NFL Draft 2012: The 5(+1) Receivers Peyton Manning Would Love on Denver Broncos
As soon as Peyton Manning signed with the Broncos, they immediately went to favorites to win the division crown. I believe that is the most likely outcome, but the big question is who are his weapons. Demaryius Thomas is a huge target who looks like he is becoming a true No. 1 wide receiver. His other new teammate, Eric Decker, is a versatile receiver who can either beside him or in the slot, but isn't a huge threat to defenses.
Those guys are serviceable, but do you think they are really Peyton Manning's dream weapons? Now I'm not saying you should trade your future away to grab Andre Johnson from the Texans or anything like that. In this situation you either look to free agency or you look to the draft. However, with the best UFAs off the market, it is time for the Broncos to turn to their college scouts if they want to add weapons to No. 18's arsenal. I have stepped into the mind of a future Hall of Fame QB, and these are the receivers I would like from this year's draft.
5. Michael Floyd Notre Dame
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In this draft, the former consensus top receiver was Justin Blackmon. Lately however, scouts are moving Michael Floyd further and further up their draft boards, and eventually I think he will beat Blackmon for the top spot. Floyd has a big frame and will go up and get the ball at its highest point. He is physical, mean, and has the tools to succeed.
If he can keep his nose clean, then he could be a huge asset to the Broncos. He would fill in as the Z receiver, which means he would be opposite the Thomas. This would allow Decker to play in the slot, which is probably his best fit any way. With Floyd, the idea of a dangerous vertical passing attack is easily imaginable.
4. Stephen Hill Georgia Tech.
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If you asked 10 scouts what grade they would give Hill, seven of them would most likely say an I for incomplete. The other three would likely have good, but not great grades because while he led the nation in yards per reception, he was mostly the product of a Georgia Tech system that rarely lets receivers see the ball more than once or twice a game.
In Denver, Hill would probably be asked to start small. He could play in the slot or at the X, but mainly he would be a coverage dictator. If he thought the defender was making sure he didn't beat him deep, then Hill is supposed to run a slant. With his massive quick frame, that should be no problem. And if he felt the cover man playing him tight, then he should run a sluggo (slant and go) and use his speed to beat him deep. When it is time to run the ball, he can do what he did more than anything at Georgia Tech, get physical and block someone.
That isn't overly complicated, and they could do a few more things with him, but with Peyton's precision and timing, Hill could see Jimmy Graham type production. I know that is an odd comparison, but they could be thought of as similar players considering they are both tall and physical. The only outstanding difference is that Graham is two inches taller and not as fast.
3. Jarius Wright WR Arkansas
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It is all slot receiver from here on out folks. Manning loves quick receivers that he can shift around and who he can create mismatches with. The best recipe for that strategy in my opinion, is to add a slot receiver and allow Decker to attack the outside. With Dreesen and to a much larger extent Tamme in the offense, Manning can allow his quick guys to stretch coverage while he dinks and dunks his way to the end zone.
Wright is an excellent receiver who is consistently overshadowed by Joe "the Jet" Adams. And while Adams is a better prospect, that doesn't take away anything from Wright. Both receivers have worked in Bobby Petrino's complex aerial offense. Both also understand how rewarding chemistry is with with a talented quarterback. If you don't believe me ask Mallett and Wilson. Wright is the all time reception leader at Arkansas and can be a dependable receiver consistently, which may be what this offense needs in its first year.
If you want to know what Joe Adams would bring to the table, you are in luck because at No. 2 it's.....
2. Joe Adams WR Arkansas
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.....Joe Adams. I'm neither for nor against Arkansas, but love 'em or hate 'em they have some stellar slot guys this year. If you watched Joe Adams at the Senior Bowl this year, one thing showed in his play above the rest. That thing was elusiveness. If this guy got the ball you better have three men on him because anything less and he is breaking out. All this despite being only 5-10 and while still retaining excellent acceleration.
I know everyone hates this comparison, but more than anyone in this draft Joe Adams reminds me of Wes Welker. Bring on the hate, but go watch his Senior Bowl highlights first, because the resemblance is remarkable. While Adams is more explosive than Welker, it is not by a huge margin. With Manning throwing to him, he will earn every bit of his salary as a second rounder if you can get him there.
Remember all the things that Wright had as far as knowledge of chemistry and system, Adams has as well. Not only that but his elusiveness makes him a great option on special teams too. He could be a name to remember for years to come.
1. Kendall Wright
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Was there ever any doubt?
Kendall Wright may be the most explosive player in this draft, and if the Broncos can grab him, they should pounce on it. In fact, they should actually thinking about moving up to take him. He is amazing, he is competitive and knows how to read coverage. He gives every catch his all, and he will lay out for the ball on any down.
Like I said with Adams, everyone hates the Welker comparisons right? So let me say this, I think Manning to Wright would be a better combination than Brady to Welker. That's right I said it. Wright can do anything you want, he can play inside or outside, which makes him the perfect complement to Decker and this offense.
In the modern NFL, if you don't have a deep threat, then you are no threat. With Wright the Broncos have three. If this pick happened, I could almost see Manning's face light up.
Bonus: Mike Wallace
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In a perfect world, the Broncos front office would do some cap magic and figure out a way to make this happen. However, that looks highly unlikely. We all know that Wallace adds a dimension to an offense that few defenses can defend, but how well would he do in a pass first offense like the new Broncos? And what better QB to find out with than Manning?
Imagine that it's the first play of the season, and the Broncos line up with Decker and Wallace to the left, while Thomas is out to the right. At the line you have Dreesen and Tamme in two point stances ready to fire off the line and go out for a pass. What defense in the league has the personal to stop Manning from driving that squad down the field in two minutes or less? Now imagine that every play for the next five years. Wow.