Watch CBS News

Durkin's Prospect Watch: WR Tyler Lockett

By Dan Durkin--

(CBS) Undoubtedly, the NFL is a big man's game. Creating physical mismatches with big receivers against smaller cornerbacks is a staple of teams' game plans. However, five of the receivers who finished in the top 10 in receiving yards were 5-foot-11 or shorter. So, there's still clearly a place for smaller, shiftier receivers to flourish.

Today we take a look at one of the draft's most productive receiver and return prospects: Kansas State's Tyler Lockett.

WR Tyler Lockett (5-foot-10, 182 pounds, 22, Kansas State)

40-time: 4.40
Three-cone: 6.89
Vertical: 35 1/2"
Arm: 30"

Bio: Lockett arrived in Manhattan as an all-state wide receiver recruit who led Booker T. Washington to a state championship in Oklahoma. His father, Kevin, was also a wide receiver at Kansas State who was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the second round of the 1997 draft. Over his four year career at Kansas State, Lockett broke his father's school records for receiving and all-purpose yards.

As a true freshman in 2011, Lockett earned All-American honors as a returner. His 35.2 yards-per-return kickoff average was both a Kansas State and Big 12 single-season record. He also hauled in 18 receptions for 246 yards and three touchdowns. In 2012, he started 11 games at receiver and ranked second on the team with 44 receptions for 687 yards, and his four touchdowns led the team. He also averaged 32.8 yards per kickoff return, taking two to the house.

In 2013, Lockett started all 12 games at receiver, leading the Big 12 in receiving yards per game (105) and all-purpose yards per game (155), and he ranked third in kickoff returns (26.5) and sixth in touchdowns (11). In 2014, he led the nation in punt return average (19.1) and and ranked third in total receiving yards (1,515), all-purpose yards (2,296) and punt return touchdowns (two). He ranked seventh in receptions (106).

In total, Lockett appeared in 47 games, making 36 starts over his decorated collegiate career. He was a four-time All-American as a returner, a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist and a two-time Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year.

Pro outlook: Given the impact the similarly sized Emmanuel Sanders had in Adam Gase's offense last year in Denver, Lockett could contribute immediately as a slot receiver in three-wide sets. His prowess as a returner makes him a versatile and valuable piece as teams pare their roster down to 46 on game day.

Lockett is a smooth and patient route runner who plays with excellent balance heading into and coming out of his breaks. He creates separation from defensive backs with both savvy and suddenness. He tracks the ball well in the air, showing the ability to contort and adjust his body to off-target throws.

Lockett's biggest contributions in the passing game will come on short and intermediate routes. He shows a great ability to get a defender leaning before breaking off his route and gaining extra yards after the catch.

Lockett's physical limitations will push him down draft boards. He's not going to win contested passes in traffic and may struggle to get clean releases off the line of scrimmage against more physical corners. He also has a tendency to fight passes and can pin the ball against his pads, which will lead to dislodged passes.

Draft projection: Given the size-to-speed ratios of some of the other receivers in the 2015 class, Lockett is likely to slide to the third round, but he could be a great value pick.

Dan Durkin covers the Bears for and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.