Is Cody Latimer this years Keenan Allen?

Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Spor

Continuing today's trend with "safe" picks, Indiana's Wide Receiver, Cody Latimer

Now that Cody Latimer's completely healthy and was able to fully participate at his Pro Day, the buzz is nearing D.J. Hayden levels of a year ago. I wanted to take a closer look at him after it was reported by NFL.com's Gil Brandt that the Tom Telesco was there. In an interview this offseason, Telesco made it clear he doesn't want to waste time on players he's not interested.

So who is Cody Latimer and how would he fit in San Diego? 1st, let's look at some of his measurables.

Measurable Latimer Average WR at the Combine
Height 6'2 6'0.88
Weight 215 201
Hands 9 5/8" 9.34
40 yard dash 4.44 4.51
Vertical 39" 35.5
Broad Jump N/A 120"
3 Cone Drill N/A 6.92
20 yard Shuttle N/A 4.21

Latimer has great size, and as the vertical shows, can really climb the ladder to make the catch. The 4.44 40 yard dash is moving. I'm not sure he's that fast, but make no mistake he can stretch the field.

Reasons to Get Excited about Latimer

  • Consistently Makes Contested Catches
  • Great at Adjusting to the ball in the Air
  • YAC Monster
  • Top 5 Blocker in the Class
  • Can Stretch the Field
One of, if not the most important thing a receiver has to be able to do is make contested catches at the next level. That's what separates Keenan Allen(who Latimer has shades of) to most rookies, and why it's easy to see why Latimer will be successful. Latimer has very strong hands, and does a good job of catching the ball away from his body. I saw one drop in 7 games, and that was in the rain.

Latimercontest_medium

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Latimer's athleticism is on full display when the ball is in the air and he has to make an adjustment for it. He has great body control, and does a good job of high pointing the ball, and not only coming down with it, but coming down with it in bounds. He makes spectacular catches look routine.

Latimer_medium

Latimer1_medium

One reason Latimer should excite Charger fans is his ability once he gets the ball in his hands. He's not going to juke you, Latimer is a no nonsense type runner, but he's incredibly effective. He's a bulldog. You see defenders bouncing off him, you'll see him fighting for extra yards, and constantly falling forward. Because of his size and strength, you won't see many 3rd level defenders tackle him at the 1st opportunity.

As a blocker, you can tell it's something Latimer really takes pride in. He fights hard to the whistle, and really uses his size to his advantage. He looks on and will drive the defenders yards at a time. It's pretty refreshing. It's not the end all be all by any means, but blocking is important, especially in an offense like San Diego.

As a deep threat, Latimer has shown he can either run right by the defender, or win vertically. In this next GIF, Latimer actually had to slow down for the ball.

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He's also a very fluid athlete, and that showed when he was asked to run double moves. His ability to separate while the ball is in the air makes me thing he'll be very successful as a rookie.

Where He Must Improve

  • Route Running
  • Suddenness
Those are really my only knocks on Latimer, but they're big. While I do believe Latimer can create separation, his route running leaves much to be desired at times. You'll see him drift upfield on out routes, tip off routes, or on most of his curls, he just kind of stutters into his route at the top of his break. This is something that NFL corners will feast on.
I'd also like to see him drop his hips as he's breaking in and out of his routes. He has a tendency to stay high throughout the route.

Latimer doesn't appear to be very sudden, at all. I wouldn't call him a strictly linear athlete, but he's far from what a Brandin Cooks type of player is, when it comes to moving side to side. This is why Latimer has to make so many contested catches. Luckily for him, it's something he excels at. But he'll have to improve this at the next level. What I notice is Latimer tends to fake like he's blocking, and then turn it into a route off of the line of scrimmage. What's going to happen at the next level is defenders will see him stutter, and immediately think run.

Here's what I mean.

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Latimer will need to explode off the line at the next level.

Grade/Final Thought

Multiple Pro Bowl Player, Top 10 8.5 – 9.0
Highly Productive Starter, 1st Round 8.0 – 8.4
Very Good Starter, Early 2nd Round 7.8 – 7.9
Reliable Starter, 2nd Round 7.5 – 7.7
Potential Starter in Year 2, 3rd Round 7.0 – 7.4
Backup/Spot Starter, 4th Round 6.5 – 6.9
Productive Backup, 5th Round 6.0 – 6.4
Very Good Backup/STs, 6th Round 5.5 – 5.9
Quality Backup/Good STs, 7th Round 5.0 – 5.4
Backup/STs/Project Player, 7th Round 4.5 – 4.9
Priority Free Agent w/ Limitations 4.0 – 4.4
Non-Draftable

Trait Weight Grade
Route Running 4 3.3
Speed 2.5 2.2
Hands 3 2.9
Ball Skills 3 2.8
YAC Ability 2 1.8
Effort 2 1.8
Blocking 2 2
Separation Skills 2 1.5
Awareness 2.5 2.1
Athleticism 2 1.8

Latimer grades out to a 7.8, or a top 50 player. He's that talented. He's safe, because he makes all plucks the ball away from his frame, has strong hands and adjusts to the ball. He can win the 50/50 ball, and has enough speed to stretch the field. He'll need to fine tune his route running, but Latimer appears to have the talent to develop into a special player.

How He Fits as a Charger

Latimer reminds me of Brandon Marshall + Keenan Allen. That's not a bad combination, is it? Playing with Philip Rivers, a quarterback who can throw him open, Latimer would flourish with the weapons that would surround him. He could come in, and be a good possession, underneath the receiver that is needed. At the same time, he could add a much needed vertical dimension, and "jump ball" receiver that the offense lacks. I'm not sure where Latimer will go in the draft, due to the depth at the position, but he's a player that's not only safe, but features upside to develop into a #1 threat.

I would strongly consider him in the 2nd round, if he's there in the 3rd round, Latimer is a no brainer for San Diego.

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