NFL Draft 2012: Alshon Jeffery, Justin Blackmon and Top Available WRs
In a today's pass-heavy NFL, stud wide receivers are must-haves for teams looking to score with the likes of the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints.
Fortunately, the 2012 NFL draft offers several options for organizations lacking in playmakers on the offensive side of the field.
Many of said weapons were on display during bowl season. Collegiate stars Justin Blackmon and Alshon Jeffery were at their best in front of NFL scouts during the holidays.
Fittingly, they lead the way in our ranking of the top draft targets at the wide receiver position.
1. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
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The can't-miss prospect at the wide receiver position hails from Oklahoma State and will likely be taken in the first 10 picks of the 2012 NFL draft.
Justin Blackmon is a slightly shorter Dez Bryant, without the inconsistency and attitude. Blackmon shows up in big games, accruing over 95 yards receiving in every game against a ranked opponent.
Against Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl, Blackmon dominated the highlight reel with 186 yards and three touchdowns.
I expect the St. Louis Rams to take Blackmon in the first round, giving Sam Bradford an instant weapon on offense.
2. Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
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Alshon Jeffery showcased his big-play prowess in South Carolina's bowl matchup against Nebraska.
Jeffery caught only four passes but made them count to the tune of 148 yards and a touchdown. Oh, and he was named MVP despite being ejected before the game was over.
An SEC star such as Jeffery would fit in nicely for the Jacksonville Jaguars early in the first round. The Jags could conceivably get Jeffery later in the round and may trade down as a result.
Either way, Jeffery would instantly ascend to the top of the depth chart in an empty cupboard in Jacksonville.
3. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
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Michael Floyd's talents seem to be flying under the radar heading into pre-draft preparations.
That will change once the combine results come to fruition. Floyd's unique combination of size and 4.5 speed will wow the scouts at the combine.
If Floyd can prove in his interviews that his work ethic is sound and his off-the-field issues are in the past, the Notre Dame stud could challenge Jeffery for the No. 2 slot in the draft at his position.
As it stands now, Floyd could stay in the Midwest, heading to the Chicago Bears at pick No. 19.
4. Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers
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Like fellow Rutgers alum Kenny Britt, Mohamed Sanu will be an underrated option at wide receiver before the NFL draft.
However, he has the pedigree that makes scouts believe he will be an instant contributor at the pro level. Sanu caught 115 passes for a Rutgers passing offense that ranked No. 52 in the nation.
Sanu comes in at 6'2" and 215 pounds but can turn heads with a quick 40-yard dash time at the combine.
Look for Sanu to sneak in toward the end of the first round. If not, he will be a steal for an early second-round team who missed out on the top three receivers in the draft.
5. Kendall Wright, Baylor
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The fastest of the top wide receivers emerges from an explosive Baylor offense that produced a Heisman winner and a likely Top-Five pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
Wait, that's all Robert Griffin III.
However, Kendall Wright contributed significantly to Griffin's season at wideout. Wright averaged 128 yards per game receiving and has the quickness to excel at the next level.
He does lack the size of a prototypical No. 1 option. It will be important for Wright to showcase his speed and route-running at the combine to elevate his stock.
His ability to be a Mike Wallace-type player will ensure Wright gets picked no later than the middle of the second round.
6. Dwight Jones, North Carolina
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It's truly remarkable how North Carolina remains mediocre in college football despite numerous top NFL prospects on both sides of the ball.
But, I digress.
Wide receiver Dwight Jones is yet another top prospect who may be the most NFL-ready receiver in the draft. Jones receives less attention because of lackluster quarterback play in Chapel Hill and because he resides in the much-maligned Atlantic Coast Conference.
Jones is a possession receiver who will make an impact as a red-zone option in his rookie season.
The second round seems like a likely time for Jones to be selected by teams looking for an athletic No. 2 option.
7. Nick Toon, Wisconsin
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Nick Toon will not wow you with his speed or game-changing potential. He will not be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL.
However, he brings a reliable pair of hands to the table for teams who want a safety valve for their young signal-callers.
At 6'3", Toon also poses a matchup problem for smaller defensive backs.
With durability questions and mediocre speed, Toon will slip to the middle rounds in the draft.