40: 4.55 (estimated)
Has good size and excellent hands. Always seems to catch the ball with his hands. Goes up for the ball and snags it out of the air. Adjusts well to the throw, has good concentration, and can make the grab in traffic. Can make the quick move after the catch to make the first defender miss. Deceptive speed and quickness as a runner after the catch. Has good vision and balance. Runs hard, fighting for extra yards, and will lower the shoulder to finish a run against a defensive back. Gets a nice release off the line and is a smooth runner into his routes. Works occasionally as a punt returner.
Lacks speed and burst. Doesn't do a great job separating because he doesn't have great burst into his cuts and out of his breaks. Needs to polish up his route-running because of it. Has a tendency to push off a bit over the middle to create that separate. Is limited after the catch because of his inability to create separation. Will drop some passes from time to time because he doesn't always look the ball in. Will miss assignments as a blocker and not as physical as you'd like to see in a player his size. Doesn't make great decisions as a punt returner, letting too many balls hit the ground, and at other times fields punts he shouldn't. Lack of speed limits his potential as a punt returner.
Salas was a super productive player in Hawaii's run and shoot attack. He isn't super fast, but has sure hands, good size, and plays quicker and faster than he probably will time. This past year he was 2nd in the nation in receptions (119) and led the country in receiving yards (1889), averaging 15.9 yards per reception and had 14 touchdowns. As a junior, he had 106-1590-15.0-8. His sophomore year he put up 57-831-14.6-3. During his career, he also returned 10 punts for 55 yards (5.5 avg).
Salas should find sucess in the NFL as a No. 3 or 4 option. He plays almost exclusively in the slot in Hawaii's 4 and 5-wide attack and does a good job working the middle of the field, using his size and strong hands to make grabs in traffic. He'll have a harder time at the next level since he'll be going up against bigger and faster corners. But he should be a nice third option in an offense. I envision sort of in the same way as a player like Jordy Nelson, who also isn't blessed with great speed or burst to separate, but uses his size well and often is helped by the fact that he's not facing elite competition as the Packers third/fourth wideout. In a wide open offense like the Packers, Salas could fill a similar niche. He'll have to polish up his route running, but he's a guy that should be successful at moving the chains and being able to consistently get position against smaller defenders. In the end, he's probably a guy that can give you 30-50 catches a year. If he polishes up his route-running to a level where he can start to get more separation, then he might make a decent No. 2 down the road. But that would likely require him playing opposite a truly dynamic No. 1 like Andre Johnson that draws a ton of coverage away from him. Either way, he'll be a sure-handed, hard-nosed possession receiver at the next level that can add depth.
Salas could be an upgrade in the slot over Douglas because of his size would allow him to make more grabs in traffic, a skill he'll need because he doesn't get much separation. But ultimately he's probably a better option as a fourth option like Brian Finneran. And he'll likely have to stick early with his play on special teams because his offensive upside isn't that high. He could be a nice replacement for Finneran in that fourth role and eventually develop into a decent No. 3. In the Falcons offense as it is currently structured, he's probably a guy that can give the offense 20-30 catches and be a factor on third downs like Finneran is, but he won't be a go-to threat.
Salas is a nice middle round pick because he adds a good backup option for many offenses. If he's going to a wide open offense similar to what he played at in Hawaii, then he would make a solid fourth round pick. Otherwise, most other teams are probably better off waiting until the fifth round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
After Catch: 2.5
Body Control: 3.5
Scouting reports of the wide receivers in the 2011 Draft.
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