Leading up to the NFL Draft many teams will continue their evaluation process on prospects while altering their draft boards in preparation for Draft day. Couch Potato GM will provide you a breakdown of two prospects matched against each other with similar draft projections to get you prepped for the 2017 draft. Voting option below for your input on who you think the better prospect is.
The Matchup: These productive non-Power 5 school receivers are vying to sneak up into first round conversation. If they don’t hear their names called on Day 1, they will be both competing to be the first receiver taken off the board in Day 2. Zay Jones a 6’2 200 pound record setting receiver at East Carolina has the bloodlines of his father Robert Jones, who played linebacker in the NFL; his uncle QB Jeff Blake well-known from his days as a Bengal and his brother Cayleb who played receiver at Texas and Arizona in college. Jones has a chance to be better than all three and he proved his dominance with a record breaking 158 receptions last season. Oh yea he also has the most receptions in NCAA history (399). Contrary to others beliefs Jones can play any wide receiver position at the next level due to his size, speed, pristine route running and strong hands. Carlos Henderson is a couple of inches smaller than Jones at 5’11 but he is just as big weighing in at 199 pounds. Henderson was also dominant at the collegiate level racking up 23 touchdowns last season in a variety of ways. He can come into the league immediately and be a special teams ace as his return ability and open field prowess is remarkable to say the least. Henderson does lack the route running ability Jones’ possess, however his skill after the catch eluding defenders can be an electrifying asset to a football team. Teams will have to decide if they will go with sure and steady or risky and potential through the roof.
CPGM Headley’s Take: These two receivers have risen up the draft boards of late with strong combine performances and dominating their competition on tape. Zay Jones was a name I’ve seen when looking up college football receiving leaders as he caught a record setting 158 catches in his final season at East Carolina. The tape showed Jones catching many short designed screen passes at the line of scrimmage and excelling at running routes from the slot. The knock on Jones was his ability to play on the outside in the NFL due to his exceptional work in the slot at ECU, but the tape also shows him lining up on the outside with excellent high point ability and awareness around the sidelines. The kicker for me was watching him at the Senior Bowl and how comfortable he looked outside. He was the best player in that game and should have easily had 3+ touchdowns if it wasn’t for his quarterback missing him wide open consistently in the end zone. As you can tell I have a lot of love for Jones but my guy is the electrifying Carlos Henderson. Jones might be the safer pick in the draft but who likes safe when you can get a game changer in Henderson. The conference USA phenom from Louisiana Tech won both the offensive and special teams player of the year awards doing it in with extreme quickness and style. If Henderson is willing to master his craft/route running and not rest on his physical talent alone, he can be one of the biggest steals in the draft.
CPGM Drew’s Take: When I put the tape on for Zay Jones I had know idea what to expect but he blew me away. When running his routes at the start everything looks the same with no wasted motion. I dare say he is second best in the class in the route-running department only Corey Davis is better and Cooper Kupp is right on Jones’ heels. I caught myself thinking Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson when watching him. He did do most of his damage in the slot but because his route running was so damn good I couldn’t see why he wouldn’t be able to be an outside WR unlike the former ECU Pirate Justin Hardy. As for Carlos Henderson, at first glance he reminded me of Percy Harvin. The way he was used at LaTech in the many ways, WR, HB, slot, and special team returner; and when you look at their respective size and speed its damn near identical. But the more and more tape I watched it became evident that he wasn’t quite the ilk of a Harvin but a prospect that can be a prototypical WR1 or WR2. His ability to beat his man on the deep ball along the sideline and challenge the defender for the ball and come down with it with his size is damn good.
NFL Comparison: Zay Jones – Chad Johnson; Carlos Henderson – Corey Coleman