The greatest receiver in Ball State history is now a Cleveland Brown after reaching a deal with the team as an undrafted free agent. Snead left school a year early to enter the 2014 NFL Draft, but wasn't selected in the seven round event.
Willie Snead IV shocked many when he announced he was leaving Ball State a year early, but with partner in crime quarterback Keith Wenning's eligibility up, it may have been Snead's best time to leave.
In three years in Muncie, Indiana, Snead rewrote the Ball State record books. He's not the most physically impressive receiver at just 5-foot-11, 195 pounds with a 4.62 40, but he's sound in technique and routinely outsmarted opposing secondaries. He's one of two Cardinals in the program's history to have back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons, exploding onto the scene with 89 catches for 1,148 yards and nine touchdowns as the team's No. 1 receiver and a First Team All-MAC performer.
He followed it up with a First Team All-MAC season in which he caught 106 passes for an NCAA third-best 1,516 yards, and 15 touchdowns in one of the nation's best passing attacks. Snead was the quintessential No. 1 receiver, always working his routes to get open, rarely dropping passes, and consistently getting above average gains.
But at the Combine, Snead did little to separate himself from the pack. His numbers were pedestrian, at best, and he didn't wow anyone in drills. But while Snead isn't lightning quick, or incredibly athletic, he is solid. He has fantastic hands, knows his routes, and rarely gives the defender anything to work with. He also shaved his 40-time down to 4.51 at his Pro Day, showing while he may not be blazing fast, he's more than capable of stretching the field when needed.
More On Snead
More On Snead
ARM LENGTH: 33''
40-YARD DASH: 4.62 sec
3-CONE DRILL: 7.19 sec
20-YARD SHUTTLE: 4.39 sec
VERTICAL JUMP: 33.5''
BROAD JUMP: 113''
BENCH PRESS: 11 reps
Part of what makes Snead so good is his body control. He's almost acrobatic in the way he maintains balance and contorts his body in the air. He's agile, and can break cleanly on cuts, and as mentioned, this guy can run routes. You won't catch any junky route running from Snead. He exits every route to near perfection, is always where he's supposed to be, and t pays off with perfectly executed passes. He is able to focus on the route, and making a play, and not get trapped in what the defender is doing, giving him an advantage over more athletic defenders.
But again, the biggest knock on Snead is that he is not a physical specimen. He's fast, but doesn't have top-level speed. He's quick, but not deceptive. He's below average in height. But there's no knocks on his technique, or drive. The fact is Snead should be a very good possession focused slot. His sure hands and sturdy frame for his size mean he can work the inside well, and could even develop into a solid No. 2 in time.
He may not look the part of an NFL receiver, but he sure acts the part.