NEWS AND INFORMATION ON THE NFL DRAFT
2015 DRAFT PREVIEW: WRs
Overview: WR was a position of choice early at the 2014 draft with 5 receivers going in the opening round, including Clemson's Sammie Watkins and Texas A&M's Mike Evans who went 4th and 7th overall respectively to Buffalo and Tampa Bay. In addition, another 7 WRs were selected in the second round making it an even dozen receivers selected in the first two rounds, the most ever for the position in the opening two rounds.
And the position will be very deep again at the 2015 draft, however, it doesn't appear that the position won't have quite the elite talent in 2015 as this past May. In fact, it does not appear at this time that there are any true 'can't miss' type top 5-10 WR prospects for the upcoming draft. Alabama junior Amari Cooper, for example, is the consensus top candidate at the position with good size, excellent hands and a solid understanding of the position, but Tide star is still more a mid-first round prospect who still has to prove that he has that extra gear to go along to become a legitimate elite prospect. Meanwhile, there are as many as a half dozen other receivers with the skill set to work their way into the latter half of the opening round including juniors Nelson Agholor of USC, 6-3 Jaelen Strong of Arizona State and Maryland's Stefon Diggs, along with seniors Rashad Greene of Florida State, Davante Parker of Louisville, Antwan Goodley of Baylor and Stanford's Ty Montgomery.
The WR position could also have more than its share of storylines come the 2015 draft starting with enigmatic Oklahoma junior Dorial Beckham-Green. In fact, in a perfect world, DGB would be in the running to be one of the first players off the board this spring as the athletic 6-5, 225-pounder is a mismatch waiting to happen. However, the world has been anything but perfect for Beckham-Green, who was considered to be the #1 recuit in the country when he signed with Missouri two years ago, but has made as many headlines for his off-field antics as for his play on the field. In particular, Beckham-Green was arrested twice for drug offenses and then got booted fro the Missouri program this winter after he was allegedly involved in a domestic assault incident. Because he was never actually charged, Beckham-Green is still hopeful of gaining immediate eligibility at OU this fall. Meanwhile, Michigan's Devin Funchess, who came to the Wolverines as a top-rated, pass-catching TE, is now a full-time WR, who at 6-4, 230 presents his own unique physical match-up problems. Then there is Austin Hill of Arizona, who looked like a potential elite prospect for the 2014 draft when he had 81 passes for almost 1,400 yards in a breakout 2012 season, but didn'tplay last year after tearing an ACL.
As noted, there is also some impressive potential depth to this year's WR class. The proof may be in the players who didn't make the top 20 list of receivers below. Indeed, players who just failed to make the list include Christion Jones of Alabama, Texas' Jaxson Shipley, Nick Harwell of Kansas, Levi Norwood of Baylor, and Dres Andreson of Utah. Meanwhile, other juniors who could impact the early rounds of the 2015 draft if they were to declare for the upcoming draft include Malcolm Mitchell of Georgia, Davaris Daniels of Notre Dame, North Carolina's Quinshad Davis, Chris Harper of California, Washington's Gabe Marks, Breshad Perriman of Central Florida, and Jordan Williams of Ball State. UGA's Mitchell, one of the better all-around athletes in college football, is particualrly intriguing, but still isn't 100% after tearing an ACL in the Bulldawgs' opener last fall. And while its unlikely that any junior college receiver goes directly to the pros after one year of big-time college football, if any does it could be Auburn's D'haquille Williams, whom at least one recruiting service graded as the top JUCO pickup at any position.
Top 20 WR Prospects
Sleeper file: The MAC made some unexpcted ripples at the past two drafts as the conference had a top 5 pick in each year. That likely won't happen again this fall, but if nothing else Central Michigan WR Titus Davis may be the best receiver in the country no one has heard of. Davis is a 6-1, 190-pound three-year starter with big-play ability; indeed, he leads all active FBS receivers with an 18.9-yard average per catch, while his total career receiving yards (2,720) are second among all returning WR. For the record, Davis had 61 receptions in 2013 for just over 1,100 yards and 8 scores. Meanwhile, there are also a number of very productive receivers at the FCS level including Sam Ajala of Fordham, Adam Drake of Eastern Illinois, Willie Downs of Valdosta State, R.J. Harris of New Hampshire, Zezmin Lewis of Central Arkansas, Jake Kumerow of Wisconsin-Whitewate and Tre McBride of William&Mary, although none is considered to be more than a late-round or free-agent candidate.
Future file: There are some very good young receivers around the country, however, pro scouts are stillwaiting for one or more to really establish themselves as true elite prospects along the lines of a Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans. Top true sophomore WRs include LaQuon Treadwell of Mississippi, Pittsburgh's Tyler Boyd, Marquez North of Tennessee, 6-5 Corey Robinson of Notre Dame and Ryan Switzer of North Carolina who returned a record 5 punts for TDs last fall. And while its a long way from Eastern Washington to the pro, EU sophomore WR Cooper Kupp put up some unreal umbers last fall when he had 93 receptions for almost 1,700 yards and 21 TDs. The 6-2, 195-pound Kupp has also got some early NFL training as he has been a regular participant at the Manning Passing Academy the past few years as his grandfather is a one-time teammate of Archie Manning. Meanwhile, Texas A&M's Ricky Seals-Jones is arguably the most intriguing redshirt freshman receiver in the country. The Aggies also have one of the top incoming players at the position in Speedy Noil, while other true freshman WRs to watch include Travis Rudolph and Ermon Lane of national champion Florida State, Malachi Dupree of LSU, and Josh Malone of Tennessee.
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