It seems fairly clear that most teams have either Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State), Michael Floyd (Notre Dame), and Kendall Wright (Baylor) as their top rated receiver, and regardless of who is first, they generally have all three of these talents firmly in the top 3-4 on their receiver board.
But in a receiver class that I expect to have multiple #2 and slot receivers in the NFL and could break the record for receivers drafted (current record since 1999 is 37), here are the "next five" to look at.
|Next 5 Series|
|Next 5 QBs
Next 5 RBs
The drafts best slot receiver (even above Kendall Wright in my opinion), Adams has a rare blend of elusivieness, focus, vision of levels of the defense, and decisiveness in his breaks to be an elite NFL slot receiver if he continues to progress mentally against NFL style defenses. Concerns medically (had a stroke in his past) and the lack of 1st round value for slot receivers may push him to late round two, but don't be shocked if he is a favorite for the rookie of the year award if he ends up in a playoff-caliber offense.
2. Brian Quick, Appalachian State
While Blackmon, Wright, and Floyd may be considered the best receivers, it would not shock me one bit if the raw yet super talented Brian Quick ended up as the top receiver in this class. His mix of basketball athleticism, length and frame, ball skills, in-stride post catch ability, and still developing routes with his quickness, he has all the makings of a potential feature receiver in time. Despite hailing from a "small school", Quick could sneak into late round one.
3. Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
A polarizing prospect in the draft community, Jeffery has everything you want and many things you don't in a receiver. His size-speed-athleticism combo wreaks of a Top 10 pick, and as a junior with a balanced offense, he was near dominate in the NFL prospect-loaded SEC. However, his weight control concerns, lack of consistent separation, and sometimes laziness in his junior season also worry of a potential Mike Williams (USC) type bust. Still wouldn't be shocked if he goes in late round one, but with his talent/ceiling, it's very unlikely he falls past pick 50.
4. Rueben Randle, LSU
A slowly rising prospect based on his athleticism, deep play ability, and the fact he was hidden in an atrocious passing game, Randle now seems firmly in the first round discussion. Deep play, bigger receivers are always in demand, but Randle lacks polish to be a feature receiver in route depth, and his lack of production or consistent college impact (though likely blamed on his offense) isn't something that can easily be gotten over.
5. Marvin Jones, California
Maybe the biggest winner of the post draft process, Jones has esclated himself from the number two or three option in a medicore Cal offense to a potential number two receiver and high second round pick come late April. His explosiveness, decisivness, and balance in his routes in at a near elite level, and he could thrive and compare similar to Chad Johnson (before he was OchoCinco) based on his routes alone. An ideal, seemingly safe prospect, teams could prefer Marvin over riskier receivers if they need help now (a la St. Louis, Jacksonville, Cleveland).
Others to Watch: Stephen Hill (Georgia Tech), Dwight Jones (North Carolina), T.Y. Hilton (Florida International), Mohammed Sanu (Rutgers), Juron Criner (Arizona), Devon Wylie (Fresno State)
Eric Galko is a contributing NFL scout for Patriots Insider at Scout.com.
Eric Galko is the Owner, Director of Scouting of Optimum Scouting and lead editor for OptimumScouting.com. He has been scouting college football for eight years, and for pro teams and other sports professionals for the last four years. Eric is also a member of the FWAA.
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