2015 NFL Draft: Top 7 Wide Receiver Prospects
The NFL’s Scouting Combine has taught us that Jameis Winston is the real deal, Leonard Williams is a beast, Randy Gregory is a little lighter than most teams would like and there are at least six wide receivers who have a shot at hearing their name called in the first round of the NFL Draft.
This is not an exaggeration, as players put on a clinic with size, speed and ability that could rival the wide receiver class of last season. Three of the players who were on display this past weekend could hear their names called within the first 12 picks on April 30 and all three have a legitimate shot at being No. 1 receivers in NFL offensive schemes.
Yes, they are that good. The only problem is how to rank them in some order as the scouts and teams have grades for varying areas of need. Between Amari Cooper of Alabama, Kevin White of West Virginia and Devante Parker of Louisville, there are NFL teams licking their lips at a chance to pick these players and build receiving units around them. Receiver-starved teams like Oakland, St. Louis and Cleveland have to be licking their chops.
Here is a look at the top seven receivers in this draft after their Combine performances. Information obtained came from CBSsports.com.
When I saw some draft boards had him ranked ahead of Amari Copper, I was a bit lost, then I saw the Combine and got the message. This kid is a big time talent. He is a bit taller than Cooper and faster, which gives him a slightly higher grade.
Cooper may come out of the gate producing better numbers, but over the course of a career, White will be the better player.
He reminds me of Tim Brown with better skills. That’s high praise since Brown is a Hall of Fame pass catcher.
Cooper can catch the ball everywhere across the field. He can return kicks, he can run with the football and is arguably one of the best athletes in the Draft. For now, he is a notch below White based on size and speed. That does not mean he will not be the best out of this class in five years.
So many people want to compare him to Julio Jones, who is bigger and thicker and a better overall. Cooper will be a solid No. 1 receiver for whomever drafts him.
I watched quite a bit of Parker play once he got on the field following an injury. The kid is the real deal.
How would he have done against SEC caliber secondaries?
I think he would be a great fit in St. Louis and in Cleveland.
As CBSsports.com assesses, he disguises routes well with a strong plant foot, selling his patterns with crisp footwork. Shows some shake in the open field with quick cuts to deceive after the catch and the vision to collect YAC. Tracks the football and extends well to attack with a large wingspan and natural body control with usually reliable ball skills. Above average vertical with the leaping ability to hang in the air. Deceiving body strength and not a push-over, running tough and not allowing coverage defenders to slow him down in his routes.
I love his size at 6’3” and 215 pounds with room to add some strength. He excels in getting to the second level in consistent stride.
Kansas City would be an ideal location for him.
He has smooth movement and body control to make acrobatic adjustments on the ball, using his long arms to create a large catching radius. Good leaping ability and attacks well in jump-ball situations, making highlight grabs look routine. Soft, but strong, magnet hands to finish. Outstanding feel on back shoulder throws, using his frame and focus well along the sideline. Power player and uses contact well in his routes. Physical after the catch to brush off defenders and fight for yards after initial contact.
He transferred from Missouri to Oklahoma and did not play in 2014. That speaks volumes about his ability and the fact he can play up to par with this kind of wide receiver pool.
A team like San Francisco will take a chance on him in the first round and find gold. I rank him a bit lower than most because of his time away from the game.
He is a physical leaper with high-pointing prowess to climb the ladder and play in the clouds. Uses his body beautifully in coverage to tower over defenders with an outrageous catching radius. Aggressive at the catch point with loose body control, easy adjustments and large hands to pluck with an attacking mentality.
He played tight end in college and could be a hybrid player in the NFL, much like a Jimmy Graham with slightly less talent.
I believe he is a second-round steal.
His combination of size, acceleration and body control make him a matchup nightmare, though he still drops more passes than he should. If Funchess runs in the 4.5s during workouts, it is hard to imagine him slipping out of the first round.
When you have a tall, thick receiver who can run a solid 4.4 40-yard draft, you could have a Terrell Ow He's strong enough to fight through press coverage and accelerates fluidly. Coates tracks the ball well over his shoulder and can pull away from defenders to capitalize when he has the ball. Explosive leaping ability.
He's unique in that Coates combines this speed with a muscle-packed frame that makes him every bit as likely to shove defenders to the ground as run away from them. He can extend and pluck fastballs outside of his frame and tracks the ball well over his shoulder.