The 2014 class of receivers is both top heavy and extremely deep thanks to a ton of underclassmen. Pick your flavor, because there something for everyone.
1. Sammy Watkins, Clemson
Explosive playmaker. Natural hands. Rare prospect who has 4.4 speed and plays with toughness. Absolutely the #1 WR, but not quite in the class of bigger bodied elite WRs from past years like Calvin Johnson, AJ Green, Julio Jones or Dez Bryant (Dez only fell due to character concerns). Not a finished product. Had an up and down career. Only asked to run about three routes at Clemson. Over half his catches were on screens. Top 10.
2. Mike Evans, Texas A&M
Supersized redshirt sophomore with basketball athleticism. Can go up and get the ball in a crowd. A little tight, but can make plays after the catch. Snatches the ball out of the air with ease. Can move pretty well when he gets going. Ran 4.53 at combine. Huge catch radius. Top 15.
3. Odell Beckham, LSU
Great feet. Initial quickness, lateral agility and deep speed are all plusses. Not big (5-11), but has long arms, big hands and will fight for the ball. Can play in slot or outside. A very good return man as well. 1st round.
4. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
There’s a clear top 3 in this draft. After that, team’s boards are probably all over the place. My guy at the top of the next tier is Jordan Matthews. Record setting production in SEC. Bottom line — he has current, playable skills and the work ethic to meet or exceed his prototype tools (6-3, 212, 4.46). You can read more of my thoughts on Matthews here. Late 1st round value. Probably a mid-late 2nd round pick.
5. Marquise Lee, USC
Based on his 2012 play, Lee would be in the top tier of WRs. Had a down junior year due to injury, QB and coaching issues at USC. Competitive player. Showed guts coming back when he was obviously still hurt. A good route runner. Long strider who has great burst off the line, then more build up speed. Too many drops. Added value as kick returner. Can play outside or slot. Late 1st-early 2nd.
6. Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
Short and explosive. Extremely productive receiver at OSU. Ran a 4.33 40 at the combine. Great return man who should excel in the slot. Plays tougher than size would indicate. Length keeps him from being a 1st round lock. Late 1st-early 2nd.
7. Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State
Walking mismatch. Probably the biggest WR prospect I can remember at 6-5, 240. Monstrous catch radius and good straight line speed for size. Willing blocker that can bully DBs. Potential as joker TE hybrid role. Not much wiggle at all, poor route runner. Too many drops. Raw, yet very old for his grade (23 y/o redshirt soph). Should have dominated his peers more due to size/age advantage. Why was he held back twice, is there a mental deficiency? 2nd round.
8. Allen Robinson, Penn State
A 4.60 40 is probably the only thing keeping Robinson out of 1st round conversation. Good size at 6-2, 220. Has very good lateral agility for size and uses it to help run great routes and make people miss after the catch. Solid player that doesn’t wow, but should develop into a starter. 2nd round.
9. Martavis Bryant, Clemson
Boom or bust prospect. Best set of tools to be a deep threat in the draft (6-4, 211, 4.42). Loose athlete. Great tracking the ball in the air. Redzone value. Averaged 20 ypc as 2nd option to Watkins at Clemson. More polished than Stephen Hill, who had a similar skillset as a 2nd rounder in 2012. 2nd round.
10. Davante Adams, Fresno State
Smooth athlete. Soft hands. Can really go up and get the ball in the air. Full scouting report on Adams here. 2nd-3rd round.
11. Jarvis Landry, LSU
Best hands in draft. Gets open and catches the ball. Better mover in short area than down field. Ran a terrible 4.7 40 at the combine, which could lead to a long fall. Will out-produce some workout warriors who get drafted ahead of him. Late 2nd round value. Could fall into day three.
12. Cody Latimer, Indiana
The Latimer hype train is in full effect after running low 4.4s at his pro day. Former hoopster with good size (6-2, 215) and awesome leaping ability. Powerful athlete. Shows toughness. Explosive in a straight line, but I didn’t see a deep threat or good runner after the catch on tape. Looks tight on the field. Redzone, possession type. More specimen than football player at this point. Has tools to develop. Reports that he’ll go late 1st. 2nd-3rd round value.
13. Paul Richardson, Colorado
Slim, fast and productive. Gets on CBs quickly. Slick route runner. Hands are a plus and works back to the ball. Reminds me a little of Desean Jackson with his ability to get open downfield. Had some injuries in college and that’s a red flag with his thin frame. Needs to get stronger. 3rd round.
14. Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss
Like Latimer, he’s a specimen that doesn’t play as good as he fills out a uniform. Big, strong and fast. Leaves you wanting more when watching game film. 2nd rounder some years, but gets lost in this class for me. 3rd round.
15. Dri Archer, Kent State
Tiny, but electric (5-8, 173, 4.26). He was timed as fast as 4.16 on some clocks. Will be the fastest man in the NFL the day he’s drafted (sorry CJ2K, you don’t run a 4.2 anymore). Not just fast. Good leaper, solid hands and not afraid of contact. Explosive return man and that’s where he’ll make his money. Was mostly a RB at Kent State, but will probably play more slot WR at next level. Late 3rd round.
16. Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin
Another player who will be hurt by the talent in this class. More athletic than he gets credit for (6-1, 195, 4.50). Very productive player that helped his team on outside, in slot and special teams. Showed up big vs Ohio State and top CB prospect Bradley Roby. Savvy WR who does the little things well. Needs to get stronger. 4th round.
17. Robert Herron, Wyoming
Short, athletic slot receiver. Was uncoverable at the Senior Bowl. Would go higher if he had experience returning kicks. 4th round.
18. Josh Huff, Oregon
Average height/weight/speed. Competitive player that can line up inside or outside. Ceiling of #3 receiver. 4th-5th round.
19. Bruce Ellington, South Carolina
Another super athletic, but undersized slot receiver (5-9, 197, 4.45). Raw. Juggled two sports, so has a chance to develop more after quitting hoops. Shaky hands worry me. Not super productive. 4th-5th round.
20. Kevin Norwood, Alabama
Polished receiver. Solid measurables (6-2, 198, 4.48). Will be 25 year old rookie. One of the better WRs at Senior Bowl. Can step in and make a team as 4th WR. 5th round.
21. Jeff Janis, Saginaw Valley
Small school sleeper. Super productive in college and held his own at Senior Bowl. Wowed with combine measurables of 6-3, 219 lbs. and a 4.42 40. 5th round.
22. Brandon Coleman, Rutgers
Great year if you’re looking for a WR with huge catch radius. Coleman stands at 6-6, 225 with 34 inch arms and ran a 4.56 in Indy. Sluggish route runner with some build up speed, but doesn’t play to 4.5 speed. Redzone target. 6th round.