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2013 NFL Draft - Wide Receivers

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 23, 2013


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

2013 NFL Draft Position Rankings

Wide Receivers


By Pete Fiutak
Follow Us ... @ColFootballNews 
 
2013 NFL Draft Analysis
- Quarterbacks | Run Backs | Fullbacks | Receivers
- Tight Ends | Off Tackles | Off Guards | Centers
- Defensive Ends | Inside LBs | Outside LBs
- Cornerbacks | Safeties | Kickers & Punters
 - 2012 Wide Receiver Rankings

- 2013 Wide Receiver Rankings
- Receivers - No. 11-20
- Receivers - No. 21-35
 

2014 Top WR Prospects
1. Marqise Lee, USC (Jr.)
2. Sammy Watkins, Clemson (Jr.)
3. Amari Cooper, Alabama (Soph.)*
4. Mike Evans, Texas A&M (Soph.)
5. Stefon Diggs, Maryland (Soph.)*
6. Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri (Soph.)*
7. Trey Metoyer, Oklahoma (Soph.)
8. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
9. Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia (Jr.)
10. Brandon Coleman, Rutgers (Jr.)
11. Davante Adams, Fresno State (Soph.)
12. Allen Robinson, Penn State (Jr.)
13. Nelson Agholor, USC (Soph.)*
14. Odell Beckham Jr., LSU (Jr.)
15. Jaxon Shipley, Texas (Jr.)
*Not eligible until 2015
 
2012 CFN Prospect Rankings & Breakdowns
- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DTs
- ILBs | OLBs | CBs | Ss

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

2010 CFN Position Rankings & Analysis

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs
This Class Is … big on potential, short on sure things.

Wide receiver is always a roll of the dice, but this year it’s extremely difficult to project who can really play and become a difference maker. Four receivers were taken in the first round last season — nine in the first two rounds — and few actually showed up and did anything on Sundays. There wasn’t an A.J. Green or Julio Jones like in 2011, and there won’t be any this year, either.

The Tennessee targets will dominate the spotlight, with Cordarrelle Paterson and Justin Hunter fighting it out with Cal’s Keenan Allen to see who could be the No. 1 receiver taken, while former Vol Da’Rick Rogers might have the best tools and talents of any wideout in the draft, but he could slide because of off-the-field issues.

Overall, the class has several players who look the part and could bust out, but don’t be shocked if this is a bit like 2008 when no receivers were taken in the first round and Donnie Avery and Devin Thomas joined James Hardy and Eddie Royal in the group of second-round picks who went ahead of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon (who went in the sixth round). Things are so uncertain, the guy who many have going first among the receivers, Tavon Austin of West Virginia, is No. 7 in our WR rankings. Let’s sort this all out. (Note: Players listed played senior seasons unless otherwise noted.)

The Best Value Pick Will Be … Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech
Most Underrated … Tavarres King, Georgia
Most Overrated … Stedman Bailey, West Virginia
The Deep, Deep Sleeper Is … Deven Baker, Central Connecticut State

1. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee (Jr.) 6-2, 216
Very big, very fast, and very quick for his size. He has No. 1 wide receiver tools and is the one guy in the draft who looks like the next big thing. Absolutely effortless, he looks like he’s running in slow motion as he’s using his 4.4 speed to come up with dangerous plays in the open field. Creative and devastating on the move, he’s able to break his man down and get positive yards, especially as a punt returner. He’ll have no problems helping out his quarterback by taking away the 50/50 chances from the defensive back, and he’ll always be around the ball.

There’s some tweaking to be done, though. He needs to become a sharper, more consistent route runner, and he needs to prove that he can get the job done for more than one year after coming up from the JUCO ranks, but there won’t be a lot of patience. The upside is there to eventually become a perennial Pro Bowl performer, but he needs to dive into an NFL playbook — hard — and do all the little things right. Even so, as is he’s already going to be one of the most productive targets at the next level, but the sky’s the limit with the right coaching and effort.
CFN Projection: First round

2. DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson (Jr.) 6-1, 214
Everyone came to see Sammy Watkins in 2012, but it was Hopkins who stole the show, highlighted by a scintillating performance in the win over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, catching 13 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. The 4.5 speed is fine, but nothing special, but he’s a strong route runner and is tough as nails when he has to go across the middle. As good as he was, there’s still plenty of upside and potential as he’s just scratching the surface. Coaches will love him because he can block, and quarterbacks will adore him because he’ll catch anything thrown his way. He looks and plays like a No. 1 receiver, but he’s not; he needs a good, dangerous receiver on the other side to help take the attention away. He’ll do all the grunt work needed to make a play.
CFN Projection: Second round

3. Keenan Allen, California (Jr.) 6-2, 206
It would be nice if he was a little bit faster, but Allen’s fast on the field and moves effortlessly with easy cutting ability and good straight-line speed when the ball is in the air. A fighter, he’ll go after a ball and isn’t afraid to shove someone around to make a play. The raw speed isn’t there to take the top off a defense, and he might turn into more of a possession target if he can’t stay healthy — there were leg problems at the end of last season — but there’s still a lot to get excited about. If he can regain his sophomore year production and upside, and if he can get past knee and ankle injuries, he’ll be a sure thing in the slot.
CFN Projection: Second round

4. Justin Hunter, Tennessee (Jr.) 6-4, 196
If you’re building a wide receiver, what are you looking for? Really tall and built — check. 4.4 speed — check. NBA small forward athleticism — check. Great hands and a great work ethic — check. With rare tools, Hunter has the look and talent to be a go-to, Pro Bowl, No.1-caliber receiver who can carry an offense. So what’s the problem? Consistency is one issue, getting slowed down by top defenses with only six of his 18 career touchdowns coming against SEC teams. The bigger problem is his knee after suffering a torn ACL a year-and-a-half ago. He came back just fine, but it’s always going to be a bit of a concern considering his athleticism. There’s still lots of work to do on his route-running ability and he needs to add more weight, but he’s a dangerous talent with unlimited potential.
CFN Projection: Second round

5. Terrance Williams, Baylor 6-2, 208
Last season he showed what several had been suggesting — he was the best receiver on the team over the last few years. Kendall Wright might have been the main man for RG3, but when the second pick in the 2012 NFL Draft was gone, it was Williams who stepped up his game, averaging a whopping 18.9 yards per catch making huge play after huge play. He doesn’t have great timed speed, but when he has to track the ball and when he has it in his hands on the move, he’s gone. While he’ll work hard and do anything a coach asks, he needs the killer instinct to be able to make himself something truly special. The workouts are never going to be great and he’s not going to stand out on a scout sheet, but he’s a top producer who can grow from a great deep threat into a strong all-around playmaker with a little bit of time and more work on his route tree.
CFN Projection: Second round

6. Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech 6-0, 204
The numbers might have been inflated in the Louisiana Tech pass-happy offense, but he deserves plenty of credit for them. The 4.5 speed isn’t great and he’s not huge and bulky, but he’ll be a reliable possession target who’ll make the midrange play time and again. There won’t be anything flashy about his play, but he’ll catch pass after pass. A key leader for a great offense, he has great character and is extremely coachable as the type of guy you want to be a part of your team. A great route runner, there’s no wasted motion in getting open. The hands aren’t fantastic and he’s not explosive, but he’ll be a sure-thing, bread-and-butter short-range receiver who’ll put up big pass catch numbers. He’ll be a quarterback’s best friend.
CFN Projection: Second round

7. Tavon Austin, West Virginia 5-8, 174
4.34. His 40 time wasn’t the fastest at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he was moving in a hurry. A darting speedster, he’s great with the ball in his hands in a variety of ways, used as a running back as well as a receiver and using his burst of speed to make things happen whenever he got his chances. Uncoverable as a slot receiver, he’ll be devastating when he gets the ball on the move with the ability to break down and blow past a defender. He’ll never block anyone and he’s going to get crushed when he goes across the middle, but he’s a true difference maker who’ll keep defensive coordinators up at night.
CFN Projection: First round

8. Robert Woods, USC (Jr.) 6-0, 201
While he might not be huge and he might not have blazing speed, he’s a great pure receiver lighting up top competition and coming through with big plays time and again. Ready right out of the box, get him on the field and he’ll be ready to roll in Week 1. He moves effortlessly and is able to gear up instantly and cut without a problem, and he’s not afraid of or shy about getting hit or getting physical when needed. He’s not going to block anyone and he’s not bulky enough to be a true No. 1, but he’s a pure NFL target who can be an extremely productive producer for a long time with the right offense. He can be a devastating No. 2 who can lead the team in receiving every once in a while.
CFN Projection: Second round

9. Da’Rick Rogers, Tennessee Tech (Jr.) 6-2, 217
With excellent size, 4.5 speed and great strength, the ability is undeniable. Athletic and quick for his size, he moves without effort and is dangerous when he gets on the move. When he wants a ball, he’ll beat up his man to go grab it and make the play. Fluid, there’s almost no effort to get in and out of his breaks and there’s jaw-dropping leaping ability when the ball is in the air. Now he has to harness the talent to become a top football player. He doesn’t have Randy Moss-like otherworldly skills to negate his off-the-field knucklehead streak, and he’s not a true blazer; but there’s enough talent and upside to get a top-50 talent in the middle rounds.
CFN Projection: Fourth round

10. Stedman Bailey, West Virginia (Jr.) 5-10, 193
Yes, he was a product of a funky passing offense and he was able to put up huge numbers because of the scheme, but hey, West Virginia does a lot of the same things that New England and New Orleans do. With the hands, the route-running ability and the knack for always getting open, he’s able to produce in any offense and will find ways to make things happen. He’s not a speedster, but he’s functionally fast in and out of his breaks and is great at always working to find the seam. The size isn’t there and he’s not physical in any way — he’s missing the raw tools — but he’s a better football player than a prospect. It helped to have Geno Smith throwing him the ball, but he made No. 12 look good, too.
CFN Projection: Second round

- Receivers - No. 11-20
- Receivers - No. 21-35