Yesterday I talked about finding receivers late in the draft that have all the athleticism necessary to be successful at the NFL level, but are passed on due to their school. I use Marques Colston as the perfect example of a player that likely would’ve been drafted earlier had he not attended Hofstra and had instead gone to Florida, USC or Ohio State. Granted there are plenty of these unknowns that never made the transition; however, in the 6th and 7th round isn’t it worth it to take a home run swing?
With players like Marc Mariani, Julian Edelman, Marques Colston and Pierre Garcon all making impacts on their teams, the Jaguars can afford to take a swing for the fences on smaller school talents like Lester Jean of Florida Atlantic, Ricardo Lockette of Fort Valley State, Edmond Gates of Abilene Christian or Dwayne Harris of East Carolina. One more name that can be added to that mix as a player that the Jaguars have brought in for a visit is Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s receiver, Raymond Webber.
Gene Smith has shown a love for drafting players with great production at the collegiate level. Mike Thomas is still the all-time leader in Pac-10 receptions with 259 career receptions. Jarett Dillard holds the record for all-time NCAA touchdown receptions at 60. Webber fits the bill as his 101 receptions and 1,429 yards receiving both led the nation in 2010. He became only the the second receiver to ever crack 100 receptions in a season in SWAC history (Jerry Rice did so twice at Mississippi Valley State).
While Webber is certainly not the elite, track star-type athlete that Ricardo Lockette is, he did well for himself at his pro day according to small school expert, Josh Buchanan:
This workout wasn’t amazing or eye popping but it was better than most expected out of Webber. He was estimated to be a 4.6 or 4.7 guy by most but running 4.5s at the Central Arkansas pro day with 4.5 10-yard splits and solid strength (17 reps) helped his case for a free agent contract. The only concern is that his straight line speed is better than his change of direction skills with a 4.31 short shuttle and 7.26 3-cone.
Most, including Buchanan, have projected Webber to be an undrafted free agent and that would seem the most probably route, but with eight visits with NFL teams pre-draft, it would be surprising if he didn’t get a contract. The Jaguars, Rams, Seahawks, 49ers, Chargers, Packers, Buccaneers and Dolphins have all had or will have visits with Webber prior to the draft in 20 days.
Gene Smith always makes a point to say that he values tape more than anything else. While Webber may not have the ridiculous measurables to garner an early draft pick, or any draft pick for that matter, production like his cannot be ignored. Jerry Rice very famously made a name for himself as the epitome of a productive player that found success despite a slow 40 time. No one should expect Webber to be Jerry Rice, but he certainly has the potential to be a solid NFL receiver.