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Kyle Prater NFL Draft scouting report

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Here's where the experts see Kyle Prater in this year's NFL Draft.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL Draft taking place in Chicago from April 30 through May 2, we'll be catching you up on where some Northwestern prospects may land. Ibraheim Campbell was first up. Next is former USC and Northwestern wide receiver Kyle Prater, who is a big target with a NFL frame but probably isn't quick enough to have his name called.

After an illustrious four years at Proviso West High School in Hillside, Ill., not too far from Evanston, Kyle Prater was ranked the No. 3 player in the Class of 2010 (by Rivals.com). He received interest from top football schools such as Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and USC, where he ended up committing.

However, after Pete Carroll left USC for the Seattle Seahawks, Prater redshirted his true freshman season with the Trojans due to injury and was disappointing in the next season, as he struggled through injuries to record a single catch for six yards in 10 games. Then, he made the decision to transfer for his redshirt sophomore season and came back to the Chicago 'burbs in deciding to join Northwestern and Pat Fitzgerald.

In his time in Evanston, Prater didn't do much in his first two seasons due to a mix of injury issues and quarterback inconsistency, but he really broke through in his senior campaign even as his team struggled. Obviously, the carousel at quarterback didn't help him, yet he still led the Wildcats in receiving yards. Over one-fifth of NU's yards through the air were through Prater.

Measureables

Height Weight 40 Bench Press Broad Jump
6'5'' 231 4.75 20 reps 10'01"

Career Stats


Games Receptions Yards Average Touchdowns Long
2011 (USC)
10 1
6
6
0
6
2012 13 10
54
5.4
0
13
2013 10 9
59
6.6
0
18
2014 11
51
535
10.5
2
29
Total 44 71
654
9.2
2
--

Rankings and Projections


Overall Rank Position Rank Projected Round
ESPN -- 169 --
CBS Sports 808 112
--

Highlights

Strengths

Size, size, size. If there's one attribute that is valued by NFL scouts simply off the eye test, it's size, and Prater has a lot of that. There aren't many 6'5" receivers out there, which makes him a difficult matchup for smaller defensive backs. There's a reason he was so highly sought after high school and why he showed the flashes he did with Northwestern.

Weaknesses

Getting the ball in Prater's area isn't the problem; the problem is whether he'll catch it or not and whether the defender gets there before him. He had his fair share of drops at NU but his most glaring deficiency is lack of foot speed and agility, which feeds into poor route-running. A 40-time of 4.75 is not promising at all, even for a possession receiver such as Prater. In the NFL, even the big receivers can move quickly, and Prater is just not at that point yet.

Overview

One of the most-used clichés in sports is that you can't teach size, which, even with its overuse, is inherently true. That's why Prater will likely find himself on an NFL's team roster this summer for a training camp and maybe even into the fall. The fact is that he's just not athletic enough, at least right now, to compete in an incredibly physical league in which even the bigger receivers, and defensive backs, can run sub-4.40 40-yard dashes. In high school and college, extreme size can trump deficient speed but it can't in the NFL, which is why it would be a surprise if Prater is selected in this year's draft.
His best chance to make a name for himself in the league though would be as a tight end/slot receiver hybrid. In fact, multiple NFL teams have told Prater that that is where they see him. If he could put on some weight to help handle the blocking duties of the position, he'd be a tough matchup for NFL linebackers over the middle of the field.
Update: For more on Prater, our short documentary, "If You Quit Now... | The Kyle Prater Story" is a must watch.