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An Heir to the Throne: Dwayne Frampton the Next Steve Smith?

As we get closer and closer to the draft, there's a lot of speculation on the Panther's biggest needs in the first two rounds of the draft. In an attempt to focus more on a later round or UDFA value I present you with Arkansas State's star receiver Dwayne Frampton. At 5'9" and 180 lbs he might be small but here are a few other adjectives I would attribute to describing him with: Quick, runs great routes, has reliable hands, and is an extremely hard worker. In this interview he explains how he would stay late after practice everyday and that he hasn't had everything handed to him on a platter growing up in Southwestern LA. Due to his grades in high school Frampton opted to go to JUCO at LA Harbor College for his Freshman and Sophomore season, eventually transferring and making honor roll at Arkansas State. So how does he stack up to our very own Steve Smith? Comparison after the jump.

Dwayne Frampton:

Projected 4.39 40, 3.9 shuttle, 6.93 3-cone, 36 inch vertical, 10' broad jump, 19 bench reps

Steve Smith:

4.38 40, 4.25 shuttle, 7.44 3-cone, 38.5 vertical, 10'1" broad jump

He shares a similar burst to Steve Smith that can create separation and he looks pretty sharp on his route running in order to make up for his size. Though he doesn't yet have the acrobatic ability quite as comparable to Steve Smith, Frampton is an excellent, explosive athlete with some of the most reliable hands in the country. How reliable are his hands you ask?

Receptions | Yds | TDs (per ESPN.com)

Arkansas State:

2010: 69 | 738 | 6

2011: 94 | 1156 | 6

Smith's stats at Utah were (per: totalfootballstats):

1999: 43 | 860 | 8

2000: 35 | 743 | 4

He has a homerun threat plus exceptional hands almost totaling 100 reception this past year to go with four 100+ yard games (3 in a row) and 99 yards in the season opener. With more time and the right coaching I could see him continuing to develop into a starter just as Smitty did after being drafted solely for a punt returner job. I could also see Cam and Smith eating up this kid's work ethic that they all share and you can really see that Frampton plays with similar fire in his games. He displays excellent body control and speed in his cuts that can buy him enough separation to make nearly every ball thrown his way. It's hard to argue that the kid isn't a hard worker, but I really look forward to his pro day times to measure his athleticism.

Here's some of his highlights:

(via: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_ufy8jrvH8&feature=related)

(via: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg8zcjdOsTE&feature=related)

So what's not to like about this guy? Well, unfortunately in his last game in the GoDaddy.com Bowl he suffered a grade 1 MCL tear and has been recovering since then causing him to miss the Senior Bowl as well as the combine. He's hoping to be back to 100% by his pro day he has recently reported a 4.43 forty time and is still looking to drop it down to the 4.39 range when completely healthy. Now I know it's been awhile for most of you, but keep in mind Steve Smith ran a 4.38 at the combine years ago. At the very worst we get a player who is willing to come in and work to help the team in any way possible or who will make a solid slot receiver. I think if he could come in and shows the same effort that he has is college, then it's possible that we have found one of the biggest sleepers in the draft.

What do you guys think about him?

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