The 2013 NFL draft does not feature a strong wide receiver class. There is no elite talent in the Calvin Johnson mold. Yet, there are a bunch of players who will turn into reliable starters for years to come.
Who will join Justin Hunter at the top of the wide receiver rankings? Read on to find out.
Justin Hunter, Tennessee
Hunter is one year removed from an ACL tear, and the injury still seems to be slowing him down. Despite that, Hunter had a good year for the Vols.
In 12 games, Hunter caught 73 passes for 1,083 yards, along with nine touchdowns. The explosiveness he showed early in his career is not fully back, but it has shown signs of returning.
Hunter is not an elite talent, but when fully healthy he has the potential to stretch the field with his speed (4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash). At 6'4", he will be a nightmare to cover in the red zone. Every opposing defense geared up to cover him, and he still responded with solid numbers.
Look for Hunter to be selected in the first round, perhaps even in the top 15.
Keenan Allen, California
Keenan Allen's stats do not match what type of player he is. Allen caught 61 passes for 737 yards and six touchdowns, while missing the last three games with an injury.
Between the injury and subpar quarterback play, Allen didn't get a chance to show his true skill set. Allen is 6'2" with speed to burn and plays a physical game.
Allen is not a flashy receiver, but more of a possession receiver who will move the chains. He's very reliable and will prove to be a safety blanket for quarterbacks.
Allen may fall due to his poor season, but a team in the late-first or early-second round will get a valuable starter for years to come.
Terrance Williams, Baylor
Terrance Williams proved he could play without Robert Griffin III. Williams leads the nation in receiving yards 1,832 and has 97 receptions with 12 touchdowns. He also set Big 12 records with 17 receptions for 314 yards and two touchdowns against West Virginia on September 29.
Williams has great size at 6'3" and has plenty of speed. He's aggressive across the middle and will be a nice threat in the red zone.
Williams may catch fire in the postseason draft process and could rocket up draft boards. He was by far the most productive receiver in this class and has the talent to turn into a long-time starter. Look for him to be drafted in the mid-to-late first round.
Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Tavon Austin was a do-it-all weapon for West Virginia who had a fantastic year. Austin caught 110 passes for 1,259 yards and 12 touchdowns this year. He also had 61 carries for 598 yards and three touchdowns.
The only knock on Austin is that he's quite undersized. At only 5'9" and 176 pounds, Austin may not survive a season of being hit by NFL defenders. This will cause him to slide on draft boards.
Still, Austin has a unique skill set and will be a defensive coordinator's nightmare. He could be used a slot receiver, a running back, on trick plays and in the return game. He has game-breaking speed.
His size, or lack thereof, is concerning, and there are not many receivers who have survived in the league at that size. He will have to bulk up without losing any of his explosiveness.
If Austin can do that and prove that he has enough strength, then he will be an electric game-breaker who will be a consistent presence on the highlight reel. But he first must answer questions about his strength. Austin may be selected as high as the first round, but due to his size concerns, may fall to as low as the third.
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