Chris Finke shocked a lot of people with his successful football career at Notre Dame. Coming to South Bend as a walk-on and ending your career as a senior captain on a nationally ranked team is no small feat. He overcame his lack of size and athleticism with work ethic, doing the little things right, and putting the team’s needs above his individual needs. Although that sounds a bit cliche, it’s the truth.
However, this lack of speed and athleticism is causing him to go unnamed in virtually every single mock draft. At the combine, Finke ran a 4.57 40-yard dash. This isn’t a detriment in and of itself, as there are many wideouts who will be drafted that run similar times. However, with that time, the player must make up for it with size, preferably 6-foot-2 or above, in addition to leaping ability. Finke, at 5-foot-9, does not have that. Although his route-running and explosive first step are strengths that any wideout could use at the next level, the lack of straightaway speed combined with his height is a major cause for concern. There’s no reason to sugarcoat this: Chris Finke will not be selected in the NFL Draft this weekend.
Having said this, just because Finke will go undrafted does not mean he can’t provide value to an NFL roster. Although he will struggle in his release off the line of scrimmage against defensive backs that are more physically gifted than he is, Finke can make up for it with precise route-running, soft hands, and his ability to throw multiple fake routes at cornerbacks without altering route timing. Additionally, Finke can be surprisingly elusive as a punt returner. This isn’t to say he will return punts at the next level, but it’s an added skill that can only benefit him in his quest to make it to the NFL.
Yes, Finke is at a significant disadvantage due to his size, and his ceiling at the next level may be a special teams mainstay. But that’s a hell of an accomplishment for a guy that received few offers out of high school and had to use a walk-on year to prove he could play at the collegiate level. The fact of the matter is that he has the character and work ethic that NFL executives value to fill out the last few spots of a team. Because of this, I believe Chris Finke will help round out an NFL roster when it is all said and done.