Should the Buffalo Bills stay away from Xavier Worthy?

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Texas v Washington
Allstate Sugar Bowl - Texas v Washington / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

The NFL Combine results are a headline in the NFL world. Teams and fans are looking for players who could help strengthen positional needs for their desired team to take a step in the right direction. Some of these players put up impressive numbers not just in college, but in the combine as well. The combination of production and a high athletic score will attract scouts and fans alike, which helps boost a player's draft stock. This occurred with Texas Longhorns alumni Xavier Worthy. 

Xavier Worthy's collegiate path to success.

Worthy came out of high school as a four-star recruit, and received offers from big-time colleges like Alabama, LSU, Georgia, and Michigan. Worthy committed to Michigan but got an offer from Texas and decided to de-commit and enrolled as a Texas Longhorn in 2021. Worthy made an immediate impact, as he was named the "Big 12 Freshman of the Year", recording 981 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns.

Worthy continued to impress, recording over 1,700 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns in his next two years. However, Worthy was also sharing targets with his talented teammate Adonia Mitchell, who's projected to go earlier in the draft than Worthy.

 Xavier Worthy's NFL Combine results.

Before the NFL Combine, Worthy was known for his speed, but most fans and scouts didn't realize how fast he was. However, some Longhorn fans labeled him as the "fastest wide receiver in college football". Los Angeles Rams GM Les Snead also believed in Worthy's potential, labeling him as the "fastest human he's ever evaluated".

Worthy would back all of this up by surpassing expectations by running a 4.25 in his first 40-yard attempt. Worthy caught the attention of every fan in the stadium, where he would receive cheers for the time. Worthy decided to go for the record and do a second run, and ran an unofficial 4.22. Later that day the official time would come out to a 4.21, surpassing John Ross as the record holder for the 40-yard dash.

Worthy already decided early in the NFL Combine that he wouldn't do field workouts, and just ran the 40, which raised his draft stock regardless. However, there is a bit of a trend with these players that ran a 40 that fast at Combine.

Fast players don't have a good track record in the NFL.

Many players have run some of the fastest times ever recorded at the NFL Combine but failed to succeed in the NFL. Most scouts draw that up to the player's speed not translating to the next level, as the 40-yard dash just measures straight-line speed and acceleration. Shifting that speed to another direction is one of the most important attributes in the NFL, and the inability to do that makes the 40-yard dash irrelevant.

The top seven of 11 players who've run a sub 4.3 all had NFL careers that lasted five years or less. The only notable player in that list who's excelled at the NFL level was Chris Johnson, the previous record holder before Ross and Worthy, who would go on to have a career with six straight seasons with over 1,000 scrimmage yards, one of them being his famous 2,000 rushing yard season in 2009.

However, that type of success is rare, and there are only a few of those players who can replicate their speed to the next level. With Worthy now being in that category, there are questions about whether he can replicate his skill set to the next level.

Scouts evaluated Worthy as a player who is "quick and fast", has a lot of twitch and shiftiness, and can locate the football at an above-average level. However, one of his biggest red flags is his size, weighing in at 165 pounds and 5'11", which is a frame that makes him vulnerable to press coverage and being able to fight for jump balls, not to mention his chance of injury. 

Worthy could still a good prospect for the Buffalo Bills.

However, Worthy's potential is through the roof, as he's got an extremely high ceiling as an NFL pro. His ceiling can be as high as Tyreek Hill, but betting on this type of player comes with some risk. Despite Worthy's production in college, he's still a bit raw.

Worthy will need to gain some weight at the next level, because being a speed option at 165 pounds isn't ideal, especially at 5'11". Worthy still does need to work on his catching in mid-field and his discipline, as he does tend to take some plays off. 

With the right situation, Worthy can become a dangerous player in the NFL. With the Bills being there at pick 28, Worthy can likely fall to them, especially with the depth of this receiver class. The Bills need speed and playmakers that are dangerous after the catch. The Bills like taking their shots on high-risk players, so this seems like a pick that could happen in the draft.


dark. Next. Mock draft - double dip at WR. Bills add huge double dip with first two rounds