On last year's draft board, there was plenty of offensive firepower.
This year? Not so much.
For one thing, there's not a single running back currently projected to go in the first round in most mocks—this coming one year after Trent Richardson was selected in the top 10. For another, there are far fewer quarterbacks expected to make quite as big of an impact as some of the studs in last year's class.
Nevertheless, there are still a few offensive playmakers expected to do big things. Here are some of them, along with projections for where they'll land.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson (Tennessee)
Projection: Minnesota Vikings
For the most part, Minnesota's offense saw a sort of renaissance in 2012—and most of it was due to soon-to-be MVP Adrian Peterson. But as good as the Vikings' running game has been in 2012, the passing game has been the opposite. Vikings receivers caught just 18 touchdown passes in 2012, ranking second-to-last in the league.
That's where Cordarrelle Patterson comes in. While Tennessee was pretty abysmal in 2012, he had a good year, finishing his junior season with 1,086 yards and eight touchdowns.
At 6'3", Patterson has great height for an NFL wideout, and he has speed and versatility to boot. The Vikings need a playmaker on the wide receiving corps, and he could be it.
WR Justin Hunter (Tennessee)
Projection: Miami Dolphins
One of the only guys who may be a more appealing wide receiving prospect is Patterson's very own teammate, Justin Hunter. And as the Miami Dolphins continue their somewhat futile attempts at competing in the AFC East, Hunter could give them the kind of offensive playmaker they need.
Last season, the Dolphins finished 26th in the league in passing offense, as receivers caught a mere 13 touchdowns. Given the caliber of offense other teams in the division boast—OK, given the Patriots offense—the Dolphins are going to need to upgrade in order to start competing, and Hunter allows them to do just that.
At 6'4", he may be an even more physically intriguing prospect than Patterson, and he has excellent speed. He finished his junior season with 1,083 total yards and nine touchdowns, and he could quickly fit into a Miami scheme that needs some firepower on its receiving corps—or that needs some offensive firepower in general if Reggie Bush skips town.
QB Mike Glennon (NC State)
Glennon wasn't one of the flashiest quarterbacks in the NCAA in 2012, but he still could very likely be a first-round draft pick. He could be this year's Ryan Tannehill—the guy who probably could go in the top 10, despite the fact that a lot of teams remain unsure about him.
Glennon's team in 2012 wasn't all that good. It couldn't string together more than a few wins in a row and just lost in the Music City Bowl to Vanderbilt. Plus, it couldn't even sustain any dominance in the ACC, which was one of the weaker major conferences this season. But to Glennon's credit, he has been consistent over the last couple of years, and he has improved each year.
Over the last two seasons, he's thrown for 6,702 yards and 61 touchdowns, and at 6'5" and 232 pounds, he has the kind of frame that translates well into the NFL.
While the Bills have Ryan Fitzpatrick, this season should have been a sign that they need to go in a different direction. Fitzpatrick has had flashes of competence, but he hasn't been able to take Buffalo to the playoffs in his four years under center. He hasn't even been close to being able to compete with the Patriots.
Buffalo needs a change, and they may look to Glennon to bring about that change.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!