This is such a deep crop of wide receivers in 2014 and a team can find playmakers even late in the draft. What I like about this class is the explosiveness that I see, beneficial to passing league the NFL has become.
1. SAMMY WATKINS (CLEMSON) 6-1/211
Sammy Watkins is at the top of the class because of pure acceleration, speed, and strong hands. You rarely see him drop a ball because his hands have excellent reaction time. Offensive coordinators just need to get him the ball whether using the screen game, sweeps, from the slot, or stretching the secondary with the deep routes. He can line up anywhere on the field and gets off the press with quick releases. Watkins is not a diva who whines for the ball; he is a lunch pail guy who isn’t too lazy to block and never takes plays off.
2. MIKE EVANS (TEXAS A&M) 6-5/231
Mike Evans is a wide out with the size of a tight end. This is the player you throw a jump ball to with the game on the line. He reminds me of Vincent Jackson in the way he uses his body to post up defenders and bring in the rock. Most of the routes I saw on film were quick slants, hitches, fades and comebacks. With more experience in an NFL offense, his routes will be polished and the upside on Evans is high.
3. BRANDIN COOKS (OREGON STATE) 5-10/189
I was very close to ranking Cooks as my number two receiver prospect. I truly believe if he was over 6’2, scouts would argue that he is the best wide receiver in this class. Like Watkins, he can line up in the slot and on the outside and separate from defensive backs consistently. Cooks can take a screen to the house but not just with pure speed but his ability to break tackles helps his game. Then again, he can take the top off the defense with the deep ball. Most likely a team in the late first round will scoop him up, pairing him with a productive quarterback.
4. MARQISE LEE (USC) 6-0/192
Even with leg injuries in 2013, Marqise Lee showed why he has been talked about as one of the top players at the receiver position since his freshman year. He ran crisp routes out of a pro-style offense and expresses great confidence in his hands. Clutch player that the quarterback can go to in pressure situations. Love how he runs the slant and how he shifts into second gear after the catch. Marqise Lee’s number won’t last through the first round.
5. DAVANTE ADAMS (FRESNO STATE) 6-1/212
This kid can jump through the roof and go get the football. Get the rock in his hands and watch him make plays. Adams is explosive and slippery after the catch. He’s reliable in the red zone and that is music to the quarterback’s ears. Played in a prolific passing attack at Fresno State which did inflate his numbers but it’s still impressive that he led the nation in 2013 with 131 receptions. Definite top-50 pick with a high ceiling.