Alshon Jeffery: 40 time will be crucial

INDIANAPOLIS — While we're on the topic of "big receivers" — and when aren't we? — I wonder if we shouldn't also introduce South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery to our conversation.

Jeffery measured 6-foot-3 1/8 earlier this week and surprised many observers by weighing 216 pounds, a significant drop of about 15 pounds from last fall. Receivers will work out on Sunday, and while it's not clear if he will run the 40-yard dash Sunday with the rest of the receivers, a strong time -- whenever he runs -- could lift him into the conversation for the Chicago Bears at No. 19 or the Minnesota Vikings if they trade back into the first round. At worse, Jeffery could be a candidate for the third pick of the second round, which the Vikings own.

Jeffery told reporters he thinks he'll eventually run a 4.5 and that, regardless, he said he has the "best hands" of the draft. It's worth noting that another big receiver from South Carolina, Sidney Rice, was dogged by speed questions in 2007. He was ultimately a second-round pick of the Vikings, and his career has been plagued by injury questions but never concerns about his speed. I'm also reminded of former North Carolina receiver Hakeem Nicks, who seemed dogged about weight questions during the run-up to the 2009 draft.

Jeffery is positioning himself to be a draft riser over the next few months. He's got the weight down. Now it's time to find out about his speed.