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5 Wide Receivers To Watch At 2017 Scouting Combine


The retirement of Steve Smith Sr. has left a hole in the Ravens' receiving corps.

General Manager Ozzie Newsome said he's looking for a "complementary" weapon, specifically someone who will run good routes and make tough catches to pair with speedsters Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman.

That piece could arrive via a veteran wideout in free agency, as many pundits have speculated, but Baltimore may also be tempted to snag a top-flight receiver if the board falls that way.

Unfortunately, Western Michigan's Corey Davis, who is perhaps the top talent in the class, won't be participating at the combine due to an ankle injury suffered while training.

Here's a look at some of the top prospects that will compete at this year's NFL Scouting Combine:

Mike Williams, Clemson
6-foot-3, 225 pounds

Williams helped lead Clemson to the national championship with 98 catches for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns, then was pivotal in taking home the title with eight receptions for 94 yards and a score against Alabama. He has prototypical height, weight and speed. He has good hands, tracks the deep ball well and goes up and makes plays. Williams has the attributes to be a true No. 1 wide receiver, and will likely be drafted in the first 20 picks.

What he needs to prove at the combine: Williams missed the entire 2015 season with a neck injury, so his medical reports will be critical.

John Ross, Washington
5-foot-11, 190 pounds

On the surface, Ross isn't what the Ravens need. Baltimore already has two speed demons with Wallace and Perriman. With that said, a dynamic playmaker like Ross is always tough to pass up, and he's being projected as a mid-first-round pick. Ross posted 81 catches for 1,150 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior, and can play in the slot or outside. He's also a dynamic returner.

What he needs to prove at the combine: Ross is another player that team doctors will be looking at closely after he tore his left ACL in the spring of 2015. There are long-term health questions about both of his knees.

Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington
6-foot-1, 198 pounds

Kupp is the NCAA's all-time leader in career receptions (428), receiving yards (6,464) and receiving touchdowns (73). That production wasn't just because he dominated small-school talent. He put up big numbers versus the powerhouse schools as well. Kupp also proved himself against his peers at the Senior Bowl, where he was one of the week's most impressive players at any position, and may have risen into the second round.

What he needs to prove at the combine: The question about Kupp is whether he has the physical tools – specifically speed – to succeed in the NFL. He said at the Senior Bowl that he's aiming for a 4.4-second 40-yard dash time, which would greatly help his stock.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC
6-foot-2, 220 pounds

Smith-Schuster is an ultra-competitive wideout who plays the game with an attitude similar to former Ravens veterans* *Smith and Anquan Boldin. He makes tough catches in traffic and has no fear going over the middle. He has great size, tracks the deep ball well and is a strong blocker on the outside.

What he needs to prove at the combine: Keep an eye on Smith-Schuster's 40-yard dash. If he runs anything around the 4.4 mark, that will be a big positive for him.

Chad Hansen, Cal
6-foot-2, 205 pounds

Hansen started his college career at Idaho State before transferring to Cal, where he ranked third in the FBS with 9.2 receptions per game and fourth with 124.9 yards per contest. He has a good combination of size and speed and has shown the ability to make big plays.

What he needs to prove at the combine: Hansen's athleticism doesn't jump off the page. His tape may be better than his tests. He'll be looking to prove that he's a better overall athlete than it may seem.

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