After all the tape study, the combine measurements/workouts, and re-watching of tape, there hasn’t been any significant player changes but there has been some shuffling around of those players.
Jayson Braddock and Dory LeBlanc used extensive criteria that included (but was not limited to) hands, route running, release, separation, tracking, after the catch, vision, blocking, physical makeup, physicality, and productivity into determining how those attributes translate to the NFL.
The ten-best prospects at the WR position are:
1. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State, rJr., 6’1” 207 Lbs. – He still remains the biggest play maker in this draft class. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t participate in a lot of the combine timed drills, as his strengths are what you see on tape. He’s not the tallest, strongest, fastest, or have the best hands. But he does do all of those things well and adds violence after each catch. Blackmon’s word association is YAC! EVEN
2. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame, Sr., 6’3” 220 Lbs. – Michael does test well and benefits from an atmosphere like the combine. He didn’t do anything different then we expected but he also didn’t bring up any added questions. He’s a tall, receiver with great hands and runs precise routes. +1
3. Kendall Wright, Baylor, Sr., 5’10” 196 Lbs. – Of course the 4.61 forty raises some eyebrows and definitely made us go back and re-watch his film. We are just as comfortable with his film now as we were before the combine. So, why does he fall? Floyd came out of the combine clean and doesn’t have any questions other than character. We had them both graded really close and gave Kendall the edge initially for his big play ability. With NFL teams always looking for bigger targets, we believe that they would now take the 5 inch taller and faster Floyd, who doesn’t have any on-field fear factors. -1
4. Juron Criner, Arizona, Sr., 6’3” 224 Lbs. – We’ve liked Criner for awhile now. Back in early January we were mocked for saying that we would draft Criner before Alshon Jeffery. He keeps increasing his value in our eyes. He had the biggest hands of any receiver at the combine, has great size, and a 38” vertical. While he only ran a 4.68 forty, his speed hasn’t slowed his production. He makes plays in coverage and like Blackmon, he immediately looks to add YAC. +1
5. Marvin Jones, California, Sr., 6’2” 198 Lbs. – Jones is another guy that we have had our eye on for quite some time. He’s explosive, catches everything, and manipulates the boundaries. Marvin will make his presence known early on as a rookie. +2
6. Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech, Jr., 6’4” 215 Lbs. – Any time a guy who is 6’4, runs a 4.36 and has a 39.5” vertical, you can expect there to be a buzz. You have to temper your emotions towards Hill though as his game film is questionable at best. Man point to his amazing catches but look past his open field drops. At Indy the most impressive thing he did was catch almost everything. He looked like one of the most natural catchers in the draft. On film, which trumps all, he loses focus, doesn’t explode off the line, and never gets separation. He could easily get over draft or surprising slide on draft day. He has the talent to be a top 10 pick but the film of a 5th rounder. We placed him 6th after heavy debate, because this is where we felt his talent / risk fell behind. He is the biggest boom or bust receiver in this draft. +5
7. TY Hilton, Florida Internationa, Sr., 5’10” 183 Lbs. – There hasn’t been any love lost for Hilton. We still feel that he’s one of the biggest big play receivers in this draft. He falls victim to guys who improved their stock. We also factored in the trend of the NFL looking for bigger receivers. We feel teams will take the taller, big handed receivers, in Criner and Jones, that can come in and be a team’s number 1 or number 2. Hilton may get stuck in a slot role, even though he can be more than that. If Wright wasn’t in this draft, we believe that TY would go higher. -3
T-8. Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina, Jr., 6’3” 216 Lbs. – We have our first ever tie on any of our list. Neither one of our writers wanted to give ground on Jeffery or Randle. Jeffery could obviously go higher on this list if a team felt that they could motivate him and that he would remain in shape. Anyone that drafts Alshon will do so in the hopes of him playing like his 2010 self. EVEN
T-8. Rueben Randle, LSU, Jr., 6’3” 210 Lbs. – The question with Randle is, why did he leave? The fear is that he left too early and lacks the development to make it in the NFL. He shows the skill set and he also increased his production each year but we’ve seen far too many guys look the part in college but not make the cut in the NFL because they weren’t prepared. EVEN
10. Joe Adams, Arkansas, Sr., 5’11” 179 Lbs – Joe is an exciting player. He adds value in the return game and in receiving. When he’s on, he’s unstoppable. But, when he loses focus, there’s no telling how many mistakes he’ll make. He reminds me of Dante Hall. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a team fall in love with his play making ability and reach on Joe the Jet. As you can tell, our possession receivers took a fall as Mohamed Sanu and Nick Toon fall out of the top 10.