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2009 NFL Draft - Ranking The Wide Receivers

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 22, 2009


The 2009 NFL Draft is almost here. From a college football perspective, here's the CFN ranking of the top 25 wide receiver prospects led by Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin and Percy Harvin, along with the most overrated and underrated prospects and the deepest sleeper.

2009 NFL Draft Position Rankings

The Wide Receivers


2009 NFL Draft Post-Workout Rankings

Quarterbacks
| Running Backs | Fullbacks | Receivers | Tight Ends
Centers | Guards | Off. Tackles | Def. Ends | Def. Tackles
Inside LBs | Outside LBs | Cornerbacks | Safeties


By Pete Fiutak

- 2009 NFL Prospect Rankings
Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers
Tight Ends | Off. Tackles
| Off. Guards | Centers
Defensive Ends
| Defensive Tackles | Inside LBs
Outside LBs | Safeties
| Cornerbacks

The Class Is ... strong. There will be plenty of second guessing up top between Maclin, Harvin and Crabtree, but there’s great value to be had in the mid-rounds. There are a few unpolished gems to be plucked on the second day.

The Best Value Pick Will Be ... Louis Murphy, Florida

Most Underrated ... Brian Robiskie, Ohio State

Most Overrated …  Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina

The Deep, Deep Sleeper Is .. Dominique Edison, Stephen F. Austin

Rankings of the 2010 Top Prospects
- Possible 1st Rounders
- Possible 2nd Rounders
- Possible 3rd Rounders
- Possible 4th Rounders
- Possible 5th Rounders
- Possible 6th Rounders
- Possible 7th Rounders & Free Agents
- Quarterbacks

- Running Backs
- Wide Receivers
- Tight Ends
- Offensive Tackles 
- Offensive Guards
- Centers
- Defensive Ends
- Defensive Tackles 
- Outside LBs
- Inside LBs
- Safeties
- Cornerbacks
- Punters & Kickers 



THE FRANCHISE

1. Jeremy Maclin, Missouri 6-1, 210 (3rd year Soph.)
Does he have the ability to stay healthy and get more physical? While he’s tough, he played through an ankle injury, he’s mostly been a finesse target who’s been great on the move and in space. He has the hands, he has the top-end speed, and he has the return ability to become an instant impact playmaker in a variety of ways. It’s his speed that sets him apart with an extra gear when he gets going. How fast is he? He tore off a “disappointing” 4.4 at the Combine even though he had a dinged up leg. When he’s right, he’ll be a No. 1 receiver and a big-time playmaker, but he can’t be counted on for a full 16-game season.
CFN Projection: First Round

2. Percy Harvin, Florida 5-11, 195 (Jr.)
A smaller, better running version of Jeremy Maclin, Harvin was an elite playmaker when he was able to stay on the field. Oh sure, Tim Tebow had the speech and has been the signature star, but Florida doesn’t win the SEC title or the national title without Harvin. While he’s not all that big, he’s strong, well-built, and tough. However, he gets hurt way too often to be a top target to build a passing game around. He’ll have to be a complementary weapon who’ll do a little of everything for an offense, and he’ll likely be tried out and used as a returner. A top offensive coordinator will drool at the possibilities, and there will be some big games when Harvin explodes, but he’ll have a tough time being consistent and he’s not going to stay healthy.
CFN Projection: First Round

3. Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech 6-1, 215 (3rd year Soph.)
Everyone has fallen in love with Crabtree because of his size, desire, and his tremendous production at Texas Tech. However, there are major warning signs that he might not be the be-all-end-all No. 1 target. For one, he’s not as big as expected. Considered to be in the same category as Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, and Andre Johnson, top receivers who went in the top three overall, Crabtree isn’t nearly as tall and he’s nowhere near as fast. And then there’s the foot issue. No one is considering for a second that there’s anything strange about the injury, the timing couldn’t be better. He’s not a 4.4 runner, and he’s more likely around a devastatingly stock-dropping 4.6. Is that for sure? No way, but it’s asking a lot to draft a wide receiver in the top 10 without knowing if he can run. He needs to get the ball in a quick-hitting passing attack and on the move. Randy Moss he’s not; he’s not going to get deep on any NFL starting cornerback. Ultra-competitive, he’s the type who’ll want to make himself better and he’s the one true No. 1 type of receiver in the draft. All the doubters out there and all the question marks are a major positive. It’ll all light a fire under him that could carry into an extremely productive pro career in the right offense.
CFN Projection: First Round

4. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland 6-2, 210 (Jr.)
Speed, speed and more speed. There’s no questioning his athleticism, his wheels, or his raw skills that everyone knew about throughout his career, and were then shown off at the Combine and in workouts. However, he might be a one-trick pony as a speed receiver. Not a consistent playmaker for the Terps and not a do-it-all sort of performer, he’s a deep threat who’ll stretch the field and create major problems for any secondary and any top corner. However, he has work to do to become more of a short-to-midrange target to go along with the elite wheels. He’ll do what he has to. He’ll work his tail off to become more than just a track guy playing football and isn’t a prima donna.
CFN Projection: First Round

POSSIBLE NFL STARTERS

5. Brian Robiskie, Ohio State 6-3, 209
While he’s not all that fast and he’s not quite good enough to be an elite go-to target, he’s ready to step in and be a starter right now. He’s polished, productive, and smart. He’ll get the pro playbook right away, will be a favorite for any quarterback because of his route running ability, and he’ll make the plays thrown his way. What he doesn’t have is the top-end gear to get past an NFL corner, but he should grow into a terrific No. 2 target who thrives alongside a speedy No. 1. While there might be a bit of a ceiling on what he can become, he was underutilized in his final year once Terrelle Pryor took over. While he might have disappeared at times, that’s not going to happen once he sets foot in a pro-style offense.
CFN Projection: Second Round

6. Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina 6-1, 212 (Jr.)
With great hands, a No. 1 target attitude, and good size and toughness, he has the look of a possible Cris Carter-type who could grow into a superstar if he can stay in shape. That’s been an issue since the end of the year after beefing up, and not necessarily in a good way. His speed is average at best as is, and he might have big problems if he’s not in tip-top shape at all times. Even so, if it all comes together, and if he has the right attitude, it’s all there for him to be a major steal. He’ll demand the ball, will go get it when it’s thrown to him, and will make the highlight reel play when he’s on a roll. He’s a difference maker who could become special.
CFN Projection: Second Round

7. Derrick Williams, Penn State 5-11, 195
He’ll go on the cheap compared to Jeremy Maclin and Percy Harvin, similar players who have a better buzz. No, Williams isn’t as fast as some of the top prospects and he was a disappointment as a receiver considering he was considered the nation’s top high school prospect. However, he’s a versatile playmaker who’ll be used as a returner and can get a few carries per game. While he might not be a special NFL receiver, he’ll likely hang around the league for a decade and be very, very solid as a dirty work, inside target.
CFN Projection: Second Round

8. Kenny Britt, WR Rutgers 6-4, 215 (Jr.)
There are two questions: speed and character. Everything else is there. He produced even though he was the target of every defense, QB Mike Teel wasn’t always great, and Ray Rice and the running game dominated the offense until last year. Extremely strong, he’ll beat up defensive backs fighting for the ball and as a blocker. While he doesn’t have top-end speed, he’s a better deep threat than he probably could be. He’s a fighter, and not just on the field. He might rub coaches the wrong way and he could check out if he’s not a No. 1 option. However, he could be a No. 1 option. If he can harness his energy and be focused full-time, he has Pro Bowl potential.
CFN Projection: Second Round

9. Demetrius Byrd, LSU 6-1, 200
The epitome of the million-dollar talent with a ten-cent head. He has it all with size, speed, and tremendous upside. He can hit the home run, find the hole in the seam, and do big things when he gets the ball on the move. However, he’s not a refined route runner, will drop passes, and didn’t produce like a superstar receiver he should’ve become. He was plenty good, and he’ll be solid for someone on raw skills alone, but he could be great. Special. If it all kicks in and if he finds the desire to become the NFL’s best receiver, it’s all there for him. The world is his if he wants it.
CFN Projection: Third Round

10. Brandon Tate, North Carolina  6-1, 185
If given time he could be great. One of the all-time great kickoff returners in college football history, he was on his way to a special year as a receiver as well as a return man before suffering a horrendous knee injury that could still keep him at far less than 100% well into the 2009 NFL season. Before the injury he was tremendously quick, hard to get a hold of, and productive. In time, he’ll be a top-shelf special teamer and a very, very good inside receiver once he’s healthy again. He might have been a late first rounder if he didn’t have the knee problem.
CFN Projection: Third Round

11. Louis Murphy, Florida 6-2, 205
The skills are all there and he has tremendous upside, but he has to work on becoming a wide receiver. His sub-4.4 speed alone makes him a strong deep threat, and he’s a great athlete who can jump out of the stadium. Throw in the character, he was a captain on a national championship team, and he would seem like a near-perfect prospect. However, he needs polish in a big way. He was good for the Gators but he didn’t become great until his senior year. Even so, he was underrated compared to the rest of the stars on last year’s team; he never got enough credit for all he did for the offense. He’s not going to be anything to count on right away unless he’s used as a pure deep threat, but he can improve his concentration, limit the drops, a work and work and work on his basic receiving skills, he could make a lot of money as a long-time pro.
CFN Projection: Third Round

12. Juaquin Iglesias, Oklahoma 6-0, 205
While he’s not going to impress on the stopwatch and he might have flourished because he played in the Oklahoma offense, he’s a flat-out wide receiver who has an extremely low downside. He has great hands, is a strong route runner, and plays faster than he times. Get him the ball on the move and he’ll make something happen. While he’ll get beaten up by physical defensive backs and he’s not going to hit the home runs he did for the Sooners, he’s a hard worker and a good enough player to make a coaching staff instantly happy once camp starts. He’s not going to be one of the top receivers in the draft, but he’ll stick.
CFN Projection: Third Round 

13. Ramses Barden, Cal Poly 6-6, 205
Very big, very tall, and very, very productive, he was one of the most dominant offensive weapons on the FCS level over the last four years. While he played at a lower level, he caught six passes for 83 yards and a score at Wisconsin. However, he didn’t see any other action against FBS teams and was erased at the Senior Bowl. He’s not all that fast and he’s not nearly as physical as he should be for a player of his size, but he knows how to make plays and he knows how to score. It’ll take a little while and a lot of work on his refinement, but if he hits the weights, gets a nasty attitude, and develops a niche, like as a goal line playmaker, he could grow into a weapon.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

14. Mike Thomas, Arizona 5-8, 185
If he was two inches taller he might be seen as a first rounder. Cut, he’s extremely well built and is tough as nails. He’ll fight though injuries and will have to be dragged off the field. Ultra-productive for Arizona, he did a little of everything well and wasn’t afraid to catch the ball in traffic even at his size. The size, or lack of it, is a major factor, even though his phenomenal vertical leaping ability makes up for it a little bit. With 4.3 wheels, he could grow into a deep threat who punishes defenses for not paying attention to him. The intangibles are all there, but he’ll be dragged down because he’s just too short.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

15. Mohamed Massaquoi, Georgia 6-1, 205
While he never lived up to the immense prep hype, he grew into a dependable all-around playmaker for the Bulldogs by the end of his career. He’s not going to be a star, but he’s going to be a very, very good, reliable pro for a long time because he does all the things coaches like. He blocks, he’s tough, he goes over the middle, and he’ll do whatever he needs to do. A good athlete, he has just enough speed to get by. However, he’s just not that good a receiver. He’ll make too many drops and will disappear for long stretches. While he’ll be a nice part of an offense, he’ll never be great.
CFN Projection: Third Round

16. Jarett Dillard, Rice 5-10, 185
Ultra-productive, he was unstoppable even when everyone was focused on stopping him. Part of the equation was the wide-open spread attack, and part of it was that Dillard was simply that good. He makes every catch, takes his game to another level when he’s trying to score, and will work his tail off. While he’s too small to not get beaten up, and he’s not a blazer, he jumps out of the stadium and plays much bigger than he is. He’ll stick on a roster because he’ll run every route needed, will catch every pass, and will do everything asked of him. But there’s a ceiling on what he can do because of his size and lack of top speed.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

17. Deon Butler, Penn State 5-10, 185
Always seen as part of the receiving corps, nothing more, he busted out this off-season with a jaw-dropping 4.36 that had everyone at the Combine buzzing. With his superior quickness and his great hands, he could explode as a slot receiver if he can get the ball in space on a regular basis. While he’s not a returner, he’ll work to try to become one. If he can bust out one nice return in practices, he could stick around for a while and will get a lot more attention. The problem is his size; this is it. He bulked up this off-season, but he doesn’t have any room to get any bigger and he isn’t all that physical.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round


BEST OF THE REST

18. Greg Carr, Florida State 6-5, 215
Why didn’t Florida State throw jump balls to Carr on every other play? If nothing else, he scared the heck out of secondaries. Underutilized at times, he had one thing he could do and he did it very well. However, he’s a one-trick pony. He’s not nearly physical enough for his size, doesn’t go over the middle, and he’ll get shoved around. It’s all about what he can do on the goal line and if he can become a specialist. Throw it up, let him go get it as a possible matchup nightmare, and let him work outside the hashmarks.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

19. Patrick Turner, USC 6-5. 220
He went from being undraftable to an interesting late round prospect after the season. Way too slow and not nearly productive enough considering his high school résumé, and the offense he played in, he opened up eyes at the Combine and in Senior Bowl practices. More fluid this off-season than he ever appeared to be at USC, his combination of size and hands make him a safe flier.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

20. Brandon Gibson, Washington State 6-0, 200
Very productive despite all his limitations, Gibson works hard, was productive for some bad teams, and is tough. He’ll be a good possession receiver who’ll block anyone needed to be hit, but he doesn’t have enough speed to be anything more than a complementary target. While he didn’t stand out this off-season, he could be a big surprise once he gets an NFL quarterback throwing his way.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

21. Kevin Ogletree, Virginia 6-2, 190 (Jr.)
It was a bit of a shock when he said he was leaving early, and no one at Virginia appeared to be too upset. A brutal knee injury limited a one-time promising career, but he did a decent job and had some big games when he was on the field. Extremely fast, he had a great Combine and now could be used as a deep threat, even though he didn’t do much field-stretching for the Cavaliers.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

22. Austin Collie, BYU 6-2, 200 (Jr.)
While everyone just assumes Michael Crabtree led the nation in all the top receiving categories because of the offense he was in, but it was Collie who led the nation in receiving yards. While he doesn’t run all that well and he’s not all that quick, he’s a pure receiver who runs great routes, catches everything, and goes after the ball well. He’s a polished target, but he doesn’t have a lot of upside.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

23. Brian Hartline, Ohio State  6-2, 185 (Jr.)
He should’ve come back for another year, but the writing was on the wall that the Buckeye offense just wasn’t going to do much with the passing game with Terrelle Pryor under center. Hartline went from undraftable to a possible No. 3 inside receiver after showing phenomenal quickness at the Combine. Far more quick than fast, he’s not going to burn anyone deep and he’s not going to shove anyone around, but he has the potential to be decent.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

24. Jeremy Childs, Boise State 6-0, 195 (Jr.)
Productive when he was on the field, Childs had problems off the field, mainly in school. He’s very tough with excellent hands and will fight for the ball, but he doesn’t have special skills. The speed isn’t there and he’ll struggle to separate from a good defensive back at the next level. Even so, he’s a good receiver who’ll be where he needs to be, will run solid routes, and could make a roster as a possession target.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

25. Kenny McKinley, South Carolina  5-11, 185
Fantastic for the Gamecocks and extremely productive in SEC play, he’ll have problems finding a role at an NFL level. While he’s very fast and he did a good job against bigger defensive backs, he’ll get beaten up if he’s not always in space. He doesn’t play up to his speed and he’ll get shoved around, but he has good hands and he’s a fighter who’ll be tough to cut.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

26. Aaron Kelly, Clemson  6-5, 195
With great size and leaping ability he could find a niche as an inside target and a possession receiver, and he could also grow into a goal line target if he’s given a chance. However, he’s not physical enough to be a regular blocker and there will be durability concerns. There isn’t enough of a burst to do anything on the outside.
CFN Projection: Seventh Round

27. Brooks Foster, North Carolina 6-0, 211
Could be the best of the Tar Heel lot that’ll be drafted with a good blend of size and speed. However, he didn’t stand out often enough.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

28. Sammie Stroughter, Oregon State 5-9, 190
Tremendously productive when healthy, he’ll make his money as a returner and a fourth receiver.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

29. Johnny Knox, Abilene Christian 5-11, 185
He’ll make a roster on his 4.34 speed alone, but he’s not big enough. He’ll get beaten up and won’t be able to use his wheels.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

30. Mike Wallace, Ole Miss 6-1 200
Extremely fast, he should be tried out as a returner and a deep threat. Very, very raw as a receiver.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

31. Quan Cosby, Texas 5-9 195
A very small, very old (he’s 27) slot receiver, he’s polished and could bounce around the league for several years.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

32. Tiquan Underwood, Rutgers 6-1 185
The running mate next to Kenny Britt, he’s a phenomenal athlete with jaw-dropping speed and leaping ability. He’s not nearly physical enough and will be knocked off a route by a soft breeze.
CFN Projection: Seventh Round

33. Darius Passmore, Marshall 6-1 188
Character and durability issues overshadow how fluid he is. Very thin and not physical, he needs to use his athleticism to find a role as a returner.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

34. Jaison Williams, Oregon 6-5 235 
Huge, he needs to establish himself as a possible H-Back. He’s a good athlete with nice hands, but he’s way too slow.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

35. Jordan Norwood, Penn State 5-11 180
Too small, too slow, and not strong enough, he doesn’t have NFL talent. However, he’s a good football player who’ll run good routes.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

36. Brennan Marion, Tulsa, 5-11 185
37. Eron Riley, Duke 6-3 200
38. Michael Jones, Arizona State 6-3 205 
39. Nate Swift, Nebraska 6-2 205
40. David Richmond, San Jose State 6-2 196
41. Derek Kinder, Pitt 6-0 215
42. Deon Murphy, Kansas State 5-10 170
43. Dicky Lyons, Kentucky 5-10 180
44. Rodgeriqus Smith, Auburn 5-11 195
45. Dominick Goodman, Cincinnati 5-11 205
46. Marcus Herford, Kansas 6-1 200
47. Quentin Chaney, Oklahoma 6-4 
48. Greg Orton, Purdue 6-3 207
49. Taurus Johnson, South Florida 6-0 200
50. Andrew Means, Indiana 6-1 215