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2016 WR Rankings

April 23, 2016

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  1. Laquon Treadwell Ole Miss 6’2 221 Jr. He didn’t work out at the Combine and ran a mid 4.6 40 at his Pro Day. Despite being a high profile prospect, #1 WR coming out of HS, he only has 1 season with 700 yards or more receiving (2015 with 82 1,153 11 TD). He did miss 4 games in 2014 due to breaking his leg and ankle in a gruesome play. He’s a beast as a run blocker and really relishes lighting up a defender, often times resorting to borderline dirty crack back blocks. His one handed catch vs. New Mexico State might be the best highlight play I’ve seen this draft cycle. He held the ball like you do a nerf football afterwards too. He has Megatron like skills in some ways, he just lacks the speed. Treadwell isn’t a speed guy he’s a Dez Bryant clone with great strength, hands, body control and with that innate ability to high point a ball. He’s a beast after the catch as he just won’t go down.  Unfortunately Dez in college looked fast and then looked slower in the NFL whereas Treadwell already looks kind of slow in college. He has no bust potential in him as his physical game will work at some level in the pros but I do worry that he’ll be taken early and just be a good #2 WR as I really question his ability to separate. A team might settle for 800 yd 10 TD type seasons from him as he’ll surely be a weapon in the red zone and on 3rd down but he might not separate consistently enough to be a Pro Bowl caliber +1,200 yd type guy. Nonetheless I love pedigree and am leaving him as the top WR as he was the #1 WR out of HS, he played well in the best conference in the nation, he overcame a very tough injury and probably will be better next year and his size, tenacity and body control gives him a pretty low bust rate. Everyone talks about a guy’s ceiling, well this guy’s floor is pretty high. Top 15 as my #1 WR but it was closer than I expected 4/21/16.
  2. Josh Doctson TCU 6’2 202 Sr. Redshirted 1 season. 5 years removed from HS so an older prospect. He had a solid 40 (4.50) and then blew the Combine away with his explosion (‘41 vertical, 10’11 broad) and quickness (4.08 shuttle, 6.84 3 cone) drills. Doctson has a complete game as he’s fast which gives him deep threat skills, he gets good separation in his routes and he has the height and elite jumping ability to be a red zone threat or win deep jump balls (Texas game he had 2 deep jump ball completions and drew a pass interference on another one). He had 2 years with +1,000 yards and really came on in 2015 (79 1,327 14 TD) despite missing the final 3 games with a wrist injury. Doctson has a lower ceiling than Corey Coleman but is a much safer prospect as TCU has a route tree, his game is more well rounded and his 6’2 frame just looks NFL caliber. He isn’t explosive but is smooth and has NFL caliber speed. His game reminds me a little of DeAndre Hopkins, especially his impressive body control, good hands and leaping ability. He tracks ball over his shoulder effortlessly and will be a legit deep threat without 4.3 or low 4.4 speed. He is neck and neck with Treadwell as the best WR in this class and I would have no problem with a team choosing Doctson first as he’s just a well rounded, complete wideout. In the end he barely settles for second with a Top 15 grade as my #2 WR 4/22/16.
  3. Corey Coleman Baylor 5’10 ⅝ 194 Jr. Redshirted 1 season. He didn’t run but he still wowed at the Combine with a ‘40 ½ vertical and a 10’9 broad which was 3rd and 4th respectively among WRs at this year’s Combine. He’s a big play threat averaging +17 ypr each of the past two seasons and has 31 TDs (led the nation in 2015 with 20) in that span! Looks to have legit 4.4 speed on film (he ran a 4.37 40 at his pro day but I tend to add 1/10th of a second to pro day 40s so 4.47). He is short for a stud WR and Baylor’s offense is so often just 9 routes that it is hard to get a good evaluation on him. Kendall Wright and Terrance Williams both being successful in the NFL certainly reduces GMs worries as does his quick feet on some film when he is getting YAC but it still is a concern. The two best defenses he played against in 2015 (TCU and Oklahoma) were by far his two worst games statistically. He’s very much a feast or famine type player. He body catches a lot of passes which worries me. I’m a big fan of this kid as there is star potential with him but he is still pretty raw and I don’t like his height or weight. He’s a roll of the dice as there isn’t so much bust potential with him as he could settle in as a Kendall Hunter type as a #2 WR with good speed threat skills. That wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world but you don’t draft guys like that early in the 1st round. His ceiling though is as a Top 15 WR as his quickness he shows after the catch juking guys reminds me a bit of Odell Beckham. Due to this aspect of his game I’m willing to give him a pretty high ranking, likely higher than most people, as I really think he’s going to develop into a borderline Pro Bowler. Top 20 as my #3 WR 4/20/16.
  4. Will Fuller Notre Dame 6’0 ⅛ 186 Jr. He is the blazer in this year’s WR class and didn’t disappoint at the Combine with a 4.32 40. The rest of his measurables were average to above average. With Fuller the main question you have to answer is are you okay with a big play wide receiver that drops balls fairly often? If so then Fuller is your man and you will get a Ted Ginn with the Carolina Panthers in 2015 type player. If not then you should just cross Fuller off your board as I don’t see the drops going away. At the Combine his hands were a measly 8 ¼ which wasn’t just the smallest in this year’s class but one of only 4 players with sub ‘9 hands. When Fuller runs though he has that floating feel which you only see in the rare speed/quickness guys like Ginn, Tavon Austin, Randy Moss, etc. He gets more separation than any other WR in this draft class and it isn’t even close. On the other hand he is rail thin and could be punished at the LOS by press corners so his career success will be inextricably tied to how a team uses him. He had 7 games in 2015 with a 46 yard or longer reception. He beats teams deep and does it consistently and does it against everyone. Texas, USC, Stanford, Ohio State you name the opponent and he beat them deep. Clemson with Mackenzie Alexander was the only team that held him in check but that is important to note as Alexander is a 1st round CB and he shut down Fuller so does that mean Fuller isn’t a 1st round WR? I don’t buy that as Fuller has too much upside to slip completely out of the 1st round due to his poor strength, penchant for drops and lack of production vs. one opponent. The comparison is to Ginn as Fuller could be a bust if used incorrectly or put in the doghouse when he drops a ball ala Ginn with the Dolphins. If used correctly, scheme him onto an inferior CB from the slot position or have him go in motion regularly, and if supported through his drops and bad games a team likely will have a very dynamic deep threat for years to come. Late 1st round as my #4 WR 4/20/16.
  5. Michael Thomas Ohio State 6’2 ¾ 212 Jr. Redshirted 1 season. He has huge hands for a WR (‘10 ½). His 4.57 40 surprised me as he was a deep threat in college and beat Kendall Fuller deep so I expected him in the 4.4 range (though after further film study he did beat Fuller on a stop and go which caught him flat footed). His explosion was average to above average and his quickness drills were very good. Statistically he’s interesting as his 2014 and 2015 were eerily similar (54-56 catches, 781-799 yds, 9 TDs). Some will complain about no 1,000 yard season but the Ohio State QB situation the past two years has been trying for wideouts to say the least. He has great quickness and body control for a guy of his height and weight. I really like how he snatches the ball with his hands, he’s definitely not a body catcher. He’ll be a red zone threat as he’s tall, strong and has outstanding hands. Catches a lot of balls above his head which makes him even tougher to defend at basically 6’3. He doesn’t get great separation and looks like a future #2 WR in a possession receiver type role. He has a similar game and similar draft grade to Tyler Boyd. Thomas doesn’t have star potential but he should be start early in his career and could have some decent TD totals due to his height and elite hands. Mid 2nd as my #5 WR 4/22/16.
  6. Tyler Boyd Pittsburgh 6’1 ½ 197 Jr. He had a poor Combine with a 4.58 40 and a 4.35 shuttle. It doesn’t worry me as much as it would for other prospects though as he has always projected as a possession receiver with enough burst and smoothness in and out of breaks to get separation that way. Boyd has had a 2nd round grade on my board since 2013 and it’s surprised me that he hasn’t progressed. Boyd has elite hands and body control with an Allen Robinson type game. Unfortunately Robinson is an inch taller, 20 pounds heavier and slightly faster so the comparison is more stylistically than talent level wise. He tracks the ball extremely well and is a legit deep threat despite his mediocre speed as he just makes plays. At one time I thought he’d develop into a Top 15 pick but nonetheless I still do like him as a #2 WR in the mold of Marvin Jones. Mid 2nd round as my #6 WR 4/20/16.
  7. Braxton Miller Ohio State 6’1 ⅜ 201 Sr. Redshirted 1 season. 5 years removed from HS so an older prospect. He ran a 4.50 and had sick quickness times with a 4.07 shuttle-1st among all WRs at the Combine and 6.65-2nd best. He dominated at the Senior Bowl practices. He has really good hands, elite quickness and elite body control. His teammates love him and really rooted for him at his new position. He could be sprinkled in as a wildcat QB. He worked really hard to drop weight and change his body into a receiver’s and it was successful. Miller has the feel of a future New England Patriot to me as there are a number of red flags and he doesn’t really fit the mold of a traditional WR but he’s just such a unique athlete that I feel like he could be a Pro Bowler if put in the right system. It is hard though to make a case for drafting a guy early who only had 26 341 3 TD as a senior, new position or not. I think Miller has star potential and his position change along with the poor QB play at times last year kept his true talent under wraps. I’ll be curious to see where he goes because he’s the ultimate wild card but at the right point in the draft I’d gamble on his potential greatness. Late 2nd round as my #7 WR who is a boom/bust position switch guy 4/21/16.
  8. Keyarris Garrett Tulsa 6’3 ⅜ 220 Sr. Redshirted 1 season. 5 years removed from HS so an older prospect. He had a good 40 (4.53) for his size but struggled in the quickness drills. He was explosive though with ‘36 ½ vertical and 10’8 broad. He had two good seasons (2012 and 2014), an injury shortened one (2013) and then a monster season in 2015 (96 1,588 8 TD). He’s an NFL specimen for sure as he really sticks out on Tulsa tape, much of which is VERY low quality by the way, and his favorite play is the 9 route which often becomes a glorified jump ball. He has very long arms (‘34 ½) and good jumping ability so he often can just grab it over a defender or muscle them away from it. He has great strength and comes down with some ridiculous catches. He reminds me a bit of Mike Williams out of Syracuse awhile back. Some of his best games this year came against the best opponents (Oklahoma, Memphis, Virginia Tech) which really intrigues me. He dominated Zach Sanchez who I view as a NFL caliber player. He had surprisingly good QB play last year so his stats should be downgraded a bit, especially considering some of his schedule. Overall though I see an NFL caliber athlete and definitely an NFL caliber frame as he’s impressive. Treadwell ran in the 4.6s at 6’2 221 so his 4.53 at basically 6’3 ½ 220 is worth noting again. He has star potential but a pretty high bust rate too so he’s a roll of the dice. I love his Oklahoma and Virginia Tech film though so I’m ranking him higher than more sure bets like Pharoh Cooper as Garrett has legit Pro Bowl potential if it works out for him. Late 2nd round as my #8 WR 4/21/16.
  9. Pharoh Cooper South Carolina 5’11 ⅛ 203 Jr. He didn’t run the 40 and had poor explosion numbers (‘31 vertical, 9’7 broad) at the Combine. He’s been their #1 option on offense the past two seasons (he was used on more wildcats and reverses than probably any other WR prospect in this class). He looks like a low 4.5 type guy from film. He’s a unique prospect as he isn’t tall, fast or big but he has a knack for making plays and has great body control and agility. He has a little Anquan Boldin to him. His measurables aren’t good but I really like Cooper’s film as he’s quick, agile, has great hands and is tough. He looks like he’ll be a good possession receiver somewhere in between an Anquan Boldin (who is taller and heavier than Cooper) and a Josh Huff type who is a similar body type. Early 3rd round as my #9 WR 4/20/16.
  10. Sterling Shepard Oklahoma 5’10 ¼ 194 Sr. He ran a 4.48 40 and wowed me with a ‘41 vertical but surprised with mediocre quickness drill numbers. He was a productive member of their offense each of the past 4 years and really stepped up the past two with 970 and 1,288 yds. When grading smaller wideouts you need to differentiate between the short, quick types that are career slot/possession receivers like Jamison Crowder and Cole Beasley vs. the deep threat game breaker small guys like Santana Moss and DeSean Jackson. Shepard is kind of a tweener between the types as he has 4.4 speed (Crowder timed 4.56 last year) and at 194 lbs in only a 5’10 body he has some thickness to him which could allow him to stay outside. Yet a guy of his height really should be in the high 4.3s to make that complete transition to Moss, Jackson or TY Hilton so I’m a little torn with him. As a prospect he’s fun to study as he is so aggressive for his size and really attacks the ball in the air like a bigger wide receiver. Jalen Saunders (5’9 165 with 4.44 40 speed) being a colossal bust just two drafts ago out of the same system could really hurt his cause but Shepard is SO much bigger I think the comparison is a little unfair. In the end I am torn on Shepard and can’t quite bring myself to give him any higher of a grade than a mid 3rd rounder as my #10 WR as he just doesn’t check off enough boxes on my “small wide receiver” list 4/22/16.
  11. Roger Lewis Bowling Green 6’0 ⅜ 201 Soph Redshirted 1 season. He had a terrible Combine with a 4.58 40, 8 reps, ‘33 ½ vertical and 9’8 broad. Arguably the worst overall Combine of the WR group. His production though was off the charts with 85 1,544 16 TDs in 2015. He had a 1,000 yard season the year before though too and is the reason why a Bowling Green kid is leaving school after his sophomore season. He had three 200 yard receiving games in 2015. He has amazing hands with a number of 1 handed catches in his highlight reel. He’s long legged but has surprising quickness for a guy with that build. He regularly beat guys deep so his 40 might be underrating his playing speed. On film he looks quick and very agile so his Combine confuses me. I think he just had a bad day as at his pro day he had a better 40 and vertical but it still will likely hurt his stock. He played against weaker competition but absolutely dominated Maryland and looks like a future #2 WR. I’ll be curious to see how low he drops due to his Combine performance because I still really like him and am keeping him high on my board. He’s a strong, agile wideout with great hands, good quickness and elite production. Mid 3rd round as my #11 WR 4/20/16.
  12. Malcolm Mitchell Georgia 5’11 ⅝ 198 Sr. Redshirted 1 season. 5 years removed from HS so an older prospect. Malcolm looked like an early round pick when he played WR and CB as a freshman in 2011 (45 665 4 TD as a receiver). That was quite a long time ago. Since then he’s had a major knee injury costing him all of 2013, a year where he clearly wasn’t fully recovered from the injury (2014), followed by a surprisingly effective 2015 (58 865 5 TD). He isn’t as explosive as he once was but he ran a 4.45 40, with his 1.55 first 10 being outstanding, and impressed in the explosion (10’9 broad) and quickness drills (6.94 3 cone). Not all of those great measurables appear to fully translate to the field as I see a kid with mediocre lateral quickness and who is rail thin. Mitchell appears destined to the #3 role as a pro with an outside chance at becoming a legit #2 with the idea that he made huge strides from 2014 to 2015 and should take another step next year. Late 3rd round as my #12 WR 4/20/16.
  13. Jordan Payton UCLA 6’1 ⅛ 207 Sr. He ran a 4.48 40 which is very impressive for his size. The rest of his measurables were average. He is smooth and has solid speed but isn’t explosive and looks like a #2 or #3 WR. I don’t think his 40 completely transfers to the field. He had two good, consistent seasons with 67-78 receptions, 954-1106 yds and 5-7 TDs each year. He has no star potential and is a little bit of a boring prospect as he lacks any elite attributes but he should be able to carve a niche in this league as a secondary receiver. While he does lack any elite attributes he has a well rounded game so he lacks any major holes in his game either. Late 3rd round as my #13 WR 4/22/16.
  14. Leonte Caroo Rutgers 5’11 ⅞ 211 Sr. He ran a 4.50 40, ‘35 ½ vertical and ‘10 broad which all was about average. He was a big play threat in his 3 years playing at Rutgers with a 17, 20 and 21 ypr average. He never had more than 1,086 yards receiving but fits the mold as a #2 WR with big play ability. He’s basically 6’0 but is pretty thick for that size at 211 and it shows as he muscles around DBs regularly. His deep threat skills are more adjusting to balls in the air and blocking out DBs than flat out burning them off the LOS. He has great run after the catch skills and it is a reason why he has 29 career TDs despite only 122 career receptions. He has a little RB playing WR feel to his game. He should be a good KR and possibly PR. Caroo has a poor man’s Percy Harvin to his game which is interesting. He fits best as a slot receiver and is adept at reverses, WR screens and quick hitting plays that get the ball in his hand. He has great vision and good enough speed and quickness to be explosive but unfortunately he doesn’t run polished routes and you can tell the team has to manufacture a way to get the ball in his hands. He’s an interesting kid as he could be a playmaker in the NFL if a team schemes him the ball but he won’t be just a kid you put at the Y position and he consistently gets open. Due to this his bust potential is pretty high and he might just become a high level special teams player. Early 4th round as my #14 WR 4/20/16.
  15. Kolby Listenbee TCU 6’0 197 Sr. Redshirted 1 season. 5 years removed from HS so an older prospect. He ran a 4.35 40 and had a ‘35 ½ vertical and 10’9 broad. His 4.3 40 guarantees he’ll be drafted. He’s a tightly built guy with limited short area quickness. His career high was 753 yds and was in 2014 as he missed 2 games in 2015. He’s your classic mid to late round speedster that is very one dimensional. I rarely am a fan of these types as they usually don’t work out though as even the ones that settle into decent roles in the league (Jacoby Ford, Kevin Norwood, Marquise Goodwin) never are better than #3 wideouts. He’s worth a flier for a team seeking a speed infusion in their wide receiver corp but don’t expect more than a few big plays a year, and that’s if he isn’t a straight bust which is the most likely scenario. That being said his timed speed translates to the field and in the right system he could be productive because the kid can fly. Late 4th round as my #15 WR 4/22/16.
  16. Aaron Burbridge Michigan St. 6’0 206 Sr. He struggled to separate at the Senior Bowl. He had a terrible Combine with a 4.56 40-below average, ‘30 ½ vertical-4th worst among WRs at the Combine and a 7.22 3 cone-4th worst. I’m not terribly interested in wideouts that aren’t fast, explosive or quick which is what his Combine showed. It also looked that way at the Senior Bowl when he rarely got separation. He’s a one year wonder type kid too with 1,258 receiving yards in 2015 and only 916 receiving yards in the previous 3 seasons combined. He is adept at making tough catches in traffic and walling off defenders to maintain possession. One of the reasons I rated Connor Cook so high was because I considered his offensive weapons around him to be subpar. Burbridge is one of those weapons and I have my doubts that he’ll be anything more than a #3 or #4 WR for a few years on a NFL roster. Mid 5th round as my #16 WR 4/20/16.
  17. Charone Peake Clemson 6’2 ⅜ 209 Sr. Redshirted 1 season. 5 years removed from HS so an older prospect. He had a great 40 (4.45) and was solid in quickness and explosion drills. Statistically is his red flag as he only had 716 yards receiving in 2015 and that is the only season where he had more than 172 yards receiving. He’s not even a one year wonder he’s a no year wonder. He’s a size/speed guy that some will view as the light just now coming on for. Unfortunately he’s been in college 5 years and only when he had a Heisman candidate at QB did he even put up mediocre numbers. I smell a bust. Late 5th round as my #17 WR 4/21/16.
  18. Rashard Higgins Colorado State 6’1 ⅜ 196 Jr. He had one of the worst Combines in this WR class with a 4.64 40, ‘32 vertical and 9’8 broad. In 2014 he was one of the most prolific wideouts in the nation (96 1,750 17 TD). He missed 1 game this year but that doesn’t account for why he dropped to 75 1,062 8 TD. Nicknamed Hollywood and has some early 90’s kid in play hair. He has an NFL frame but isn’t quick, fast or agile. I was not impressed at all with his film and do not think his game will translate to the next level. Mid 6th round as my #18 WR who only avoids free agent status due to his elite production and good height 4/20/16.
  19. Kenny Lawler California 6’2 ½ 203 Jr. Redshirted 1 season. Ran a bad 40 (4.64), had a bad vertical (‘31) and was below average in basically every drill or measurement. He never had more than 701 yards receiving in a season. That’s even more surprisingly when you realize he had a gunslinger at QB in Jared Goff. He doesn’t look that athletic on film in college and his production and Combine are pretty poor so to me he looks like a guy that will be lucky to make a roster. The only thing I liked about Lawler was his body control and quickness as he did seem to run good routes. Mid 7th round as my #19 WR 4/21/16.
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