In case you’ve missed our previous posts regarding the Combine (WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!), I touched on the draft-eligible Tight Ends here, the Quarterbacks here, and will be highlighting the Running Backs tomorrow. But today, please excuse me while I fawn over the wide receiver class, hard. This year has be proclaimed to be the deepest WR class in a long, long time, maybe ever. This class is deep, like real deep. And its not just deep, it has elite level talent at the top, too. You could tell me that any of the top 10-12 guys in the class went in the 1st round and I wouldn’t bat an eye, although I’ve never really understood that saying… I told you yesterday that these wideouts are pretty damn good. I love the group of WRs in this class more than I do any other position group at the Combine. I seriously love these wide receivers more than Manti Te’o loved Lennay Kekua, you know, until she died. It was such a sad story and touching story… Wait, you mean to tell me none of that was real? Where the hell have I been… Anywho, where was I? Oh yeah, this wide receiver class is thebomb.com. And any discussion of these WRs has to start with:
1. Sammy Watkins (6’0 1/2″ 211) Clemson — Watkins very well could be the best prospect in this entire class, at any position. If the Texans had a quarterback and didn’t have a receiver like Andre Johnson, Sammy would definitely be under consideration as the #1 overall pick. Well I guess if the Texans had a decent quarterback, they probably wouldn’t be picking #1 anyway. But Sammy Watkins is the real deal. He does everything well and has no real deficiencies in his game. He’s fast (ran an unofficial 4.34 40), explosive (10’6″ broad jump), elusive, strong, is a great route runner, has great hands, a stunning smile, and lovely flowing locks… Sorry, got distracted for a minute, back to football. If this guy were an inch or two taller, he’d probably be considered the best WR prospect to come out since Calvin Johnson. In case you live under a rock, that’s high praise. As you can see, Sammy is my favorite guy in this draft. I like this guy so much that he could probably have an affair with my fiancé and I wouldn’t even be mad. I’d just be happy that him and I could have something in common and we could be eskimo brothers. Needless to say, I think this guy is going to lead me to many a fantasy football championships, or leading some other schmuck to those championships if I can’t manage to land the 1.01 pick in my rookie drafts. No one else should even be considered at that spot.
2. Mike Evans (6’5 230) Texas A&M — Johnny Football’s go-to-guy, Mike Evans definitely has the size that NFL teams covet at the WR position. He’s a really big guy and does a lot of things well. However, there are a couple issues scouts see with his game; he, by most accounts, is not a great route runner and struggles to gain separation downfield due to his limited wheels. However, his size helps make up for both issues, especially in jump ball situations. He performed relatively well at the Combine, running a little faster than most thought he would (4.53) and looked solid throughout on-field drills, running a variety of routes and catching almost everything. Granted, there are no defenders in any of these drills. He did struggle on the bench press, only putting up 12 reps. Evans may never rack up the yards or receptions that other guys do, but he’s #2 on this list because he should score his fair share of touchdowns. Often compared to Vincent Jackson, I think he’s a good target in the middle of the first round of rookie dynasty drafts.
3. Jordan Matthews (6’3 210) Vandy — I already touched on Matthews in my Senior Bowl review here. In my opinion, Matthews helped his stock as much as any other wideout at the Combine on Sunday. One of the biggest knocks on him was his speed, with most predictions for his 40 yard time around 4.6. However, he showed out, posting a 4.42 unofficial 40 (4.46 officially). One scout I follow on the Twitter mentioned that Matthews’ 40 time said more about his work ethic than anything else, which has received rave reviews from most scouts. By all accounts, he’s already a polished route runner with solid hands and a good understanding of reading defenses. He is the all-time leader in SEC receptions and receiving yards. That’s pretty good. I like him more in PPR leagues than standard leagues, but I still like him a lot either way. I’ve seen comparisons for him range anywhere from Eric Decker to Keenan Allen to De’Andre Hopkins. Not bad company.
4. Odell Beckham Jr (5’11 198) LSU — Timed with an unofficial 40 yard dash of 4.31 seconds, Beckham put on a show in Indy at the Combine. Although he lacks the ideal size of a #1 WR at the next level, Beckham has the physical skills to still eventually be that guy for whatever team he ends up on. Beckham could eventually turn out to be a similar player to DeSean Jackson, in that he may be a bit smaller but can still be a valuable deep threat due to his wheels. It doesn’t hurt when you can also make catches like this. He can also return punts, so a little extra value in leagues that count return yards. The only reason I have him behind Evans and Matthews is that, due to his size, I wonder how valuable he can be in the red-zone, therefore limiting his touchdown opportunities.
5. Brandin Cooks (5’9 189) Oregon State — The 2013 Bilitnikoff winner (given to the best WR in college football), Cooks, is an impressive prospect. His best trait is speed, and he has that in spades. He was unofficially clocked at a 4.30 for each of his 40′s and came in with the 2nd best official 40 of the entire Combine at 4.33, which earned him a nice chunk of change. While his size may limit him strictly to the slot at the next level, Cooks has the ability to be one of the very best in the NFL in that role, as he is arguably the best route runner in this class to pair with dat speed doe. He is going to work almost exclusively underneath, finding holes in zones, racking up receptions, and picking up YACs on YACs on YACs, with the potential to take it to pay dirt any time he touches it. If Cooks lands in the right situation, he could be quite valuable right away.
As I said in the opening, this class is ridonkulously deep. I could spend all day writing about all the draft eligible wide receivers who eventually could pay big dividends for you in fantasy over the next few years, because there are so many great ones. However, ain’t nobody got time for that. But I will leave you with the rest of my top 15 dynasty rookie WR rankings.
6. Marqise Lee USC
7. Allen Robinson Penn State
8. Davante Adams Fresno State
9. Jarvis Landry
10. Kelvin Benjamin
11. Donte Moncrief
12. Brandon Coleman
13. Jared Abbrederis
14. Michael Campanaro
15. Josh Huff
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