2014 NFL Draft Prospects: Wide Receivers

Potential Options for the Jets

We all know how lackluster and inconsistent the Jets offense has been this season. The front 7 has carried us through most games, despite the best efforts of our offense to drag us down. Injuries have taken their toll and we are left with players some fans never heard about before (Greg Salas). The roster is devoid of talent on the offensive side of the ball and there are no genuine playmakers. With Sunday's defeat to the Dolphins, I lost all hope that our offense would get it together. As a result, I decided to shift my focus from this season to the 2014 season, where we should have enough cap space to make two or three significant signings in free agency. We should also have 12 draft picks (I still think the NFL will screw us in some way with the compensatory picks). Needless to say, one of our biggest needs is a genuine number one wide receiver. The Jets need to address this issue in the 3rd round at latest.

Sammy Watkins Clemson (Junior)

Watkins is an explosive receiver with good size at 6ft 1 and 205 lbs. The wide out has been a consistent performer for the Tigers over the last three years. His numbers this season are among the nation's best with 85 receptions for 1237 yards and 10 tds. There are certain aspects of Watkins' performances that clearly stand out on tape. He possesses breakaway speed and a good pair of hands, attributes that some members of our receiving corps do not possess. His routes allow for him to gain significant separation from defensive backs and his elusiveness ensures that he picks up valuable yards after the catch. Watkins is my number one receiver on the board, if he declares. He narrowly edges out Marqise Lee, and I'd honestly be shocked if he made it to the middle of the first round, which I assume the Jets will be. Check out his game against Georgia this year or his performances against Wake Forest, Auburn and North Carolina State.

NFL Comparison: A bigger, stronger, more durable Percy Harvin
Projected 40 time: 4.38

Marqise Lee
USC (Junior)

Similar to Watkins, Lee possesses explosive ability. The 6ft 195 lb Trojan is coming off a disappointing season in which he sustained minor injuries that kept him out of 3 games. His totals were far below expectations when compared to the 2012 season in which he put up 118 receptions for 1721 yards and 14 touchdowns. This year Lee could only manage 50 receptions for a combined 673 yards and only 2 scores. Lee was a victim of poor quarterback play by Cody Kessler and his draft stock might have suffered enough for him to fall into our hands. Lee's crisp routes are just one of his many traits that will have scouts salivating. In comparison to Watkins, there is a negligible difference and both players are definitely first round picks. This debate is reminiscent of Julio Jones vs AJ Green debates. Both players are currently have a lot of success in the NFL and were difference makers in their rookie years. I think Lee is the second best receiver on board should he decide to forgo his senior year at USC. Here are highlights from Lee's latest game against Stanford.

NFL Comparison: Dez Bryant
Projected 40 time: 4.45

Jordan Matthews
Vanderbilt (Senior)

The senior playmaker has been a stand-out performer for the Commodores throughout the last two seasons. In 2012 he led the team with 94 catches for 1323 yards and in 2013 had 96 receptions for 1209 yards. Despite such prolific numbers, Matthews has only managed 13 touchdowns in the last two years. Matthews has the ideal size for the NFL at 6ft 3 206 lbs. He has all the tools to become a success at the next level with good speed, precise routes and a decent set of hands. Matthews is very underrated and could potentially slip into the second round. Check out a couple of his games.

NFL Comparison: Marques Colston
Projected 40 time: 4.50

Brandin Cooks Oregon St (Junior)

Flying somewhat under the radar is the Beavers' 2013 receiving leader. Listed at 5ft 10 and 186, Cooks has impressive athletic ability despite his less than stellar size. He replaced Markus Wheaton as the big play threat on an Oregon State team that could only manage to go 6-6. His numbers in 2013 currently stand at an impressive 120 catches, 1670 yards and 15 touchdowns. He leads the nation in receptions and yardage and could be picked at the end of the first round or early second. Here's Cooks going up against Hawaii and Utah this year.

NFL Comparison: Santonio Holmes/Antonio Brown
Projected 40 time: 4.40

Mike Evans
Texas A&M (Junior)

At the center of 2014 Draft discussions lies Mike Evans. The 6ft 5 225lb Aggies receiver has been getting rave reviews for his sheer size, large volume of production and his willingness to fight for balls. Evans has had 65 receptions for 1322 yards and 12 scores so far this season. The media hype has, however, overshadowed some of his flaws and inconsistencies. Evans' route running is not as crisp as some of the other receivers in this year's class and he fails to get a lot of separation. However, his colossal figure enables to come away with passes when defensive backs actually play good coverage. Evans is also a beneficiary of Manziel's ability to extend plays, as coverage tends to deteriorate as the play continues hence allowing him to wriggle free from defensive bakcs. Some "analysts" have even compared Evans to Calvin Johnson despite the fact that Evans is significantly slower. Evans is a second round pick at best but I get the feeling a team will pull the trigger late in the first round. The potential to be truly special is there but I still think he needs some work. I for one wouldn't want another failed Stephen Hill experiment. There has been a suggestion that he should convert to a tight end and I'm not completely against it. Check out Evans against Bama and Arkansas.

NFL Receiver Comparison: Ramses Barden
NFL Tight End Comparison: Anthony McCoy
Projected 40 time: 4.70

Allen Robinson
Penn State (Junior)

Robinson is another receiver that has the ideal size for the NFL. He is 6ft 3 and 210 lbs. He has amassed 97 receptions, 1432 yards and 6 touchdowns this season. His catching is above average and he gets enough separation to make plays. He lacks top notch speed but he still creates problems for defensive backs. I think Robinson could potentially become a number one receiver if he works on some of the weaknesses in his game but as of right now he is a solid number 2 receiver. I expect Robinson to go in the middle of round 2 or early round 3 at latest. Here's Robinson against Syracuse this year.

NFL Comparison: Eric Decker
Projected 40 time: 4.55

Brandon Coleman
Rutgers (Senior)

Brandon Coleman possesses a rare mix of speed, athleticism and size. He is 6ft 6 and 220 lbs and he has been clocked at 4.4 by Rutgers coaches in the forty yard dash. Yet somehow, he has been underutilized by Kyle Flood this season. His numbers are not that great (31 catches, 459 yards, 3 tds) but that's what happens when you have Gary Nova (or as I like to call him, the Mark Sanchez of college football) as your starting quarterback. Coleman's potential is sky high. For a big guy, he is surprisingly elusive. I project him to go early in the third round. Check out Coleman against Louisville and company.

NFL Comparison: Calvin Johnson (If the stars align).
Projected 40 time: 4.42

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