We are just under a month away from the NFL draft, which means everyone is evaluating the talent on their team and discussing where the biggest area of need is. For some teams that is a short conversation, the likes of the 49’ers and the Broncos can pick just the one or two positions and be done. Unfortunately for other teams like the Jaguars and the Jets it’s a much longer conversation. So we are going to look through each position, highlight the players who are currently on the roster and then give it a need score out of 10. Also looking at some players we can look at come late April. In the third edition, we look at the Wide Receiver position.
A lot of names there but only a few you can expect to get any real production out of. Here is hoping that Santonio Holmes comes back strong from his season ending injury. Kerley will give you nice production from the slot and Stephen Hill is more than capable of stretching the field. A lot of people have already given up on Hill, which I think it ridiculous. Before the draft, we all said that he would need to work on his concentration and refining his route running. Now we are saying, I can’t believe he needs to work on his concentration and route running. Patience is the key with Hill, I expect him to make a massive leap this year, he dropped some passes last year – Sanchez also did a poor job of getting him the football. The below image just one of the instances that sticks in my mind (that throw ended in an interception).
The rest of the group, well you just don’t know what you are going to get there. So let’s move to the draft.
Ok let’s go straight to the tops of the draft focusing on the two prospects that stand out. Cordarrelle Patterson from Tennessee and Tavon Austin from West Virginia. Two very different receivers, Patterson has excellent body control, cuts well, has good release off the line and a tough competitor. Tavon Austin is just explosive; his acceleration and top end speed is elite, when he has the ball in his hands he can take it to the house every single time. Where will they be taken? Well some are suggesting that Tavon could go in the top 15 and be the first receiver off the board, Patterson is a 1st round talent but the more I watch of him, the more I think taking him at #9 may be a reach.
Now we are looking at the first and second round talent, the best of the rest. Here we are looking at California’s Keenan Allen, Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins, Marshall’s Aaron Dobson, USC’s Robert Woods and Tennessee’s Justin Hunter. Of this group I really like Keenan Allen who either goes late first or early 2nd, mainly because he has good size and strength, and enough speed to get separation. I also like Marshall’s Aaron Dobson, he’s 6’3 210 lb’s and ran a 4.40 time at his pro day. He is strong and competitive and he catches any ball thrown his way. I see him as a better Cotchery and it’s likely he’ll be snapped up in the 2nd round. If we want some reliable targets going forward, then it would make a lot of sense to select Dobson. Others around this region that could gain some popularity as we head towards draft day are Quinton Patton from Louisiana Tech, Terrance Williams from Baylor and some are suggesting Markus Wheaton from Oregon State.
Moving forward we focus in on where the value can be had. 3rd and 4th round receiving talent. The one that sticks out to me is of course Steadman Bailey from West Virginia. He is as reliable as they come, well balanced, quick feet with excellent stop and go. He had a lot of success because he just knows where to sit in coverage, and how to run the crispest of routes. Some other names around this region include, speedster Marquise Goodwin from Texas, Da’Rick Rogers from Tennessee Tech, Ryan Swope from Texas A&M and Kenny Stills from Oklahoma. I really like Bailey and would welcome him in the 3rd round, however in the 4th I’m looking at Goodwin. He had an excellent senior bowl week, and his speed and open field ability make him very interesting. If you get the ball in his hands, he can really do some damage.
Now you get down to the 5th, 6th and 7th round. You have the big target of Brandon Kaufman from Eastern Michigan (6-5, 216lb), the excellently named Ace Sanders from South Carolina – a receiver who is very dangerous with the ball in his hands. Here we are in an area where you could list 20-30 receivers who could gain some kind of attention. Whether it be for the numbers they put up in college, elite speed, good size etc etc. So I’ll leave the list here. Of course the wildcard is Denard Robinson, the form QB of the Michigan Wolverines. Some will speak in his favour.
My Big Board
- 1) Tavon Austin – Top 20
- 2) Cordarrelle Patterson – 1st Round
- 3) Keenan Allen – 2nd Round
- 4) DeAndre Hopkins – 2nd Round
- 5) Aaron Dobson – 2nd Round
- 6) Robert Woods – 2nd Round
- 7) Terrance Williams – 3rd Round
- 8) Quinton Patton – 3rd Round
- 9) Steadman Bailey – 3rd Round
- 10) Da’Rick Rogers – 3rd Round
- 11) Justin Hunter- 3rd Round
- 12) Marus Wheaton – 3rd Round
- 13) Kenny Stills – 4th Round
- 14) Ryan Swope – 4th Round
- 15) Cobi Hamilton – 4th Round
- 16) Josh Boyce – 5th Round
- 17) Corey Fuller – 5th Round
- 18) Ace Sanders – 6th Round
- 19) Rodney Smith – 6th Round
- 20) Brandon Kaufman – 7th Round