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2013 DRAFT PREVIEW: WRs

Overview:  Wide receiver has pretty consistently been one of the deepest positions at the draft in recent years and that could ver well be the case again in 2013 as there is plenty of potential talent at the position. At the same time, though, it appears likely that there may still be an inordinate amount of sorting out to do among this year's WR crop. For starters, most of this year's top WR prospects are underclassmen who may or may not enter the upcoming draft. As well, there is still a querstion or two that just about every leading WR prospect for the 2013 draft has to answer between now and April. Southern California junior Robert Woods, who caught 111 passes in a breakout season last fall, for example, is a top 5 candidate for next year; however, while he's as slippery as an eel, he isn't all that big or physical and is coming of a heel injury that required surgery last December and was slow to heal this year. Woods also has a battle on his hands to prove that he is not only the bet receiver in the country, but the best in the state as California junior Keenan Allen was just as productive last fall hauling in 98 passes for over 1,300 yards despite very inconsistent play at QB. In fact, Allen is bigger than Woods, but needs to show scouts that he has the explosion to warrant a top 5-10 selection. In fact, The most physically intriguing player in this year's WR crop is Tennessee junior Justin Hunter, an athletic freak with elite size and speed who can jump through the roof, however, he's coming off a torn ACL suffered early last season, plus he has never been that productive as a receiver to date. If healthy, Hunter was expected to combine with fellow junior WR Da'rick Rogers, another big-play threat with his own first-round potential, to give the Vols a dynamic set of wideouts, however, the latter was suspended indefintely and likely won't play again for the program, reportedly for failing multiple drug tests. That's another red flag for a guy who was already going to have to explain to pro teams what all those rumors about a possible transfer to D1AA last spring were all about. Meanwhile, the top senior WR prospect, and the only graduating wideout with first-round potential this year, is Arkansas' Cobi Hamilton, another big-play threat with good size and speed, however, he's been a complimentary receiver throughout his career to date and has to show he can carry the load as the Hogs' go-to guy this fall.

There could also be something of a drop-off to the second level of WRs at this year's draft as it does not appear that there will be the same kind of depth that has characterized the position in recent years.  One exception, though, could be Washington State junior Marquess Wilson, yet another very productive Pac-12 receiver who had 82 catches for over 1,400 yards last fall, although he likely lacks the pure foot speed to make it into the opening round. At the same time, West Virginia's Tavon Austin, who brings plenty of speed to the table, although he's not all that big, and Elon's Aaron Melette, one of the top small-school prospects in this year's draft, both had over 100 receptions last fall, while Ryan Swope of Texas A&M, Dan Buckner of Arizona, Baylor's Terrence Williams, and Tavarres King of Georgia are solid veteran receivers.

Top 20 WR Prospects
#
Player
H/W
School
CL
#
Player
H/W
School
CL
1
Robrt Woods 6-0, 185 Southern California JR
11
Ryan Swope 5-11, 210 Texas A&M SR
2
Keenan Allen 6-2, 210 Calfifornia JR
12
Tavarres King 6-0, 195 Georgia SR
3
Justin Hunter 6-3, 205 Tennessee JR
13
Dan Buckner 6-3, 215 Arizona SR
4
Cobi Hamilton 6-3, 210 Arkansas SR
14
Nicolas Edwards 6-1, 200 Eastern Washington SR
5
Marquess Wilson 6-2, 190 Washington State JR
15
Devin Street 6-3, 190  Pittsburgh JR
6
Da'rick Rogers 6-2, 210 x-Tennessee JR
16
Emory Blake 6-1, 200 Auburn SR
7
Tavon Austin 5-9, 175
West Virginia SR
17
Keenan Davis 6-2, 215 Iowa SR
8
Aaron Melette 6-3, 215 Elon SR
18
Aaron Dobson 6-2, 205 Marshall SR
9
Terrence Williams 6-2, 205 Baylor SR
19
Markus Wheaton 5-11, 180 Oregon State SR
10
Kenny Stills 6-0, 190 Oklahoma JR
20
Roy Roundtree 5-11, 180 Michigan SR

Sleeper file: Hard to describe as a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate as a sleeper, but that may be the case for star Michigan dual-threat QB Denard Robinson, who just doesn't throw anywhere near well enough to be considered a prospect at QB. However, Robinson is also just too good an athlete not to get some serious looks by the pros as either a RB or receiver. Same story for Minnesota QB MarQueis Gray, who is actually built more like a TE at 6-4, 245, but runs well enough to play wideout; in fact, he did play some at WR in 2010 when he caught 27 passes, although like Robinson he will be raw and polished when he gets to the pros. Theere are also a number of small-school receivers destined to get more than quick looks from the pros this including Elon's Aaron Melette, who is considered a legitimate second-day prospect. Nicoals Edwards of Eastern Michigan, Tyrone Gourd of Eastern Kentucky, Norfolk State's Xavier Boyce, and Rod Rumble of Idaho State, for example, should get some serious later-round consideration, while Lehigh's Ryan Spadola, Tyrone Walker of Illinois State, Quentin Sims of Tennessee-Martin, Eastern Washington's Greg Herd, and Eddie Poole of Bethune-Cookman among others should at least get long looks as potential free agents. Meanwhile, one of the upcoming draft's better feel-good stories undoubtably will be the return to health of Nevada WR Brandon Wimberly, who will be back in uniform this all after he did not play at all last year after being shot in the stomach. 

Future file:
He has yet to play a down of college football, but given their druthers, the receiver most NFL would want is 6-6 Dorial Green-Beckham, a true freshman who opted to stay close to home and play at Missuori. Green-Beckham, who put up truly amazing numbers in high school including 119 receptions for over 2,200 yards as a senior, was the consensus #1 recruit at any position this year. However, he won't be eligible for the NFL draft until 2015. DGB, though, could get an argument from Clemson sophomore Sammy Watkins who would also get a lot of votes from NFL teams, especially if he didn't have a few off-field red flags waving about. Meanwhile, true freshman Tey Metoyer may already be the best WR at Oklahoma. At the same time, other top sophomore receivers include Marquise Lee and George Farmer of Southern Cal, Odell Beckham of LSU, Northwestern's Kyle Prater, Davaris Daniels of Notre Dame, Quinton Dunbar of Florida,  and Deon Long of New Mexico, while Maurice Hurst of California and Colorado's Nelson Spruce are intriguing redshirt freshmen to watch.

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