Monday, May 5, 2014

WR Rankings

The WR position has been linked to the Eagles more than any other position group. Peter King came out today with a report that Howie Roseman has made calls to teams in the middle of the draft with interest in moving up for a receiver.

Here's my top ten receiving prospects. Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans are excluded from the list because they will be picked out of the Eagles' realistic range.

1. Odell Beckham Jr. (5-11, 198)

He's only 5-11, but Beckham has long arms, a strong build, and big hands. He's a very athletic (4.43 40 and 38.5" vertical jump) and versatile player. Beckham creates separation with sharp route running and good burst. He is a smooth mover who can turn a short pass into a huge gain. His strength is a concern (7 bench reps at Combine), and his hands can be inconsistent. Beckham was dynamic at LSU, but only recorded 12 career TDs.

2. Marquise Lee (6-0, 192)

Lee would've been a borderline top ten pick in last year's draft. His stock has fallen, but I attribute that to injuries, poor QB play, and some drops. Lee is a good athlete, and Chip Kelly has shown heavy interest in him. He can take a short slant route to the endzone. He's a polished route runner who gets open. Lee offers a high character presence in the locker room and blocks well on the field. His lean frame raises injury concerns, and his hands need to be more consistent.

3. Brandin Cooks (5-10, 189)

He was an explosive, productive receiver at Oregon State. Offers tremendous YAC, turning short gains into big chunks. He's tough and has outstanding character, a former team-captain. He has video-game moves to make people miss. He is obviously shorter than ideal, and is a very small target for the QB. He can struggle to get off the line vs. press, and doesn't offer much as a blocker.

4. Cody Latimer (6-2, 215)

He's a big, physical receiver who fights for the football. He offers good production as a blocker, and is a big target for the QB, pairing good height with long arms. Latimer has good hands and runs physical routes, creating space vs. man coverage. He silenced some critics after posting a 4.43 40 at his Pro Day, displaying good deep speed. He could become a route runner with more savvy, and has average burst and acceleration.

5. Allen Robinson (6-2, 220)

Robinson is a fluid athlete with sharp breaks in his routes. He, like Latimer, runs physical routes and seems to get open quite often. He was productive at Penn State and put on a show at his Pro Day, showing good athleticism and burst. He's has deceptive wiggle with the ball in his hands. Robinson does lack good deep speed and could become a more polished route runner. He was suspended for a small time in 2013.

6. Jordan Matthews (6-3, 212)

Matthews has good size and length, over 33" arms. He is a very coordinated athlete and managed to be consistently productive at Vanderbilt despite being the center of every defense's gameplan. He's made plays at every level of the field and offers a big target for the QB. Also creates separation with sharp route running. Matthews offers legitimate deep speed, posting a 4.46 40. He does lack burst and isn't a quick-twitch athlete. The consistency of his hands are a big concern.

7. Martavis Bryant (6-4, 211)

Bryant offers tremendous height and length. He paired a 4.42 40 with a 39" vertical jump, showing he can be a lethal deep threat. He can actually make people miss in the open field, and aggressively competes for the jump ball. He ran a limited route tree at Clemson, but displayed sharp cuts in his breaks. Bryant has a lean frame, which raises durability questions. He is a raw player with inconsistent hands. Needs to develop, but has big upside.

8. Donte Moncrief (6-2, 221)

Moncrief has a great build and lit up the Combine with great, raw athleticism. He has good deep speed and is a very good blocker. He's a smooth route runner and creates separation. He was inconsistent at Ole Miss and doesn't win jump balls like his physical traits would suggest (6-2, 39.5" vertical). He doesn't make people miss in space and doesn't play physical football. He has upside, but is not a finished product.

9. Kelvin Benjamin (6-5, 240)

I'm not high on Benjamin. He's a raw route runner with poor speed. He has physical traits that are rare, 6-5 with a gigantic wingspan. He wins jump-balls at a good rate. He's tough over the middle and is a great blocker. Benjamin won't separate and won't make people miss in space. I do think Kelly could use him as a mismatch weapon though. Not a first round talent.

10. Bruce Ellington (5-9, 197)

Ellington bursts off the line and gets up to top speed in an instant. He's a very athletic player, posting a 39.5" vertical leap. He has strong intangibles and can turn small gains into big plays. He is shorter than ideal, but does have a strong build. He doesn't run sharp routes and could be a more effective blocker.

Favorite Late-Round Target: Kevin Norwood (6-2, 198)

Norwood is tall and long, with 10" hands. Norwood runs great routes, has soft hands, and possesses deceptive deep speed (4.48 40). He has all the intangibles scouts look for in a player. He isn't the strongest receiver or the most explosive. He will also be a 25-year-old rookie. With a deep class, Norwood could drop to the later rounds, where the value is good.

Favorite UDFA Target: Jeff Janis (6-3, 219)

Janis may not go undrafted, but he's very raw in every aspect of his game, which hurts his stock. He has great size and ran a 4.42 40, showing legitimate deep speed. The big guy has good change-of-direction and plays a physical brand of football. Janis provides good value in the 7th round, and huge upside as an UDFA.

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