Five under-the-radar draft wide receivers you should know

An annual tradition of Broncos training camp is the arrival of the under-the-radar receiver who becomes a fan favorite by making a slew of plays during practice.

It's a testament to the nature of practice, of course; drills often favor the receiver over the cornerback. But in recent years, it's also an example of the team's good work in finding late-round and undrafted contributors. Three examples are on the current roster: Bennie Fowler, Jordan Taylor and Kalif Raymond.

The depth of quality receiving prospects is why it always pays to take a close look at the receivers who project as mid-to-late-round prospects. Here's five who've caught my eye in recent months:

**RIVER CRACRAFT, WASHINGTON STATE**

HEIGHT: *6-0 - WEIGHT: *193
*BENCH PRESS: *15 repetitions
One of the deepest sleepers in this year's draft, Cracraft looked poised to become a mid-to-late-round selection before he suffered a torn ACL against California last Nov. 12.

Cracraft's game is built on the sharp cuts and quickness required in running precise routes from the slot -- areas keenly affected by an ACL injury. Given the typical recovery time, it could be another year before he's all the way back to his pre-injury form, so a team that adds him will have to be patient.

However, if Cracraft's recovery is successful, he could have a bright NFL future. At 6 feet and 200 pounds, he has the size and frame to make plays in the slot against tight coverage from nickel cornerbacks. He also has a knack for moving the sticks; 64 percent of his receptions last year went for first downs.

**ISAIAH McKENZIE, GEORGIA**

HEIGHT: *5-7 - WEIGHT: 173
*
ARM LENGTH: *28 7/8 inches - HAND SIZE: 8 7/8 inches
*
40: 4.42 seconds* - BENCH PRESS: 11 reps
*
SHORT SHUTTLE: *4.15 seconds - THREE-CONE DRILL: *6.64 seconds

McKenzie has potential as a weapon who forces teams to shuffle their defensive assignments when he steps out of the huddle. Georgia sometimes used him on sweeps and end-arounds, and he averaged 8.9 yards per carry in 2016. Last year, McKenzie scored once every seven times he touched the football on offense.

He has work to do to grow into an every-down contributor at the next level. He must protect the football better; he struggled with fumbles at times during his college career. His 173-pound frame means that he isn't yet ready to take an every-down pounding, even on the outside.

But McKenzie should be a change-of-pace threat who immediately steps in on returns. He averaged 11.2 yards per punt return and 22.1 yards per kickoff return. He returned five punts for touchdowns, giving him a rate of one score every 12.4 chances.

**JALEN ROBINETTE, AIR FORCE**

HEIGHT: *6-3 - WEIGHT: 220
*
ARM LENGTH: *32 3/8 inches - HAND SIZE: 10 7/8 inches
*
40: 4.62 seconds* - BENCH PRESS: 13 repetitions
*
SHORT SHUTTLE: *4.46 seconds - THREE-CONE DRILL: *6.77 seconds

Unlike the other receivers on this list, Robinette isn't a slot target and doesn't project as a returner. His size and ability to maximize his opportunities in a triple-option offense evoke memories of Demaryius Thomas, who made the most of limited chances at Georgia Tech.

Robinette averaged 27.4 yards per reception last year, nearly finishing with a 1,000-yard season despite catching just 35 passes. He scored once every 5.5 receptions the last two years.

Although his timed speed doesn't raise eyebrows, his size allows him to win jump balls downfield. He'll be a tough physical match for most cornerbacks he faces. If he can refine his route-running with pro coaching, he has the potential to develop into a productive starter.

**RYAN SWITZER, NORTH CAROLINA**

HEIGHT: *6-3 - WEIGHT: 220
*
ARM LENGTH: *32 3/8 inches - HAND SIZE: 9 1/4 inches
*
40: 4.51 seconds* - BENCH PRESS: 11 repetitions
*
SHORT SHUTTLE: *4.00 seconds - THREE-CONE DRILL: *6.77 seconds

Perhaps the best pure slot target in this year's draft class, Switzer is also among the quickest receivers available. His short-shuttle time at the Combine ranked first among the wide receivers there.

Switzer had a career-best 1,112 receiving yards as a senior last year, but what could push him above other slot receivers is his electric work on punt returns. He averaged 10.6 yards on his 102 runbacks for the Tar Heels, scoring every 14.6 opportunities.

The primary knock on Switzer is arm length. At 28 inches, his arms are the shortest of any wide receiver invited to the Scouting Combine.

**TRENT TAYLOR, LOUISIANA TECH**

HEIGHT: *5-8 - WEIGHT: 181
*
ARM LENGTH: *28 3/4 inches - HAND SIZE: 8 1/4 inches
*
40: 4.63 seconds* - BENCH PRESS: 13 reps
*
SHORT SHUTTLE: *4.01 seconds - THREE-CONE DRILL: *6.74 seconds

His height, length and hand size ensure that he will be a late-round pick -- if he's drafted at all. But his production, route-running and on-field quickness demand a second look; he racked up 3,085 yards and 21 touchdowns on 235 catches the last two seasons.

Despite his average numbers in terms of timed quickness and his size, Taylor is elusive and racks up plenty of yardage after the catch, frequently making the first tackler miss.

Taylor also has experience as a punt returner. He averaged 8.3 yards on 58 punt returns for the Bulldogs.

Related Content

Advertising