In the later rounds of the NFL Draft you don't find perfect players. There are reasons players aren't selected early -- lack of size, speed, an injury history or some other limitation that pushes them down the board in the eyes of talent evaluators.
What NFL teams hope to find later in the draft are players with one or two useful skills or physical traits that could, at the least, make them valuable special teams or role players. One player who seems to fit that description is Fresno State wide receiver Devon Wylie, the subject of today's 2012 NFL Draft Prospect Profile.
Wylie is a 5-foot-9, 187-pound speedburner who had a relatively unspectacular collegiate career, but opened eyes with a 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, and with his ability as a punt returner and on kick coverage teams. The Giants reportedly have had Wylie in for a visit.
NFL.com refers to Wylie as a "hidden gem" and, as you will see after the jump, Wylie is a player National Football Post Scouting Director Wes Bunting loves. Wylie caught 56 passes as a senior and averaged 15.4 yards on 29 punt returns, taking two back for touchdowns.
This is a really long YouTube clip of Wylie. It is, however, a lot of fun to watch.
Devon Wylie Highlights Fresno State (via wesndene39)
Bunting lists Wylie among 'Draft Prospects Worth Fighting For.' Here are some of the things Bunting says about him:
... a big threat on special teams ... a gifted return man ... a tough gunner, who will get down the field and tackle ... Is limited a bit by his size, but is the kind of cat-quick slot guy with great ball skills who can make a living in the NFL. The major positive with him is that he also has very good speed.
CBS Sports projects Wylie as a third-day selection. CBS says:
Has a compact built and frame to beat the jam. Good burst after one or two steps. Shows exaggerated movements on jerk routes and the ability to quickly adjust to throws. Fights through trash well and is not afraid to take a hit in the middle of the field. Hits top speed immediately after the catch. A dynamic player from the slot and in the return game with experience on the outside.
Wylie is highly effective as a returner, as he is very decisive and has the speed to make one cut and get upfield to take it the distance. As a receiver, he is very quick off the ball and gets into his route immediately. He understands how to use his quick feet to get off the line without cornerbacks pushing him off his route. He is a good route runner who can get open thanks to his acceleration and ability to break on a dime. He is a consummate deep threat and could be effective running quick screens and getting yards after the catch at the next level.
Devon Wylie Profile
Weight: 187 pounds
School: Fresno State
40 time: 4.39
2011 Stats: 56 receptions, 716 yards, 12.8 yards per catch, 1 touchdown, 29 punt returns, 15.4 yards per return, 2 touchdowns