Scouting Report: Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson

Scouting Report: Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson

Stretching the field
By: Pete Davidson : February 26, 2014 7:15pm

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Today’s prospect, Clemson’s Martavis Bryant, is yet another upside receiver. This year's class is simply loaded at the position. Bryant’s ceiling is very high due to his freakish combination of size and high-end speed. Of course, that ceiling comes with some risk. Bryant has some things to improve upon, the most crucial being his hands. He had too many drops last season and we think that keeps him out of the top two rounds. In a weaker draft, he could be a climber the way Stephen Hill was in 2012, but in this insanely deep draft, he should be less coveted.

I sat down with Martavis at the combine, and as I alluded to in our Combine Notes, I came away with a different impression than I expected. The two things that stuck out were his humility and his focus on the things that matter. He knows that he needs to continue working on his fundamentals and he knows what his key areas are. This is a positive coming from a player who is supposed to be immature and who has an academic suspension on his record.

Also on the positive front, Bryant has been working with Chris Carter in Boca Raton, and he said the Hall of Fame receiver taught him “a lot of things.” Bryant alluded to some route work and learning to “play smart,” but Carter also stressed responsibility off the field. “He told us about his stories about what happened to him. He just tried to hammer it in on us.” It appears that this is a young man who is learning how to work at his craft. If he can sustain it, he has a chance to develop into a serious weapon.

Things we like about Bryant.

  • Size - At 6’3” plus and weighing 211 pounds, Bryant is already a lot to deal with. He’ll probably end up playing somewhere around 215 when all is said and done. He’s a prototypically-sized outside threat.
  • Speed - When an athlete as big as Bryant can run 4.42, you have a serious downfield threat. His speed is not as functional as some smaller receivers' in terms of coming out of his breaks.  However, once Bryant gets going, he is a lot to handle downfield, and he does have a second gear that is noticable after the catch.  He’s also a guy who loses very little when the pads are on.
  • Big-play ability - You can see it right here against Georgia Tech, and it was his calling card every year at Clemson, where he averaged 22.2 yards per reception over his three years as a Tiger. Martavis' combination of size and speed plus his surprising burst after the catch make him a very dangerous weapon. He’s the kind of receiver that Cam Newton could really use in Carolina.
  • After the catch ability - Because of his big frame and ability to play above smaller corners (without even selling out on the jump) he can make huge yards after the catch at times.  He also has the ability to get behind his man due to his long speed and physicality at the line of scrimmage.
  • Ball skills - Martavis will body smaller defenders effectively and he can catch the ball at its peak in contested situations, though he is not as consistent as players like Allen Robinson or Mike Evans.  He's more capable than consistent at this point, and this is an area on which he can improve.
  • Blocking - He may not blow guys up, but Bryant shows a desire to get out and block for teammates and his big body can be useful out on the perimeter.
  • Health - Bryant has no serious injury history which is always a positive.

Here’s a look at Martavis’ highlight reel.

And here’s a look at his final college game in this year’s Orange Bowl, won by Clemson.

You can see Martavis’ upside on film and he’s definitely a player who can continue to get better, but there are some troubling aspects to Bryant’s game as well. He has a penchant for letting the football reach his frame and body-catching the ball. Often times, he uses his body appropriately, but he also lets the ball play him at times--catching it with his chest when he should be using his hands. At the combine, Bryant told us that he also needs to work on sinking his hips and “getting low in and out of my breaks.” This is common for long-framed receivers and it’s a positive that Bryant is already working on it.  In fact, we saw some improvement in his combine workouts.

We’ll hold off on forecasting Martavis’ 2014 fantasy potential until we know where he is playing, but we like the idea of him going to a team that uses a vertical passing attack. Teams like Detroit, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Carolina and San Diego are potential fits. And, the fit is key with this player. He’s not going to light it up in a typical west coast system or any system that plays a lot of horizontal football. Denver would be a good example of a poor fit.  In the end, Bryant is a very promising talent who will likely have a typical learning curve.  He could be a very nice long term investment in dynasty leagues if the price is right.  We'll refresh Bryant's value after the draft in May.

I’ll be back with another scouting report tomorrow. 


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