2012 NFL Draft - The Wide Receivers
Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon
Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon
Posted Apr 18, 2012

From a college football perspective, the analysis of the top wide receiver prospects.

2012 NFL Draft Position Rankings

Wide Receivers

By Pete Fiutak

- 2012 NFL Wide Receivers Rankings - No. 11-30

- Wide Receivers
- Tight Ends
- Centers
- Offensive Tackles
- Offensive Guards
- Defensive Tackles
- Inside LBs
- Outside LBs
- Cornerbacks
- Safeties


2011 NFL Prospect Rankings & Breakdowns
- QBs | RBs | FBs | WRs
- TEs | OTs | OGs | Cs 
- OLBs | ILBs | DTs | DEs
- CBs | Ss

2011 NFL Post-Combine Draft Rankings
- Top 32 Talents
- 2nd Rounders
- 3rd Rounders
- 4th Rounders
- 5th Rounders
- 6th Rounders
- 7th Rounders & Top Free Agents  


2010 CFN Talent Rankings
- 1st Rounders
- 2nd Rounders
- 3rd Rounders
- 4th Rounders
- 5th Rounders
- 6th Rounders
- 7th Rounders 
- Top Free Agent Talents 

2010 CFN Position Rankings & Analysis

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs
This Class Is … Deep and full of intrigue. There's excellent mid-round value with at least 30 draftable prospects who can fill a variety of roles. However, the biggest call is at the top with Justin Blackmon one of the keys to the top half of the first round. Considering where he'll go, there will be plenty of good values on the second and third days.

Blackmon is expected to go in the top ten and possibly No. 4 overall to Cleveland or No. 6 to St. Louis, but is Michael Floyd the better prospect as well as the better value? Floyd is taller than Blackmon, faster, and despite the reputation, is just as physical and is a better and more consistent blocker.

Could Floyd end up going to St. Louis if Cleveland goes with Blackmon at the four? Or is it possible that someone falls in love with Floyd's physical tools, understands that the maturity problems appear to be a thing of the past, and makes the former Irish star the first receiver off the board?

No and no, but there could be plenty of second-guessing if Blackmon isn't a Pro Bowl-caliber performer out of the box and if Floyd can put it all together.

There are durability concerns with the former Irish star, and he doesn't quite play as fast as he times, but depending on the scout there are plenty of teams interested.

Everyone in the top ten needs a wide receiver, including Miami after trading away Brandon Marshall and Jacksonville despite signing Laurent Robinson, so even though all those teams have other glaring needs to fill, Floyd might be an interesting call for Seattle at the 12 or Arizona at the 13.

The Best Value Pick Will Be … Dwight Jones, North Carolina
Most Underrated … Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers
Most Overrated … Steven Hill, Georgia Tech
The Deep, Deep Sleeper Is … Tim Benford, Tennessee Tech

1. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State (Jr.) 6-1, 207
One of the most productive receivers in college football history, he was keyed on by defense after defense, but it didn't matter as he always found ways to get open and always fought his way to make plays. Extremely tough on the field, he's looks physical and plays like it while also finding ways to keep working and keep moving to make sure he can be in a position to make something happen. But will he be able to muscle anyone in the NFL? No.

He's not that big compared to the elite pro targets, and he's a bit too short and not necessarily a blazer. He timed well on his pro day, but in today's day and age of Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and receivers who are really, really big and really, really fast, Blackmon isn't either one. Making matters worse, despite looking the part, he's not actually that strong with an okay 14 reps on the bench at the Combine.

The problem is that he's more of a good football player than an elite prospect, and he's not going to be the type of receiver who can carry an entire pro passing game by himself. His numbers, while great, were inflated a bit by being in the Oklahoma State offense, and as Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, and until he plays a full season, Dez Bryant have proven, Big 12 receivers, while productive, get overdrafted. There's little bust potential, but he's a faster Anquan Boldin instead of a Megatron.  In such a deep class of receivers, is he worthy of a top ten pick? No, but that doesn't mean he won't be terrific.
CFN Projection: First Round

2. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame 6-3, 220
Tall, fast, and a great playmaker, he's a true No. 1 target with all the tools to fit the prototype. While he can blow past corners, he's also not afraid to get physical and he's great at being able to fight for the ball and outmuscle defenders. The concern going into the Combine and the offseason was that he wasn't going to time fast, and then he ran in the 4.4 range to quiet all doubters and raise up his stock. He might have timed fast, but he's not lightning quick and he's not a sharp cutter. Durability concerns are valid with a variety of issues to drop him down a bit, but the big red flag comes from the drunk driving issues that cast a cloud over his career. Even with the character questions he's not considered a bad guy, and he appears to be well past the poor decisions with the make-up and the smarts to be able to handle the weight of being a main man for a passing attack. While there are risks, and he can't be counted on to last a full 16 season without missing at least a little bit of time, he'll be a good value late in the first round compared to where Justin Blackmon will be taken.
CFN Projection: First Round

3. Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina (Jr.) 6-4, 216
After cutting down the fat a bit after playing at 230, he still has ideal size and the physical tools to know how to handle his bulk. Very tall, very tough, and with the right attitude, there's a chance he could be a phenomenal value pick after likely sliding a bit after a poor season. Yes, he struggled to produce last year compared to 2010 – he had top ten overall potential after his sophomore season - but quarterback issues and a bit of a change in offensive focus had a lot to do with that. The top-end deep speed isn't there at an elite level, and it would be a big help if he camped out with the NFL strength and conditioning coach to rock up his body a bit, but the potential is there if he works for it and decides he wants to be a star. He'll be a relatively cheap and easy chance to take after the first round.
CFN Projection: Second Round

4. Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers (Jr.) 6-2, 211
A playmaker and a football player. He doesn't have elite speed, and he might project to be more of a big H-back/slot receiver after hitting the weights a bit more, but he's a good athlete and he plays faster than he times. Greg Schiano knows pro potential, and he made sure the ball was in Sanu's hands in as many ways as possible. Tough, he's willing to block, willing to take a shot, and has no problems getting physical in one-on-one battles. Not an elite athlete and not all that explosive, he's not a sudden or shifty target and he needs to be a more precise route runner. He won't be able to stand out and play faster and quicker than everyone else like he was able to in college, and he's not going to be a big-play target, but he'll fill a variety of roles and should be a terrific No. 2 receiver.
CFN Projection: Second Round

5. Kendall Wright, Baylor 5-10, 196
Someone had to be on the other end of the Robert Griffin deep passes. Wright was a disaster at the Combine struggling to hit the 4.6 mark, and while he plays faster and was much, much better at his pro day, the Indy workout was still a big concern. A great athlete who's as smooth as silk, he's a finesse target who can hit the home run from anywhere on the field. Shifty, he cuts on a dime and can get into the open with one move. While he's not a physical receiver, he can take a shot and doesn't wilt. Was he that good or was he a part of a Baylor system that inflates numbers? It might have been a little bit of both, but the biggest problem is his lack of size and bulk among the top prospects. The frame isn't there to add more weight and he'll never block anyone, but that won't be his job. There's still room to improve and there's even more upside to his game after a great college career, and with the want-to and the No. 1 receiver attitude he should be a dangerous pro.
CFN Projection: Second Round

6. Rueben Randle, LSU (Jr.) 6-4, 210
A superstar high school prospect who was fine, but failed to be special because the Tigers didn't have a high-octane passing attack, the potential is there to quickly turn into a great pro now that he'll be unleashed. While he's not a blazer and he had a bad Combine, he's fast enough and athletic enough for his size with the potential to be a home run hitter who can work his way deep with deceptive on-field wheels. Able to play inside or out, he can fill a variety of roles and can fit any system. But now he has to actually produce. He didn't have to run a full route tree often enough at LSU, and he was slowed to a stop by Alabama, but he has the potential to be a dangerous part of a pro passing game.
CFN Projection: Second Round

7. Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M 6-4, 223
If there's a wide receiver out of central casting, it's Fuller with tremendous size, bulk, and decent speed for a 6-4 target. Very strong and very experienced, he's ready out of the box to contribute with the ability to fight for the ball and go get anything that has come his way. However, there's something missing. In a great passing offense with an NFL quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, he was fine but not quite productive enough. The hands are questionable and inconsistent and he doesn't quite use his wheels and size quite like he should. Always a bit dinged up, there was always something a bit off last year and he didn't play up to expectations. He'll be a mid-round draft pick, but there's reasonable hope to put it all together and become a very, very good pro.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

8. Chris Givens, Wake Forest (Jr.) 6-1, 198
In a draft class that's missing blazing speed up top, Givens brings the heat with sub-4.4 wheels that translates to the field. A good route runner and not just a deep threat, he's not afraid to block and he has no problems going across the middle even though he doesn't quite have the body for it. While his bread will be buttered at the next level as a possible home run hitter, it would be nice if he could find the weight room and decide to put in the work to potentially be a go-to target. The bust potential is huge and he has to prove he wants to become great. Outside of his speed he doesn't have elite tools and he'll likely spend his career as a one-trick pony who works as a No. 3 receiver.
CFN Projection: Third Round

9. Jarius Wright, Arkansas 5-9, 182
Joe Adams was the Hogs' most dangerous all-around playmaker because of his return ability, but Wright was the best receiver on a devastating passing attack. While he's a pipsqueak, he's an excellent all-around route runner and isn't afraid to go across the middle. Fast, he has 4.4 wheels and is great at getting separation and is even more dangerous in the open field when he gets to make one cut and go. Not physical at all and without any ability to get bigger, this is it, but it might be enough. Smart and with the want-to and character to own a niche as a No. 3 receiver in a high-powered offense, there's no bust potential.
CFN Projection: Third Round  

10. Marvin McNutt, Iowa 6-2, 216
The former quarterback is smart, tough, and knows how to find the seams and knows what he's supposed to do; he plays receiver and thinks like a QB. Bulky, he's physical and he isn't afraid to mix it up, and he has the speed to go along with the size checking in under 4.5. It took a little while, but he's getting the finer points down, even if he doesn't really look the part. Ready out of the box, he can step into any system and be a part of the passing game, but he's not going to be anyone's No. 1 and he'll be erased by any good NFL corner. Yes, the wheels are there, but he's not the best of athletes and he still has plenty of work to do and some tuning. There are plenty of negatives, but he'll turn in a fine, productive career.
CFN Projection: Third Round

- 2012 NFL Wide Receivers Rankings - No. 11-30