In a previous article, I stated my belief that Cordarrelle Patterson is overrated as the so-called "best" wide receiver in the 2013 NFL Draft. To follow that up, I feel obligated to explain who I do think is the best receiver in the draft. I'm not interested in group-think from "experts" telling me who is the best receiver available, so I set out to find that player myself.
His name is Stedman Bailey, and he might be the most underrated player in the draft.
Bailey has been often overshadowed by his fellow receiver, Tavon Austin, who most compare to Percy Harvin and expect to go in the mid-first round of the draft. Unlike Austin, who primarily works from the slot, Bailey is an outside receiver. He is extremely durable, and as consistent as you get. The only concern I could find as to his character was that he was cited, but not arrested, for shoplifting medicine at Kroger Supermarket.
Bailey majored in Criminology while at West Virginia University. Furthermore, he was First Team All-Big East in 2012, and holds the WVU Single-Season Receiving Yards and Touchdown Receptions Records, with 1,622 and 25 respectively.
Height - 5'10"
Weight - 193lbs.
Arm Length - 32.75"
Bench Press - 11 reps.
40-Yard Dash - 4.52 seconds
Vertical Jump - 34.5"
Broad Jump - 117.0"
3 Cone Drill - 6.81 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle - 4.09 seconds
I decided to compare Bailey to the collegiate production of some top receivers that are currently in the National Football League, as well as his teammate Austin. Austin has a first round grade, so the results are certainly interesting.
Yards per Target
Market Share of Touchdowns
Market Share of Yards
Red Zone Touchdown Rate
- He is incredibly strong and physical, and extremely tough to press off the line of scrimmage. He is very adept at beating jams and getting a clean release.
- He is extremely consistent, both in terms of production and catching the ball. His production jumped every year he was in school, and rarely drops the ball.
- He is excellent at tracking the ball over his shoulder and making difficult catches in traffic.
- He is both a redzone threat and a downfield receiver. Bailey is an excellent route runner, but is smart enough to be adept at adjusting to what the opposing cornerback is doing.
- He has fantastic vision and field awareness.
- He plays much bigger and faster than he is listed.
- Bailey is shorter than an ideal height for an outside receiver.
- He isn't as explosive in the mold of his teammate Austin.
- Honestly, that's all I got.
I like to compare Bailey to Greg Jennings. Although Bailey may be still available in the third round, I would be more than happy to take him in the second. In particular, Bailey would be a fantastic compliment to Jeremy Kerley. He is very nearly a complete receiver. He can stretch the field deep, run excellent routes underneath (perfect for a West Coast Offense), and is a touchdown machine. He is as consistent as it gets, and has a very high floor. I don't know that I've ever been as confident about a player's success as I am about Bailey. If I could only take one receiver in this draft, it would be Stedman Bailey.