In an effort to get through all of the positions before the draft goes, I’ll be just shortly naming some of the prospects to watch in this draft class, as well as some potential sleepers and maybe busts. This isn’t nearly as in depth as I’d prefer to go, but for the sake of getting them done, they’ll pretty concise.
This year’s group of Wide Receivers is a pretty impressive group as a whole, but comparing them to last year’s class may be a mistake. The 2014 class was one of the best, maybe ever. This year’s class isn’t to be taken lightly, however. Headlined by a group of 3 stars, this class could see six or more Receivers drafted in the 1st round. There are some wildcards in this class, such as Dorial Green-Beckham. DBG could easily be a top 15 selection, or he could end up slipping into the 3rd or 4th round due to his off the field concerns. At 6’5” 237 pounds, he can be a difference maker in this class, along with other big receivers such as Jaelen Strong and Devin Funchess. Expect Wide Receivers to go early and often on April 30th.
Top WR Prospect: Amari Cooper Alabama 6’1” 211 Amari Cooper was far and away the most productive receiver in the country this past season. 124 catches and 1,727 yards and 16 Touchdowns led Cooper to finish 3rd in the Heisman voting. Cooper’s value in the NFL is that he can line up everywhere; the slot, as well as on the outside. Lane Kiffin did a great job of lining Cooper up all over the field in order to create mismatches. Like many Alabama players, the fear may be that Cooper may have already reached his ceiling, however his floor is so high, that at his worst will still be good enough to be a starting slot Wide Receiver. Cooper is one of the safest picks in this draft.
Biggest Bust Potential: Kevin White West Virginia 6’3 215
Kevin White had a fantastic senior campaign for West Virginia, opening the year with a great game against Alabama. White is a big receiver who does a great job high-pointing the football and using his big frame to box out the defender from the football. While White presents intriguing upside, he’s only played one year of productive football against top competition. He also comes from a scheme that hasn’t done a great job producing pro wide outs. White could be drafted in the Top 10, which could put some incredible expectations on someone whose game might not be quite pro-ready yet.
Biggest Sleeper: Kenny Bell Nebraska 6’1” 197
Kenny Bell leaves Nebraska as their leading all-time receiver in catches, yards, and touchdowns. Bell ran a 4.42 at the combine, which validates the tape showing Bell playing with good speed. Bell plays with a special brand of physicality, likely molded through playing in Nebraska’s run-first offense. He shows more functional strength and toughness as a blocker than his bench press would indicate, with only 7 reps of 225 lbs. Bell does a good job gaining separation out of his breaks and is a pretty reliable receiver, with few drops. Bell is most likely a Day 3 selection, but he brings the type of toughness that is sought by some teams at the receiver position, such as Baltimore, Carolina, and San Francisco.
Small School Stud: Jake Kumerow UW-Whitewater 6’4” 209
Over the past three seasons, there has been no more productive or impressive Wide Receiver at the Division 3 level than Kumerow, the son of former Dolphin Eric Kumerow. Kumerow had drawn praise from Anthony Becht, the former NFL Tight End while announcing the Stagg Bowl, Division 3’s Championship Game. The former Illinois walk-on left Champaign to play at Wisconsin-Whitewater, and Kumerow was a three year starter for the Warhawks, winners of 6 National Championships in the past ten seasons. Kumerow is a big target at 6’4”, and is a fluid athlete. He’s a Day 3 prospect, but don’t be surprised if he sticks onto a roster somewhere.
My Wide Receiver Rankings:
- Amari Cooper Alabama 6’1” 211 Top 10
- DeVante Parker Louisville 6’3” 209 Top 15
- Kevin White West Virginia 6’3” 215 Top 15
- Dorial Green-Beckham Mizzou/Oklahoma 6’5” 237 Top 15
- Nelson Agholor USC 6’0” 198 1st Round
- Jaelen Strong Arizona State 6’2” 217 1st Round
- Devin Smith Ohio State 6’0” 196 1st-2nd Round
- Phillip Dorsett Miami (FL) 5’9” 185 2nd Round
- Devin Funchess Michigan 6’4” 232 2nd Round
- Breshad Perriman Central Florida 6’2” 212 2nd Round