With less than two weeks to go until free agency opens and just over two months until the 2014 NFL Draft, we are in full blown offseason mode here. Earlier, I profiled why Mike Evans and Christian Kirksey would be great fits on the New York Giants‘ roster. I also touched on several more draft prospects in my first mock, in addition to five prospects the Giants should target on day three of the draft.
However, it dawned on me recently that I omitted one prospect who presents an incredible value in the later rounds — Alabama wide receiver Kevin Norwood. The good news is that the Giants haven’t missed him — they formally interviewed him at the NFL Combine.
So why should you care about Norwood? Well for starters, he is a great combination of size and speed — a combination that often is telling of future success. Norwood stands at 6-foot-2, 198 pounds and he ran an official 4.48 forty-yard-dash at the NFL Combine. From a pure athleticism standpoint, Norwood’s numbers compare to Odell Beckham (5-foot-11, 198 pounds with a 4.43 forty-yard-dash).
The difference is Beckham is expected to go somewhere between 125-150 picks before Norwood.
Of course, athleticism doesn’t always translate to success, so let’s take a look at Norwood’s production at Alabama. Norwood, who played beyond a myriad of talented players before him, saw his role in the offense grow with each passing season. In 2012, Norwood caught 29 passes for 461 yards and four touchdowns. He followed that up in 2013 with 568 yards on 38 catches while adding seven touchdowns.
Because he was not ever a focal point of a dynamic college passing game, many are projecting him to go in the second-half of the sixth round of the Draft. In Matt Miller’s recent post-combine full mock draft, he had Norwood going off the board with the second-to-last pick in the sixth round.
While those numbers aren’t anything to go crazy about, Norwood’s career average yards per catch (15.9) is a telling statistic for future success. His role is subject to many other factors and it he could find more targets at the next level. He has cashed in on his opportunities and in the process showcased a skill set that translates very well to the NFL.
Norwood is a smooth runner and he displayed excellent hands a big catch radius at Alabama. Kevin’s best attributes are his ability to adjust to the ball in the air and his incredible body control, followed by his football IQ and knack for reading defensive zone schemes like a quarterback would. It is these traits that lead many to project him as a productive slot wide receiver at the next level.
The one major knock on his game is his straight-line deep speed, but by running a 4.48 forty-yard-dash, he proved that he certainly has the speed needed to play anywhere.
Quite frankly, it seems like the overwhelming depth of talent in this year’s wide receiver class has made it possible that a prospect like Norwood could last past even the third round. The Giants would be getting a steal if they drafted him even as early as the fifth round.