Cody Latimer of the Indiana Hoosiers had a breakout year as a sophomore. The talented speed threat came out in a big way and was named second team All-Big Ten by the media. In his junior year, he only got better in terms of impact for the Hoosiers getting better in just about every statistical category save yards per catch. He was again named the second team All-Big Ten by the media, but was awarded the team’s MVP. Latimer opted to declare for the NFL after his junior season.
For the NFL, Latimer’s physical ability immediately jumps out as he has a nice combination of size and speed. His hands are impressive and he is a confident hands catcher who should only continue to improve. In terms of his route running, he is still developing but does have experience running a pro route tree. Latimer’s blocking is good and should only get better as he consistently brings effort. In a normal year, he would probably end up as a threat to go on day two of the draft and still could, but Latimer is a good value on day three with the ability to make an early impact as well as long term potential.
Vitals & Build
Latimer measured in at the scouting combine 6’2” 215lbs with an arm length of 32 5/8”. He possesses a good build with a solid amount of strength and functional power. Latimer has a good amount of burst, body control, feet, and speed. There is still some physical potential with Latimore, but he largely already possesses an NFL caliber body.
Route Running & Technique
Latimer’s stance is solid for the most part, but how he comes out of it can be inconsistent. There are times when he will bounce coming off of the ball and others where he will get a great jump and instantly put the opponent at a disadvantage.
Latimer’s route tree is primarily working vertical routes and his threat over the top to open up space underneath in the form of comebacks, outs, and hitches. His speed threat forces opponents to respect him and gives him a lot of open routes to keep the play in front of them.
Latimer does a great job at planting his foot in the ground and making a ninety degree cut to the outside, enabling him to create separation.
His feet are good, but his economy of movement is inefficient when it comes to making drastic changes in direction like with comebacks. He needs to sink his hips more efficiently and be able to more effectively transfer his weight and make the cut. The hitches they use tend to have Latimoer turning his body and sliding into a quick pass rather than a quick cut opening back to the passer.
Latimer appears to tip his pitches when it comes to telling the opponent when he is going to block, because he has a slower release and deliberately lines up the block. However, Latimer appears to be aware he does this and there are routes where he will come off of the line and slow play the opponent, lulling them into thinking he is blocking only to release into a route. The move forces the opponent to play him honestly.
Latimer is fantastic when he has space playing against off man coverage and needs to get better with fighting through physical contact in his routes. Nevertheless, he is always a threat to go deep and beat teams over the top. Against zone, he appears to need to get better at recognizing holes in the zone and settling in an open spot rather than running himself into coverage.
Latimer displays some impressive hands and hand strength. He is extremely confident in catching the ball with his hands and is more likely to snatch the ball out of the air cleanly rather than allow the ball to get into his body. His catch radius is solid, but seems to be getting better with experience and he is constantly trying to expand it with passes going up in the air or away from him.
He does a good job of using his body to keep opponents away from the ball when the opportunity arises. Latimer is able to catch the ball while absorbing contact and is able focus on the football and track it well.
There is a significant amount of potential here and it appears as though Latimer should only get better with time and being fed passes.
Run After Catch
Latimer is dangerous after the catch primarily because of his speed. He is able to catch the ball cleanly and maintain his run down the field and when he has a lane, he is definitely a threat to score. Latimer tends to be a straight line runner who wants to maximize the catch as much as he can, but has shown he is able to make an agile move to get behind a block or make an opponent miss so he can start picking up yardage.
Latimer is a high effort, effective blocker who is just working on nailing down some of the finer points. He comes out of his stance, finds his target and looks to lock on and drive the opponent down the field. One could quibble with how he sort of eases out of his stance and would suggest he comes out flying up the field and make the opponent react to him to set up the block for himself, but ultimately, he gets the job done.
Latimer locks on and drives and when he can, he will drive them off the field or out of the way for the ball carrier. Occasionally, he will get caught at a less than ideal angle and just roll with it. He can work to get a slightly wider base and try to push a particular shoulder to get a better lane, but the fact is, he is working through the whistle and maintains the block, so it is difficult to really complain.
Latimer is also able to go low, but really uses this as a changeup and surprise for unsuspecting opponents. His main stay is taking them on straight up and trying to take them out of the play. Because of his effort and strength, he is a threat to lay a knock down block on a linebacker or safety.
Latimer has shown his best fit based on his experience is in a vertical scheme. That is not to say he cannot play in a more horizontal scheme, but a more vertically based route tree is what he knows. Beyond that, he could be attractive to both teams that run a more pro-style look or a spread look. He works well in space but he can block, so both styles may like what he offers them.
Latimer appears to need to start out as depth and perhaps be a third or fourth receiver that comes in and perhaps works on the sideline as a big play threat. The potential is certainly there for him to eventually become a starter, but it looks like it will take some time and development to expand his skillset.
Latimer has some of the same traits that Mike Williams did coming out of Syracuse when he was a fourth round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They have similar builds and the ability to catch the ball and are likely to go on day three, coming out of schools that did not allow them to get a ton of exposure. Hopefully Latimer can have the success Williams has had without the headaches that have come with him.
Cody Latimer is an impressive physical prospect, but his hands and ability to catch the football make him an intriguing prospect. He shows some ability as a route runner but is still developing in that area, but his ability to snatch the ball out of the air cleanly and through contact could help him not just stick on an NFL roster, but allow him to develop and become a contributor. Additionally, he is a good blocker. Latimer might normally be a sleeper to go on day two of the draft and that could still happen this year, but the depth of this class could make him an excellent value on day three of the draft.
Some of the film used for this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at draftbreakdown.com