While starring mostly as an option quarterback at Northwestern, Colter's best chance at continuing his playing career in the NFL will come at receiver. Fortunately, he's been moonlighting at the position his entire career and impressed during three practices exclusively at receiver at the 2014 Senior Bowl. Colter struggled through an injury-plagued senior season for the Wildcats, catching just three passes for a total of 16 yards and one touchdown. He saw a lot of time in the slot as a sophomore, however, catching 43 passes for 466 and three scores in 2011 and leaves Northwestern with an eye-popping 5,023 all-purpose yards and 50 touchdowns while splitting between quarterback, running back and receiver. While Colter's solid frame, grit and athleticism are enough to intrigue scouts, he'll first have to prove his health. Colter's Senior Bowl week was cut short after Wednesday's practice when he withdrew with a pre-existing ankle injury that required surgery to repair torn cartilage. Colter is expected to hold a Pro Day workout in late April.
STRENGTHS: While small for the quarterback position, possesses broad shoulders and a well-built frame suited to playing receiver. Boasts the combination of athleticism and toughness required to play inside. Good initial quickness and showed surprising savvy as a route-runner at the Senior Bowl (and on tape). A natural with the ball in his hands. Good vision, showing some lateral agility to elude as well as burst to separate. Catches the ball cleanly, extending his hands to snatch away from his frame. Should be able to provide an added degree of understanding to an NFL offense due to his experience at quarterback. Tough player who played through an ankle injury for much of the 2013 season that ultimately required surgery. Offers legitimate upside at slot receiver if allowed time to develop in this role. WEAKNESSES: Unquestionably a projection. Virtually as raw as it comes in terms of experience at the position. Has never started a game at receiver and has been able to get by on strictly athleticism to this point. Does not possess breakaway speed. Served as the focal point of his team's offense throughout most his career and may not possess the physicality or want-to to handle blocking duties. Won't be able to work on his route-running in the months leading up to the draft due to his post-Senior Bowl ankle surgery. COMPARES TO: Brad Smith, Philadelphia Eagles - After starring at quarterback at Missouri, Smith has proven one of the few players athletic, intelligent and tough enough to handle the transition to receiver in the NFL. Colter isn't as big as the 6-2, 213-pound Smith and therefore his position switch could be even tougher. Each possesses the grit and athleticism teams are looking to develop, regardless of their ultimate position or role on the team. --Rob Rang
05/13/2014 - Vikings Sign 15 College Free Agents: Kain Colter, Wide Receiver, Northwestern...Two-year team co-captain, 2-time All-Big Ten honorable mention...Ranks amongst NU's all-team leaders in pass efficiency rating (2nd, 139.0), career rushing yards (8th, 2,180), career rushing touchdowns (5th, 28), career rushing yards by a QB (1st, 2,180)...Will transition to a full-time WR with the Vikings after serving as an option quarterback with the Wildcats...Established a Wildcat single-season quarterback rushing record as a junior with 891 yards...Started 30 games, playing in multiple positions throughout career...Scored 50 TDs at Northwestern, including 18 passing, 4 receiving and 28 rushing...Co-founded the College Athletes Players Association and helped Northwestern football players seek compensation as employees under the National Labor Relations Act. - Minnesota Vikings