Josh Padgett, Contributor
This short article is the second in a growing series of guys that I am going to be higher on than most. I will discuss some of the combine measurements, some of the tape, and just give an overall prognosis of what I am hoping for from these guys, and of course, where I am looking to take them in a rookie draft.
I think Deon Cain is the type of athlete who can really morph his game across the receiver positions in the NFL. Is he truly an X, Y, or Z receiver? I don’t think he really fits in any of those boxes. I think he can really benefit a team by moving all over the field. He can be a deep threat, a possession receiver, a Not a lot of guys in the league have that capability. Coming in at 6’2” and 202 lbs at the combine makes him a bit on the slim side, but I think he can add some muscle at the next level.
What really shines through for Cain from the combine though is his 4.43 40 and his 6.71 3 cone. These numbers show that he is the type of athlete you want to see in an NFL receiver. He has the deep speed to get behind defenders, but also looks to have the quickness and change of direction to create space across the middle or breaking to the outside. Although he didn’t test as a terribly explosive leaper and he has pretty small hands, I loved what I saw on tape between the body control and positioning giving himself chances to win on jump balls. I don’t foresee him having any trouble contributing to an NFL offense. Like I said, he can play all over the field and shows lots of strengths on tape.
Last year, Clemson really looked for Cain early and often. He ran a lot of different routes and was the first read a lot of the time. He had 58 receptions this past year morphing from the deep threat he had been in his first two years to the top receiver for his squad. Is he the best receiver in the draft? No, but he could be the most well rounded athlete at receiver. I also think he is one of the least landing spot dependent receivers which gives him a big boost for me. I am however looking forward to seeing his landing spot and projecting the role he will play in the offense. One other thing to worry about with Cain is a slight blemish in his off the field record. He was suspended for failed drug tests early in his college career. This seems to be behind him, but it is always better to have these things in mind than to be ignorant of them.
Overall, I see Cain as a early to mid second round player and my WR5 with room to rise up my rankings and little chance of dropping down.