Draft Daily: FSU WR Greene a Mid-Round Target?
Between now and the draft, we’ll zero in on one prospect a day with an Eagles slant. If you have a player you want covered, let us know on the Birds 24/7 Facebook page.
THE BACK STORY
Last week, ESPN aired its QB Camp special with Jon Gruden and Florida State’s Jameis Winston.
Gruden spent a segment focusing on Winston’s interceptions from last year. And one common theme he found was that a lot of Winston’s picks came when he was trying to force the ball to wide receiver Rashad Greene.
But there was a reason for that. Greene has been one of the most reliable, productive receivers in the country. Last year, he caught 99 balls for 1,365 yards and seven touchdowns. The year before, 76 for 1,128 and nine scores.
Greene finished his career as the all-time leader in FSU history in both catches and yards; the yardage mark is an ACC record.
Chip Kelly reportedly put Greene through a private workout earlier this month, so there’s certainly some level of interest there.
Many have focused on the first-round wide receiver prospects, but given the depth of this year’s class, the Eagles might be best-served waiting to take a pass-catcher until Day 2 or Day 3.
From a pure size/speed perspective, Greene (5-11, 182) doesn’t stack up to many of his peers. He ran a 4.53 at the combine, but did test well athletically in some areas.
The slight frame is definitely a concern, especially for teams that see Greene as more than a slot receiver. He’ll more than likely be asked to add some bulk at the next level.
When watching Greene, two things stand out: his hands and his route-running. At times, he made opposing defensive backs look flat-out silly.
Greene has experience lining up both outside and inside. His playing style reminds me more of a seven-year veteran than a guy who’s going to be a rookie next season.
Check out the move he puts on the Virginia defensive back here (2:11 mark):
Here it is in GIF form:
According to Pro Football Focus, Greene dropped just 3.88 percent of the catchable balls thrown his way. He has some of the best hands in this draft class.
The play below (3:28 mark) against Notre Dame reminded me of Jason Avant:
Greene helps out his quarterback, makes the grab and slides in-bounds.
I was hoping to see some more YAC ability with Greene. He’s not the most elusive guy, but he did have his moments, like this play against Oklahoma State (8:06).
As you can see, there’s a lot to like with Greene. He has great hands, is tough and looks like a polished route-runner. Greene is a guy who could likely step in right away and catch a ton of balls as a rookie.
But there are concerns too. While he played outside in college, I wonder whether beating press coverage in the NFL would be a challenge for him. And in terms of vertical speed, I didn’t see instances where he just ran past defenders. Given his frame, it’s unlikely that he’ll be winning a lot of jump balls downfield.
In other words, he could be a guy who has a lot of productive years in the NFL, but Greene doesn’t have the upside of some of the other wide receivers in this class.
Philosophically, I think it makes a lot of sense for the Eagles to wait on drafting a wide receiver. It’s a deep group, and they already spent second- and third-round picks at the position last year. They’d be better served to spend the first rounder on another position of need (cornerback, offensive line).
The guess here is that Kelly will really like how advanced Greene is in certain aspects of playing the position. And he’s considered a high-character, unselfish player. Jimbo Fisher compared Greene’s leadership ability to Derek Jeter.
But we know Kelly has made a big deal in the past about wide receivers in the NFL having to beat press coverage. Does he think Greene has that ability? Does he view him purely as a slot receiver?
Answers to those questions will determine whether the Eagles see Greene as a viable option in the middle rounds.