Tuesday, April 21, 2015

DMN Print: Top Wide Receivers

Baylor Bears wide receiver Antwan Goodley (left) catches a pass against Michigan State (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
Baylor Bears wide receiver Antwan Goodley (left) catches a pass against Michigan State (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
It is redundant to say that this is strong draft for receivers because we seem to say that year after year. With the evolution of the sport, teams now realize they need at least three quality receivers who can separate and make plays to become an elite offense. In 2014, 12 receivers went in first two rounds and it might be double digits again. The well is full.
Spotlight player 
Dorial Green-Beckham 
There is no more complicated player in this draft than Green-Beckham. From his well-documented and multiple off-the-field issues, to the fact that he hasn’t played a game since 2013, to the fact he requires large amounts of refinement about the way he plays wide receiver. But, if you want to roll precisely on the positive, just have a look at some of his highlights. He is too big and too fast to cover with one guy. It cannot be done. So, Missouri would routinely tease the safety away and then just throw it up and allow him to go get it – which he would regularly do even as a freshman and sophomore. He is so big that he is one of those players that is like 7-11 - always open. If you squint, you can see Terrell Owens. The fact is, you can’t teach 6’5. 240, with 4.4 speed who can take the top off any coverage.
Seldom does someone come along that could be the best receiver of a class on one hand, yet perhaps a player available on Day 2 of the draft on the other hand. If you are willing to take a chance on a player like this who has considerable baggage, it could represent value of the highest order. There are certainly franchises that would not take him at any price. In five years, he is possibly the type of guy to make teams wonder why they passed on him so many times. But, that is the draft game at its best.
The best 
Kevin White, West Virginia 
It is difficult to say which of the top 3 – White, Parker, and Cooper is the clear No. 1, but White is absolutely the most jaw-dropping and perhaps the one with the highest ceiling. If one of this trio turned into a superstar in three years, you would be wise to consider White for that job. He is really special in terms of doing what football is all about – changing the game by defying the X’s and O’s and just winning with dominance in size and speed. He is very good, but you do wonder if he is as versatile at all aspects of his game as Parker or Cooper.
Jamison Crowder, Duke 
Perhaps available in the Rounds 3 or 4, the ACC all-time catch leader is very small (5’8, 185) and not particularly jaw-dropping with his 40-time (4.56 at combine). But, he is so productive as Duke’s primary weapon in the offense all over the field in terms of catching and making defenders miss in space. He is a devastating return man who can change the game in that capacity as well in the blink of an eye. He has great hands, is so competitive and tough, and flashes with productivity on a constant basis.
Best of Texas 
Antwan Goodley, Baylor 
The state didn’t produce many pass catchers this season, but Goodley is well known in these parts for his big moments – especially in 2013. Goodley is a thick wide receiver who made the jump from running back and still looks like he is better suited for the RB position at times with his frame and even his approach. He is a bit older, but he has a certain amount of intrigue due to his skill set and productivity and with some return skills could catch on with special teams and depth at WR this season somewhere in the NFL.
Bob Sturm's top 10
Click on the highlighted names for Bob Sturm's individual analysis of players or here for his complete list of 2015 NFL draft profiles.
Rk., playerCollegeNoteworthy
1. Kevin WhiteWest Virginia6-3215Oozes with superstar upside
2. Devante ParkerLouisville6-2209Also in top class, most rank 3rd
3. Amari CooperAlabama6-0211Safest pick at the top, how high is ceiling?
4. Dorial Green-BeckhamMissouri6-5237Highest ceiling, lowest floor
5. Nelson AgholorUSC6-0198Needs refinement, but flashes very high
6. Jaelen StrongArizona St6-2217may lack burst, still big and impressive
7. Rashad GreeneFla. St5-11182Productive, but ordinary measureables
8. Brashad PerrimanUCF6-2212Fast — 4.25 — riser after combine
9. Devin SmithOhio St6-0196Amazing one-trick pony: deep threat
10. Phillip DorsettMiami5-9185Diminuative with electric speed

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