NFL Draft 2013: Projected Landing Spots for Top Wide Receiver Prospects
But what this year's group of pass-catchers lacks in blue-chippers, it makes up for with a profusion of red-chippers—players capable of becoming good-not-great players at the next level.
There probably isn't a top-10 pick among them, but a number of next year's rookie receivers have a chance to make an instant impact. Here's a look at where five of them could be suiting up in 2013.
Keenan Allen, California: Miami Dolphins (12th Overall Pick)
Even a down junior season—where he slogged to just 737 yards—won't be enough to kill Allen's draft stock.
A big, physical target capable of making plays in traffic, Allen has all the makings of a true No. 1 option. This past season was a weird one for everyone in Berkley, and while his lack of production raises some flags, they're pretty minor ones.
In Miami, he would give Ryan Tannehill the first bona fide receiving threat of his young career. In a few years, they could be one of the most dangerous combos in all of football.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee: St. Louis Rams (16th Overall Pick)
On paper, Patterson doesn't stand out as a first-round prospect. He wasn't even the most productive receiver on his team (more on that to come), and finished with under four catches in eight of Tennessee's 12 games.
But on film, Patterson stands out as one of the draft's most impressive specimens. Don't believe me? Have a look for yourself:
Actions speak louder than words, and some NFL team is going to fall in love with Patterson's potential. The Rams desperately want for playmakers on the outside, and this could be the guy who fills that void.
Justin Hunter, Tennessee: Kansas City Chiefs (34th Overall Pick)
As alluded to earlier, Patterson wasn't even the most productive receiver on Tennessee this season. The way Justin Hunter played, hardly anyone else in the NCAA could have been.
Guys who stand 6'4'' shouldn't be able to run sub-4.5 40s, but Hunter is the athlete who can. ESPN.com compares his build to that of A.J. Green, a player his ceiling might closely resemble.
With Dwayne Bowe's contract situation in flux, Hunter could be asked to come in and become a No. 1 receiver. Even if Bowe stays, however, Kansas City could still come calling to make Hunter its secondary weapon.
DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson: Cincinnati Bengals (37th Overall Pick)
Talk about a guy who made himself some money in 2012.
One year after teammate Sammy Watkins broke the school record for receiving yards, Hopkins emerged on the scene to re-shatter his mark. He finished his junior season with 1,405 yards and 18 touchdowns, rendering Watkins essentially a decoy by bowl season.
Speaking of which, Hopkins stepped up and played the best game of his career against LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, torching the vaunted Tigers for 13 catches, 191 yards and two touchdowns.
As we watched time and time again this year, the Bengals desperately need someone opposite A.J. Green whom defenses respect. Andrew Hawkins is a nice piece to have in the slot, but he isn't capable of filling that void.
DeAndre Hopkins is.
Terrance Williams, Baylor: New York Jets (39th Overall Pick)
Williams is the only senior on this list, and a fifth-year at that. But staying in school, combined with enjoying a career season in 2012, has done wonders for his value.
Even after the loss of Robert Griffin III, Williams was unstoppable this past season. He finished the year with 97 catches, 1,832 yards and 12 touchdowns. That included eight games with 100-plus yards, most notably a 17-catch, 304-yard (yes, you read that right) explosion at West Virginia.
Quarterback is priority No. 1, 2 and 3 for the Jets right now—and well it should be. But at some point they need to address their need opposite Santonio Holmes. Williams was one of the most exciting players in college football this year, and could infuse instant life into the Jets' banal offense.
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