good player."

Most agree the top three receivers here at the NFL Combine are Clemson's Mike Williams, Western Michigan's Corey Davis and Washington's John Ross, but there's a debate on where they rank. All three players met with reporters here on Friday.

"I am a big, physical receiver,'' said Williams, who is scheduled to meet with the Titans and 10 other teams tonight. "I can go get the deep ball, I can block on the edge. I just do it all in one.

"I believe (I am the best receiver here). If you are here and don't believe you are the best at your position, I don't know why you are here."

Ross made a case for himself.

"I don't want to be a guy who can just go deep, or a guy who can just return kicks," said Ross, who said he's met with 11 teams, including the Titans. "I want to be a complete receiver for my team.

"I think my speed, I think there's a difference in speed (between me and the other receivers). I think that's where I stand out the most from the other receivers in this class. I know Mike can also be a deep threat, but he is more of a bigger guy. Corey Davis is a complete guy also. But I just think I am faster than those guys and I think that shows up more."

Davis was the last of the bunch to speak to reporters on Friday. He's also met with Titans, and said the meeting went "really well."

"I know they have two very high-caliber running backs in Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray, so they are definitely going to run the ball," Davis said. "But I love blocking.

"... I feel like I can play with the best of them. My game tape is not too shabby."

Yes, all three are different, from their play on the field to their mindset.

Williams is big and physical. He's nearly 6-foot-4, and he weighed in at 218 pounds here before NFL scouts. He's coming off a season when he recorded 98 catches for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns. He played big against Alabama in the national title game.

Davis is an imposing figure himself, standing nearly 6-3, at 209 pounds, with good speed. Davis caught 97 balls for 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns last season, and his 5,285 career receiving yards is an FBS record.

And then there's Ross, the burner from out west. Yes, he's just 5-10, 188, but he can fly. Ross had a big year in 2016 himself, recording 81 catches for 1,150 yards.

"I think it just depends on what you're looking for,'' Mayock said of the Titans, who currently hold the fifth and 18th picks in the first round of the NFL Draft, and the receiver position.

Heading into the combine, Mayock had Davis as his top-ranked receiver. He thinks all three could go between picks 10 and 20.

"As a vertical threat, he's probably the best one in this draft,'' Mayock said of Ross. "John Ross (has) talent. He's probably the best vertical threat in the draft. If you're talking about a guy that's going to run 4.35, which I think he will, and he's also really quick. … (He's) quick, fast, good hands, he's really intriguing.

"But then you have to look at the other two guys, and Mike Williams creates his own space. I mean, he's a big, physical dude. I think he welcomes press coverage. He uses his physicality. He catches back shoulders. … He's probably the best guy as a wide receiver position in this draft in the red zone because of his catching radius and physicality.

"I have Corey Davis as the No. 1 receiver, because I think he's a better athlete with good size. Better run after the catch than Mike Williams."

A few concerns surround the receivers at the NFL Combine.

Davis isn't scheduled to run here in Indianapolis as he recovers from minor ankle surgery, which means his pro day will be key. Ross will have shoulder surgery for a torn labrum after the Combine. Williams won't the 40 here at the Combine, instead opting to wait until his Pro Day.

The Titans are evaluating other receivers here as well. Eastern Washington's Cooper Kupp and East Carolina's Zay Jones round out Mayock's top five, but the draft has plenty of other talented players at the position.

The Titans are also keeping an eye on veterans who could be available at the position via free agency, or trade.

"We're looking at each position as we have in all the drafts and all the combines,'' Titans coach Mike Mularkey said. "Size, speed and all that. You know Jon and I's requirements. They've got to be able to get open and they've got to be able to catch the ball. Period. And I'll add they have to block, too."

Robinson made it known he won't be lured in by just size and speed.

He's looking for more.

"That would generally help them get open a little quicker," Robinson said of the size-speed combination. "There have been plenty of big, fast pass-catchers or big, fast players at other positions that do well here or do well at their pro day, but it never really manifests itself on the field.

"We are trying to be good at football, not good at exercising. So the guys that can get open, specifically at that position, and catch the football, that is paramount for us."

Titans GM Jon Robinson, head coach Mike Mularkey make their media rounds at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. (Photos: Gary Glenn)

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