One play does not a prospect make. But this play by Hawaii wide receiver Greg Salas, the St. Louis Rams' fourth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, deserves some attention from you. This video comes from Salas' senior season, a 28-yard catch against Fresno State.
Hawaii has a four receiver set here, with two receivers in the slot on the left side of the field. Salas is the slot guy closest to the QB. In this play, he breaks into a nice route, catches the ball and a lays a beauty of a hit on an opposing defender. Check it out.
First off, you've got to love that hit. Salas lays down his shoulder right into the defender and puts him on his back. The defender does his job there, getting Salas out of bounds, but pays a price. Salas didn't have to finish off his run with a hit like that; he chose to.
You see a couple other things to like here too. Still, I'll take the caveat that this is one play in one game against Fresno State, not exactly SEC-like competition.
Watch Salas get into his route. He does it perfectly, giving a stutter step, letting the other slot receiver cross and mix up the coverage and then cuts straight out to his left.
The hands. He catches the ball on the move, with his hands. Catching it with his hands allows him to immediately cut down field where you see him shift into a speedy second gear. No, that's not fast enough to burn corners with speed alone, but you definitely see his separation ability. And of course, the hit, had he laid that hit on that safety in the middle part of the field, he might well have gotten a few more yards out of the play.
Ok, how about one more video? This is Salas in the 2010 Hawaii Bowl against Tulsa. Salas, lined up in the slot again, breaks down field. His QB has an eternity in the pocket to find Salas 50 yards down the field. And watch this catch.
Jump ball with a man on him, Salas picks it right out of the air, like a basketball rebound. He moves a second defender with his free arm and drags the guy he beats on the jumper to add a few yards to the play. You can see why the Rams like this guy.
Something else to think about: What do you see in his routes here? Does he effectively go into his breaks?
Also, you'll note that he's not facing press coverage in these plays, working out of the slot.