The Perimeter is a column on The Sideline that serves to shine light on the uncovered, the undiscovered, and the unpublished side of the sports world – things you won’t find on front pages. See the rest of the column here.
The NFL season has come to a close. A Super Bowl champion has been crowned. The NFL Combine has concluded, and NFL teams are trying to determine who the future members of their franchise will be.
There are several big names coming up in this draft, as well as some big free agent moves influencing this year’s draft. However, there is a hidden draft sleeper that should be rising up the ranks, and he’s located 4,882 miles away. That gem is German wide receiver Moritz Boehringer.
Take a minute to try and say it out loud. Ok, continue.
This behemoth of a wide receiver is 22 years old and stands at 6-4, also weighing in at around 227 pounds. Boehringer only took up the sport four years ago, but has shown that he has the skills to make up for that lack of experience. He has been playing for the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns of the German Football League, which surprisingly does exist. This past season, he caught 59 passes for 1,232 and 13 touchdowns. Impressive numbers for a guy that started playing the game at age 18.
While relatively unknown to begin with, Boehringer burst into the spotlight with his outstanding performance in the Florida Atlantic University Pro Day in which 7 teams– Chicago, Los Angeles, Carolina, Kansas City, Minnesota, Denver, and Green Bay- witnessed his performance. He impressed everyone in attendance with his 4.43 40-time, a 39-inch vertical, and 10-ft 11-inch broad jump.
He has shown flashes of those numbers in his play on the football field, which you can see in this highlight tape.
However, he is not without his shortcomings. His limited experience means he can run basic routes, but has trouble with the more complicated schemes. Also, scouts say that he would have trouble going up against more experienced cornerbacks in the league. However, all of these would be negated by practice and experience against elite players.
Boehringer is a big gamble by any team. However, I believe teams should be lining up to take him in the middle rounds, either the 4th or 5th rounds (because he might not be there any later than that).Guys with his size, athletic ability, and natural feel for the game do not come around very often. Yes, he is raw when it comes to the harder skills to learn, such as complex route running, but that will all disappear when he begins to get experience with NFL players.
A team that might (and probably should) take a chance on him would be the Packers with their 4th-round compensatory pick. He would have a great quarterback in Rodgers, and good veterans to learn under in Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
I have but one message to NFL teams looking to add an offensive weapon to their arsenal in the draft: take a chance on this kid. He already has the physical attributes and basic feel, all he needs is to be put into a good atmosphere to develop.