Nothing has changed in the top 4 since the combine for me. Cooper is still No. 1 and the more I watch, the more obvious it is he’s top guy. Overall, it’s a very deep group. Not on par with 2014, but still tons of depth and something for everyone.
1. Amari Cooper| Alabama | 6-1, 211, 4.42
Such a smooth athlete. Gets up to top speed instantly and maintains it in and out of breaks. Best route runner in the class and gets open at will. Somehow a 4.42 40-yard time doesn’t get much attention anymore, but the dude is fast vertically and laterally. Big, natural hands. Not the long, big-framed type of receiver that is trending throughout the league, but should be a starter from day one in training camp and could be insanely productive if paired with a good QB in a precision passing game, ala Reggie Wayne. Extremely high floor. Top 10.
2. Kevin White | West Virginia | 6-3, 215, 4.35
A power player that is a deep threat who can out-muscle defenders for the ball. Saw double and triple coverage at times and still came down with his fare share of passes when they forced it to him. Also strong after the catch. Although explosive, White is a little tightly wound and doesn’t play quite as fast as his 4.35 40 would indicate. Needs work on intermediate routes and was used mostly on hitches, crossers, fades and comebacks. Good blocker, giving effort and utilizing strength advantage over cornerbacks. Like Sammy Watkins in 2014, the upside is obvious, but might need some time to fully develop his game. Top 15.
3. Dorial Green-Beckham | Oklahoma | 6-5, 237, 4.49
Freaky specimen with 4.49 speed paired with surprising wiggle and body control in a monstrous frame. Eats up cushion quickly. Can be un-defendable at times due to “above the rim” basketball-type athleticism. Can make big plays after the catch too, especially on routes where he can catch it on the run. Was still very raw in 2013 and sat out 2014 due to off-field issues after getting booted from Missouri. Those character questions might keep DGB out of the 1st round, even though he has top-10 talent. Should have value as a deep threat and redzone weapon while developing the rest of his game. Might get asked to actually lose a few pounds by an NFL team to maximize his athleticism. I expected better leap numbers in workouts. Just a hunch, but he might have spent a lot more time lifting than running during his year off. Much of his stock will depend on things most of us aren’t privileged to know, like how he worked at Oklahoma practices, interviews with teams and results from background investigations. 1st round.
4. Devante Parker | Louisville | 6-2, 209, 4.45
I’m not as high on Parker as some evaluators that have him in the top 10. What I do like is his catch radius with an 80-inch wingspan, 4.45 speed and natural hands. Parker’s speed is more of the build-up variety with long deer-like strides, but he can put pressure on defenses deep and use his length to pluck the ball over coverage. He really needs to get stronger and that could be a problem at the next level both getting off press coverage and winning contested balls. No value as a blocker. Shows some quick feet off the line, but takes too many steps to get out of his breaks once he’s moving. Better on slants/posts/fades than sharper breaking routes. 1st round.
5. Breshad Perriman | UCF | 6-2, 212, 4.27
Perriman settles in at No. 5 after a monster pro day where reportedly ran 4.2s. Not totally surprising, even though that is blazing. He is an interesting case. It’s possible scouts are double-counting his speed. What I mean is, you rate him as fast on tape and give a grade. Then, after he runs, you bump him up based on a fast 40 time, even though you had already calculated speed into the equation before the workout. I may be guilty as well, bumping him up half-a-round since his pro day. After the combine I wrote:
Looks like an explosive athlete on tape with very good speed and change-of-direction for his size (6-2, 212). Didn’t work out at combine, though, which is a shame, because he might have helped himself by posting really good numbers. Perriman’s pro day will be important for confirming the athleticism you see on the field (like here, running by combine darling CB Byron Jones).
That he did. Plays with toughness and gives effort as a blocker. Does not always display natural hands. Lets balls get into his body, leading to drops, and will double-catch. Perriman is a tough player to evaluate due to lack of top competition and poor QB play last season. Although he did have Blake Bortles throwing to him in 2013. Some are touting Perriman as a top 15 pick, but I can’t get on board with that. Doesn’t look instinctive on the field, but the upside is obvious. A bit of a project with boom or bust potential. 1st-2nd round.
6. Jaelen Strong | Arizona State | 6-2, 217, 4.44
Another player that ran faster at the combine than he looks on tape. Doesn’t really run by guys or create a ton a separation in his routes. Would like to see Strong attack the ball in the air more, since contested balls have been his bread and butter. Sometimes plays more like a small forward than a power forward. His size and strength are obvious, so it’s more of an attitude thing. Should develop into a starter, but I see more of a WR2 in the NFL. 2nd round.
7. Devin Smith | Ohio State | 6-0, 196, 4.42
Smith might be the best vertical threat in this draft class due to his speed and toughness at the catch-point. Competitive player, who plays bigger than his average size. Ran a 4.42 40 at the combine and had one of the best 10-yard splits at 1.56. Effortlessly tracks the deep ball over his shoulder. Performed well in explosion drills too, with a 39-inch vertical and 10-foot-2-inch broad jump. Will need work on short-to-intermediate routes and beating press coverage, but is a big play waiting to happen as witnessed by his 28.2 yards per catch at Ohio State. 2nd round.
8. Phillip Dorsett | Miami | 5-9, 185, 4.33
Dorsett’s blazing speed and easy athleticism are obvious. Not just fast, but shows quickness out of his breaks as a route runner and could be a better pro than collegian. Not going to break any tackles or win a ton of jump balls and needs some space to really flourish. Natural hands. Lined up both outside and in slot at Miami. The big question, like most small WRs — can Dorsett handle physical press coverage at the next level and be more than just a gadget player? 2nd round.
9. Nelson Agholor | USC | 6-0, 198, 4.42
Agholor is a lean, speedy playmaker, who unlike most of the guys above him on this list, has value as a return man. He filled in nicely when Marqise Lee was hurt in 2013. Had a rough start to 2014, but finished strong and made a ton of big plays down the stretch. I see him as more of a No. 2 or 3 slot receiver that can excel on special teams. Good route runner. Not sure if he plays physical enough to compete outside and be a chain-mover in the NFL. The team that drafts Agholor will make a big difference on his productivity. Should be a solid complimentary player and punt returner for a long time, but could excel like Randall Cobb if he were put in the right situation. 2nd round.
10. Rashad Greene | Florida State | 5-11, 182, 4.53
Greene’s obvious flaw is a lack of prototype size. Plays faster than his 4.53 40 time. Wins with quickness and slick routes. Natural hands catcher. Shows toughness to go over the middle and isn’t afraid to mix it up as a blocker. Might always struggle with stronger defenders at line of scrimmage and at catch-point. Was a better player at Florida State than former teammate and 2014 first round pick, Kelvin Benjamin. Someone could get a steal on the third day. Should flourish as a slot receiver in an offense that spreads it out, but he can play outside as well. 3rd round.
11. Chris Conley | Georgia | 6-2, 213, 4.35
Conley was the victim of a rudimentary passing game at Georgia, so you’re banking on a lot of projection. But it’s probably worth a pretty high pick just to find out if his absurd tools can be molded by pro coaches. Looks like he’s shot out of a cannon at time with initial burst and top speed. Solid hands-catcher. Produced when his number was called. Doesn’t have much wiggle after the catch or as a route runner. Boom or bust project. 3rd-4th round.
12. Sammie Coates | Auburn | 6-1, 212, 4.43
A frustrating player to grade. Similar to Breshad Perriman, Coates displays explosive athleticism, but leaves you wanting more as a pass-catcher. He put on a show in Indy with a 4.43 40, 1.55 10-yard split, 41-inch vert and 23 bench press reps. Some team will probably fall in love with his measurables and take him very high, but his lack of natural ball skills and instincts put him in the 3rd or 4th round for me as a high ceiling, low floor prospect.
13. Devin Funchess | Michigan | 6-4, 232, 4.70
Classic tweener. Oversized wide receiver, who isn’t athletic enough to separate versus NFL cornerbacks and lacks the toughness as a blocker to move inside to tight end. Hands are inconsistent, but he shows ability to go up and get the ball, so he does have value in the redzone with his length (33.5 inch arm length, 38.5 inch vertical jump). Doesn’t have the natural playmaking ability of other recent big WR’s like Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin and DGB. Could make a for an intriguing “move” tight end with added strength, weight and physicality. That is a lot of “if’s”. 4th round.
13. Tyler Lockett | Kansas State | 5-10, 182, 4.40
An undersized playmaker with supreme quickness and long speed. Not only small, but weak and will struggle vs press coverage or in contested ball situations. Good route runner. Easily plucks the ball out of the air, but has some concentration drops when trying to run before securing the football. Can be productive out of the slot in the NFL and is an explosive return man. 4th round.
15. Tre McBride | William & Mary | 6-0, 210, 4.41
McBride lined up outside, in the slot and returned kicks for William & Mary. A well-built athlete with vertical speed and burst, though he’s a little stiff laterally. Strong player and willing blocker. Has enough physical ability to eventually become a starter in the NFL, but still very raw, so could take some time. 4th round.
16. Justin Hardy | East Carolina | 5-10, 192, 4.56
Extremely productive player in college that projects as a slot receiver. Not flashy or super fast, but owns all the traits necessary to continue being a valuable football player at the next level. Natural hands and feel for the position. Doesn’t wow athletically. Got open at will versus American Athletic Conference competition. Tough for his size and is a willing blocker. Works to gain yards after the catch and has value as return man. One of those players that will likely out-produce some workout warriors that are selected ahead of him. 4th round.
17. Antwan Goodley | Baylor | 5-10, 209, 4.44
Built like a running back and plays like one with the ball in his hands. Played in a funky spread scheme at Baylor. Has vertical speed, strength and toughness. Good hands for the most part. Might take some time to work his way into a pro-style offense, and has a lot of what you look for aside from length. 5th round.
18. DeAndre Smelter | Georgia Tech | 6-2, 222, 4.55e
A big receiver that tore his ACL at the end of Georgia Tech’s regular season, thus has been unable to workout pre-draft. Has good size, hands and strength. Gives effort as a blocker. Raw as a route runner and was in a run-heavy offense. Gets great reports on character and work ethic. A lot to work with, but a lot of unknowns as well. 5th-6th round
19. Vince Mayle | Washington State | 6-2, 224, 4.67
Possession receiver with natural hands and enough movement skills to get open, but lacks gear to get vertical. 6th round.
20. Kenny Bell | Nebraska | 6-1, 197, 4.42
Bell is a thin-framed, competitive player with deep speed and good hands. Shows some quicks and short area burst to get open on short routes. Easily bumped off his routes by press corners and not strong. Gives effort as a blocker despite lack of size and strength. Underutilized at Nebraska. 6th round.
21. Ty Montgomery | Stanford | 6-0, 221, 4.55
Montgomery had a disappointing 2014 season and looks like a poor route runner with poor hands and running back build. Powerful and tightly wound athlete. Will have to earn a roster spot as a kick returner. 6th round.
22. Stefon Diggs | Maryland | 6-0, 195, 4.46
Speedy receiver with return ability. Very thin frame and has dealt with injuries throughout career. Can stretch a defense vertically, but isn’t a jitterbug underneath, which might limit his utility. 6-7th round.
23. Jamison Crowder | Duke | 5-8, 185, 4.56
Small, productive receiver with very good initial quickness and lateral agility, but average long speed. Solid hands. Will get a chance to compete for a roster spot and is competitive enough to stick. 6th-7th round.
24. Dezmin Lewis | Central Arkansas | 6-4, 214, 4.58
Tall, lanky small school wide out. Good size and athleticism, but not enough to get excited about from a player at Central Arkansas. High-points the ball well, using length. Could make a roster. 6th-7th round