Conner Vernon ended his record-breaking college career on a high note, collecting a team-high 4 receptions for 36 yards and assisting in the South team’s 21-16 victory over the North team.
Vernon showed off every skill that scouts love about him, catching the ball with his hands (rather than using the body) and using quick, shifty moves to create space in the passing game.
There hasn’t been much analysis of Vernon’s performance around the blogosphere or by analysts, at least not yet, so I’ll offer my opinion. At the very worst, Vernon did nothing to harm his draft stock. I wouldn’t go as far as to say his stock rose as a result of his performance, but he certainly solidified himself as a mid-round selection that could be an immediate contributor at the slot position.
His speed at the next level is still in question, but a strong performance in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine could put those worries to rest. Besides, the receiver he is most often compared to, Wes Welker, isn’t known for his speed, but his reliable hands and ability to get open. As I explained earlier in this post, that is exactly what Vernon has made a habit of doing all throughout his career at Duke. If he can get his hands on the ball, he won’t drop it, and that is a tool that NFL teams love.