Athlon gets the fans ready for the NFL draft with position by position rankings for 2013.
Each year a unique set of wide receiver prospects enters the professional ranks with a chance to make an immediate impact on the country's most powerful sport. The 2013 NFL Draft, held April 25-27, won’t be any different. This group will feature freaks of nature who need to polish their game. It has lightning quick jitter-bugs who will dominate the open field from the slot position. And it has elite, big-framed, down-the-field vertical threats as well. Whatever offense your favorite team runs, there is a wide receiver in this draft for you.
Measurables: Height, Weight, 40-time, vertical
1. Keenan Allen, Cal (Jr.)
Measurables: 6-2, 206, N/A
Final Stats: 205 rec., 2,570 yds, 17 TD, 30 att., 258 yds, 2 TD, 658 ret. yds, TD
The Greensboro, N.C., native is a freak athlete. He has elite size, elite speed, elite jumping ability and elite after-the-catch skills. He is good on the outside stretching the field vertically. He is good over the middle in traffic. And he can be used in the return game as well as in the running game. He is a complete player who produced big numbers at Cal despite the wildly inconsistent and sub-par quarterback play. He is a superior athlete who stood out in a conference loaded with big-time playmakers at wide receiver. He has dealt with smaller ankle and knee issues, the later keeping him from working out at the combine.
2. Robert Woods, USC (Jr.)
Measurables: 6-0, 201, 4.51, 33.5"
Final Stats: 252 rec., 2,930 yds, 32 TD, 14 att., 142 yds, 1,547 ret. yds, TD
Woods was the Athlon Sports High School Senior of the Year at Junipero Serra High School in SoCal. All he did in his first two seasons at USC was set the single-season Pac-12 record for receptions with 111 in 2011. He then went on to pass Dwayne Jarrett as the school's all-time leader in catches and also set a school record with four TD catches against Colorado. He is an electric athlete with elite burst who can be used in all phases of the passing game and could be a major contributor on special teams as well (1,364 kick return yards in 2010-11). He has tremendous hands, fluid route-running skills and is dynamic with the ball in his hands after the catch.
3. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee (Jr.)
Measurables: 6-2, 216, 4.42, 37.0"
Final Stats: 46 rec., 778 yds, 5 TD, 25 att., 308 yds, 3 TD, 772 ret. yds, 2 TD
The fast riser demonstrated quickly at Tennessee that he is a freakish athlete with loads of big-play potential. He was used in the rushing game with great effectiveness and was a special teams dynamo as well. He has prototypical size and speed for the next level and has wowed scouts with his raw athleticism. However, he had to go the junior college route for a reason and still has a long ways to go to refine his overall skills as a wide receiver. He only has one major season of college football under his belt, but his athletic ability was painfully obvious on Saturdays. He is a project but will pay dividends quick enough.
4. Tavon Austin, West Virginia (Sr.)
Measurables: 5-8, 174, 4.34, 32.0"
Final Stats: 288 rec., 3,413 yds, 29 TD, 109 att., 1,031 yds, 6 TD, 2,840 ret. yds, 5 TD
Speedy, fluid, explosive, versatile, agile. These are the things a team will get in the massively productive WVU wideout. He is very undersized but makes up for it with toughness and the ability to contribute to all aspects of an offense. He can run the ball, is right at home in the slot, will return kicks and punts and does it as one of the better leaders in the huddle. He will get knocked for his size come draft day, but in the modern NFL era where speed in space kills, Austin is the best in this class.
5. Justin Hunter, Tennessee (Jr.)
Measurables: 6-4, 196, 4.44, 39.5"
Final Stats: 106 rec., 1,812 yds, 18 TD
The bio on Hunter is well known. He was a big-time recruit out of the talent-rich Virginia Beach area. He posted a big freshman year and was dominating opponents until a torn ACL in Week 3 against Florida ruined his sophomore year. He has an NFL-ready frame (think A.J. Green) that is long and rangy. He has tremendous straight-line speed and overall athleticism (as his 40 and vertical numbers indicate) but scouts will wonder if his explosiveness in the short spaces has returned after the injury. He posted adequate numbers as a senior but, at times, appeared to be playing conservatively and with his injury in mind. Proving his toughness and dependability will be his biggest hurdles.
6. Terrance Williams, Baylor (Sr.)
Measurables: 6-2, 208, 4.52, 32.5"
Final Stats: 201 rec., 3,294 yds, 27 TD, 979 ret. yds
This Waco product has had the benefit of playing with elite quarterbacks and fellow wide receivers, but has been productive on his own as well. Williams proved his worth after both Robert Griffin III and Kendall Wright departed and he still produced his best season (97 rec., 1,832 yds, 12 TD). He has a great frame with excellent size and strength. He has excellent straight-line speed that makes him a tremendous deep threat. When it comes to short space agility or burst, however, he will not be as rated as highly as some of the more dynamic players in this class. He is a well-rounded, quality football player who will be a factor on Sundays for years to come.
7. DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson (Jr.)
Measurables: 6-1, 214, 4.57, 36.0"
Final Stats: 206 rec., 3,020 yds, 27 TD
Teammate Sammy Watkins is the better overall player but Hopkins was remarkable while Watkins missed a fair number of games over the last two seasons. He broke multiple Clemson and ACC receiving records in 2012 and has the overall size and talent to be a big-time producer on Sundays. He may not be elite at any one thing, but he does everything an NFL wideout needs to do well. He is not a special teams return man and won't be used in the slot or on trick plays in the backfield. He might be the purest outside wide receiver in the class.
8. Stedman Bailey, West Virginia (Jr.)
Measurables: 5-10, 193, 4.52, 34.5"
Final Stats: 210 rec., 3,218 yds, 41 TD, 2 att., 13 yds, 213 ret. yds
This Mountaineer doesn't do any one thing in elite fashion, however, his production cannot be ignored. He is undersized and produced decent numbers at the combine but nothing stands out. Except, of course, his 37 receiving touchdowns over the last two seasons. His final season in Morgantown was epic — 114 rec., 1,622 yards, 25 TDs — but he will need to prove those numbers weren't a product of the system and/or playing alongside the more gifted Austin.
9. Markus Wheaton, Oregon State (Sr.)
Measurables: 5-11, 189, 4.45, 37.0
Final Stats: 227 rec., 2,994 yds, 16 TD, 83 att., 631 yds, 5 TD
There is a lot to like about the former Beavers wideout. He is small but compact and extremely strong — he posted 20 reps at 225 pounds at the combine. He is extremely versatile as well, as he could be used in the running game or on special teams if needed. He is a prototypical slot receiver and has the toughness to survive in the close quarters of the NFL. Wheaton was a very underrated player nationally in college due to playing in Corvallis.
10. Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech (Sr.)
Measurables: 6-0, 204, 4.53, 33.0"
Final Stats: 183 rec., 2,594 yds, 24 TD
Potential first-round pick Johnathan Banks from Mississippi State had to cover Patton in 2011 and has stated he was the best receiver he ever faced. The former junior college transfer put together two massive seasons for the Bulldogs. He has adequate size, tremendous heart and excellent quickness. Certainly, his level of competition wasn't ideal in the WAC, but Patton proved he belongs on the next level with huge games against top teams — try 21 receptions for 233 yards and four touchdowns against Johnny Heisman and Texas A&M back in October.
11. Da’Rick Rogers, Tennessee Tech (Jr.)
Measurables: 6-2, 217, 4.52, 39.5"
Final Stats: 139 rec., 2,100 yds, 21 TD, 20 att., 120 yds, TD, 411 ret. yds, TD (Tennessee 2010-11, Tennessee Tech 2012)
This prospect has elite physical skills and upside. He is big, physical, strong, explosive and difficult to cover in any offensive scheme. However, he held the Tennessee locker room hostage multiple times with selfish play, immature decisions off of the field and an overall lack of commitment to the game. If he matures, he will last a while in the NFL, otherwise, he is a total head case that screams Charles Rogers or Braylon Edwards.
12. Ryan Swope, Texas A&M (Sr.)
Measurables: 6-0, 205, 4.34, 37.0"
Final Stats: 252 rec., 3,117 yds, 24 TD
There are no weaknesses in Swope's game. He posted elite speed and athletic numbers at the combine. He was productive with three separate quarterbacks in three consecutive seasons. And he had a tendency to make huge plays in key moments — just pop in the tape of last season's Texas A&M-Alabama game. He opened eyes at the combine and he won't be a sleeper in the draft process any longer. He is gritty, tough-nosed and dependable.
13. Kenny Stills, Oklahoma (Jr.)
Measurables: 6-0, 194, 4.38, 33.5"
Final Stats: 204 rec., 2,594 yds, 24 TD
He never really seemed to realize his full potential on the college gridiron but his talent is obvious. He doesn't have a large frame but is well-built for his size and plays bigger. He played in a wideout-friendly system with a tenured and experienced quarterback. He posted elite speed numbers at the combine and could develop into a much better NFL player than he was in college. Stills, a football legacy, has tons of upside.
14. Josh Boyce, TCU (Jr.)
Measurables: 5-11, 206, 4.38, 34.0"
Final Stats: 161 rec., 2,535 yds, 22 TD
When it comes to deep, vertical threats in this class, few players have as much upside as Boyce. He made big plays in key situations, even though his overall numbers took a hit following starting quarterback Casey Pachall;s dimissal from the team last season. His raw speed and strength will play in the NFL.
15. Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas (Sr.)
Measurables: 6-2, 212, 4.56, 29.5"
Final Stats: 175 rec., 2,854 yds, 18 TD
The Hogs wideout has prototypical NFL size and strength. Two seasons ago, he was overshadowed by a trio of NFL wideouts who got drafted in the 2012 draft but a 303-yard performance against Rutgers this fall proved he is deserving of a Sunday roster spot. He has all the tools needed to be a solid No. 2 wideout on the next level but might lack the overall physical talents to be a No. 1.
16. Denard Robinson, Michigan (Sr.)
Measurables: 5-10, 199, 4.43, 36.5"
Final Stats: 6,250 pass yds, 49 TD, 39 INT, 723 att., 4,495 yds, 42 TD
Dynamic converted QB with elite speed, agility and versatility.
17. Marquess Wilson, Washington State (Jr.)
Measurables: 6-3, 194, 4.51, 34.5"
Final Stats: 189 rec., 3,207 yds, 23 TD
Great size and huge production. Needs to prove he can stay focused and committed.
18. Aaron Dobson, Marshall (Sr.)
Measurables: 6-3, 210, N/A
Final Stats: 165 rec., 2,398 yds, 24 TD
Brings excellent size and red zone ability. Overall production, level of competition aren’t elite.
19. Marquise Goodwin, Texas (Sr.)
Measurables: 5-9, 183, 4.27
Final Stats: 120 rec., 1,364 yds, 7 TD, 46 att., 405 yds, 3 TD, 1,007 ret. yds, TD
Track-star, Olympic speed and versatility. Very unpolished football player.
20. Marcus Davis, Virginia Tech (Sr.)
Measurables: 6-3, 233, 4.56, 39.5"
Final Stats: 105 rec., 1,827 yds, 13 TD
Freakish size and speed combination, but never really delivered on potential in Blacksburg.
Other names to watch:
21. Ace Sanders, South Carolina (5-7, 173)
22. Tavarres King, Georgia (6-1, 200)
23. Rodney Smith, Florida State (6-5, 215)
24. Dan Buckner, Arizona (6-4, 215)
25. Chris Harper, Kansas State (6-1, 230)
26. Brandon Kauffman, Eastern Washington (6-5, 215)
27. Aaron Mellette, Elon (6-2, 217)
28. Mark Harrison, Rutgers (6-3, 231)
29. Darius Johnson, SMU (5-9, 180)
30. Conner Vernon, Duke (6-2, 195)
2013 NFL Draft Positional Rankings:
NFL Draft Rankings 2013: Quarterbacks
NFL Draft Rankings 2013: Running Backs
NFL Draft Rankings 2013: Wide Receivers
NFL Draft Rankings 2013: Tight Ends
NFL Draft Rankings 2013: Offensive Tackles
NFL Draft Rankings 2013: Guards and Centers