Krause performs in front of a crowd of tens against UMass. - Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Jonathan Krause emerged as an invaluable weapon for a nine-win Vanderbilt team in 2013. He averaged 17 yards per catch and runs a 4.34 40. So why is no one talking about him leading up to the NFL Draft?
Krause is a versatile player who can be an NFL team's offensive chameleon. He has shown the ability to get open and haul in passes over the middle, along the sideline, and deep downfield. He's also an accomplished kick returner who was able to swing major field position advantages into Vandy's favor with smart play and strong returns. He showed off an innate ability to draw fair catch interference penalties as a junior.
The wideout wasn't invited to the NFL DraftScouting Combine, but he impressed at Vanderbilt's Pro Day. Krause ran his 40-yard dashes in the 4.3 second range, which showed off his next-level speed. That's the kind of speed that made him an asset out of the backfield as well - he had 20 carries for Vandy over his career and averaged nearly 10 yards per touch when his number was called. That kind of performance is something that could vault him up from afterthought to late-round pick this spring.
Krause doesn't have ideal size for a wideout, but at 6'1" and 215 pounds he measures out favorably to accomplished players like Roddy White and Jacoby Jones. That compact size helped to make him a solid run blocker near the sideline. Vandy's screen-heavy offense put the senior's blocking to the test last year, and he was proficient as both a runner and as an edge-setter for the team's other receivers.
Weaknesses: Krause has exactly one year as an impact receiver in the SEC under his belt, and he was slated to be Vanderbilt's third receiver before Chris Boyd was removed from the roster last summer. He blew up in 2013, but you can attribute some of that success to defenses that keyed on stopping Jordan Matthews on the opposite sideline. He has a high football IQ, but teams will likely expect him to add a bit more polish to his game before signing him to a 53-man roster.
Krause doesn't have ideal size for a wideout and his ceiling is limited despite his recent emergence as a high level SEC receiver. While he could develop into a capable second or third option, it's unlikely that he'll ever ascend to the top spot for an NFL team. He was very good in 2013, but at no point in his career has he had to face a team's top cornerback for the full duration of a game. He's been at his best when he's been under the radar for the Commodores.
Can Krause get open against NFL defensive backs? That will be the question that each team will have to deal with when they go over the Vandy stalwart's file. He may find himself passed over in favor of players who are deemed to have more potential in what is one of the deepest drafts of all time for wide receivers.
Projection: Seventh round or signed as an undrafted free agent. Krause will find a place to play this summer. His combination of speed, hands, and versatility is going to make him a bargain pickup for any team that's done their research this spring. He'll have an uphill battle when it comes to making an active roster, but his track record as an ace special teams player should help him find a spot in the league.
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