The Colts hit draft gold last year when they traded up into the 4th Round to grab T.Y. Hilton, and he had arguably the best season of any rookie WR in the NFL a year ago. This means that a very good WR can be found in the middle rounds, and one guy that might fall into that category is Arkansas's Cobi Hamilton.
Hamilton is a big, physical receiver that is the prototypical outside WR. He played in all four seasons with the Razorbacks, totaling 175 catches, a school record, 2,854 Yards and 18 touchdowns, completing an extremely productive career. His senior season was one of the best for a WR in SEC history, grabbing 90 catches, a school record and third in SEC history, 1335 yards, also a school record and fourth in SEC history, and had five games with 10+ catches, blasting past the Arkansas record of 2. His masterpiece is a 10 catch, 303 yard, 3 touchdown performance against Rutgers, which broke the SEC record for receiving yards in a game (but wasn't actually the highest single-game total in the NCAA last season). As you can see, he put up monster numbers.
So why in the world is Hamilton being projected as a middle round prospect? The biggest thing has to be that he has a bad habit of dropping passes, sometimes multiples in a game. Without actually watching him it's hard to know whether it is a physical technique issue (like looking away too soon), or a mental problem that snowballed once he'd drop one or two. Having never played football I can't say this with 100% certainty, but my guess is the mental aspect is much tougher to overcome than the physical one. It's a problem we saw time and again last year with all of the Colts receivers, unfortunately.
I did find one Senior Bowl report that might give us a little insight, and a little hope that it is a physical problem:
NFL personnel have told us that Hamilton is not viewed as a natural pass catcher because he body catches most passes within his frame which leads to him fighting and then dropping too many passes. Despite his ability to adjust and make spectacular catches on off-target passes, teams are concerned about his habit of dropping too many easy passes.
Even with the drops, Hamilton still put up huge numbers in what most consider a pass-heavy Offense. He could end up being a huge steal if he can fix how he catches the ball. I don't mean to make it sound like that is an easy thing to do, but he'll have many more opportunities to work on it at the next level. Once you get past the first two rounds, there's always going to be a downside to a guy. Hamilton would be able to step in immediately and play opposite Reggie Wayne, and I'm more willing to take a risk on a guy who clearly can put up huge numbers, which could have been even better had he had some technique work. Maybe the Colts can go back-to-back years with WRs in Round 4.
Big target with a well-built frame who projects as a potential outside starter. Uses his body to get position on his man on inside routes. Displays an extra gear once he gets the ball in his hands. Physical after the catch, showing the ability to break arm tackles.
Occasionally runs by defenders with his long strides, but scouts won’t expect him to do the same at the next level. Will need to show he can drop his hips and have quick feet to run all NFL routes. Rounds off his cuts on out-braking routes. Concentration is a major issues, as he drops a couple of easily catchable balls a game.
Strengths: Gliding athlete with good quickness in-and-out of his breaks and good, but not great, vertical speed. Nice job after the catch to slip defenders and race down the field. Used a lot on movement routes to catch the ball in stride and create.
Weaknesses: Lean frame and lacks much body strength to break tackles. Needs to do a better job fighting for the ball on contested throws and is too much of a finesse receiver, often getting pushed around. Room to improve his footwork in his routes to stick his foot in the ground and decisively go.
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