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Friday, May 2, 2014

Around The Draft: Cody Latimer

My Around The Draft In 60 Days nonsense is reaching the home stretch, providing me the opportunity to discuss another size/speed WR project to get you to the finish line.

Indiana's Cody Latimer is yet another WR who projects to greater things based on getting in a better system/coaching situation/QB situation.  If you, the end user, are excited by measurables, Latimer might be your guy (if not, Kelvin Benjamin, the guy before this, is).  6'3, 215 lbs with strength to go with it (23 reps x225 on the bench was tops at WR, and ranks him very high against all back-seven defenders), ran a 4.44.  He has a good catching radius, including soft hands.

He's high-cut, they say (I don't measure receivers from here at my desk and let's be honest, someone else can do that, I'm good), so he has the Kelvin Benjamin type issues - long striding, maybe a little stiffer in the lower body so his routes don't look great.  He's not going to sink his hips into that out route the way a similarly large Jordan Matthews might, or at least, hasn't.



Latimer's raw basketball background is intriguing in this offense, where TEs (Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates specifically) have done an excellent job translating the post-up type moves into playmaking.  Similarly, the bigger receivers have room to make things happen there - Vincent Jackson and Calvin Johnson have made a heck of a living playing that same role at WR.  Latimer would excel at that.  I've seen plenty of criticism about Latimer not being a football-first prospect, somewhat unstated because it wasn't his "first love".   Don't know what to make of that, haven't met him. 

So, instead, I focus on sloppy routes, and a somewhat meteoric rise in the last few weeks.  A third round prospect based on play, he shot up because of the size/speed thing, and there has to be a balance.  He's not a polished prospect, and he's the type that can struggle if he's asked to do too much immediately. He might go as high as the 20s, and he'll definitely be gone before his February rating of the 80s-90s.  

But while some fans don't believe in the WR corps of the Panthers, you have to consider (once again) the fundamentals in place and the style of play.   Latimer, like any rookie, would have to outplay receivers that run good routes, have good hands, and know the game.  
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