Nobody had really heard of Cody Core heading into his junior season at Ole Miss. Lightly recruited out of Auburn, Ala., he spent his first two years in Oxford bouncing between receiver and safety, his only legitimate playing time coming on special teams. But he came out of nowhere to win the starting slot receiver job heading into the 2014 season, then tripled his career receiving totals in the first four games alone.
Two years, 1,222 yards and 10 touchdowns later, the casual football fan still doesn't know Core's name. With likely first-rounder Laquon Treadwell eating up targets and headlines, the Rebels' other draft-eligible receiver has flown under the radar. But impressive showings in pre-draft workouts quietly put Core's name where it matters: on draft boards.
"Throughout college, everyone's looking at Laquon," Core told Red Cup as he prepared for the 2016 NFL Draft. "And then once I started making plays it was eye opening for everybody. And then I got into the Combine and the Senior Bowl. So really after college I was able to show teams what I got and show the scouts that there's another receiver at Ole Miss."
|Height||Weight||40-yard dash||Bench press||Vertical jump||Broad jump||20-yard shuttle||3-cone|
|6'3||205||4.47 sec||14 reps||37.5 in*||119 in||4.4 sec*||6.75 sec*|
*Pro day numbers
He's a big target.
Core's 31.5-inch vertical at the Combine was underwhelming, but a six-inch improvement at his pro day left gave him a jump that would have tied for sixth among receivers in Indy. ("The one at the Combine was off," Core said. "I don't know what happened.") Mix that with a 6'3 frame, 32-inch arms and 10 and 3/8-inch hands and you've got a guy with a massive catch radius.
Core isn't as physically dominating as Treadwell, but he can certainly go up and get it.
And he can work downfield as well.
Core's 4.47 40 at the Combine raised the collective eyebrows of pro scouts, but it honestly shouldn't have been that big of a surprise given his big play ability at Ole Miss. Core's 17.4 yards per catch ranked sixth among SEC receivers last season. Nearly a quarter of his career receptions were longer than 20 yards and he scored touchdowns of 76, 73, 57, 31, 31, 30 and 20 yards.
He's is an unfinished project.
Core has only been playing receiver full time for a couple of seasons, so it's to be expected that his skills need some polishing. NFL.com notes that he "runs rounded, sloppy routes and has issues adjusting them in space"; ESPN criticizes his "tightness" and difficulty "transitioning out of lateral in and out cuts."
The fact that he learned the position in Ole Miss' no-huddle spread offense increases the learning curve—Core got a taste of the pro style offense at the East-West Shrine game and acknowledged that "the transition is going to be hard."
But his time on defense and special teams gives him added value, as he'll be able to contribute on kickoff and punt coverage while he learns the offense and hones his route running.
"Whatever the team needs me to do, I'll be able to do it."