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2014 Pro Days: Sleeper WR Austin Franklin impresses at NMSU

By Rob Rang | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

More Draft: Pro Day schedule | Mock drafts | Rankings | Big Board | Latest news

The 2014 draft class looks like one of the strongest in recent history. Playing a significant role in the year's overall strength are the wide receivers, arguably the deepest and most talented positional group of the class.

Some in the NFL have said there are potential starters to be found at wide receiver in the third and fourth rounds of this year's class. One of these players could be New Mexico State junior Austin Franklin, whose talents drew reps from 14 teams out to Las Cruces Wednesday to watch his Pro Day.

Franklin performed well at the Combine just a few weeks ago so the the number of teams traveling to see him perform is an indication of the league's excitement for him.

The 5-foot-11 (7/8), 189 pound Franklin attempted to improve upon his 40-yard time at the Combine (4.56) but slipped due on the sandy grass field at Aggie Memorial Stadium, according to a source on the scene. Franklin improved upon his numbers in the vertical jump (39"), broad jump (10'4") and bench press (nine) and performed very well during the positional drills, catching the ball cleanly and running crisp routes, under the close scrutiny of scouts and at least one receivers coach (Indianapolis Colts).

Those writing off Franklin due to his level of competition may want to look a bit closer at his tape. As I note in his player profile, I was impressed by his instant acceleration upon catching the ball. He's the kind of player who plays faster than he tests.

Among the other NFL teams on hand for the workout were the Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Washington Redskins.

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