NFL Draft 2013: Wide Receivers Who Would Be Steals Outside of 1st Round

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIFebruary 14, 2013

WACO, TX - NOVEMBER 19: Terrance Williams #2 of the Baylor Bears makes a catch for a touchdown in the fourth quarter during a game against the Oklahoma Sooners at Floyd Casey Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Waco, Texas. The Baylor Bears defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 45-38. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

In today's NFL, quarterbacks rule. But some quarterbacks are only as good as their supporting staff, which makes wide receiver an important position in the 2013 NFL draft.

In terms of overall talent, this year's draft lacks a lot of top-level talent. However, there's plenty here in terms of upside.

Upside might not propel a player into the first round, but it can be justified in Round 2 and Round 3. And if these guys pan out, it'll make them big steals in the draft.


Tavon Austin, West Virginia

At one point Austin may have been considered one of the top receivers in this year's draft, but his stock is no longer a sure thing.

The speedy wideout from West Virginia may have the best top speed of any receiver in this year's draft.

He's absolutely explosive off the line, which gives him great separation from defenders.

But at 5'9", 173 pounds, Austin is vastly undersized for a wide receiver. It wasn't a major problem in college, but it could cause issues in the much more physical NFL.

Despite the size issues, if put in the right system Austin could emerge as a great NFL talent. His speed still makes him an explosive player and he has the flexibility to make big plays in the slot or deep downfield.

Austin may no longer be top dog of the wide receivers, but the talent and tools are there. With elite speed, he's sure to be a steal in the second or third round.


Markus Wheaton, Oregon State

Markus Wheaton isn't the flashiest of names in this year's draft, but his underrated skills will make him a steal in the middle of the draft.

The Oregon State star posted the best season of his college career in 2012, leading the Beavers with 91 catches, 1,244 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns.

The 5'11", 183-pound wideout lacks fully refined skills, but has enough raw tools to be a success at the next level.

Wheaton has fantastic speed and body control. He can catch just about anything tossed his way and is flawless at catching on the run.

The big issue is physicality. Wheaton has good size, but needs to add bulk and strength. He can be too easily knocked off his routes by defenders or disrupted in traffic—though he's certainly fearless.

If he's well coached, Wheaton could develop his tools and become a great NFL receiver. He might never be a huge downfield threat, but he could become a difference-maker in the slot.


DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson

If any receiver on this list has a penchant for the big play, it's Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins

Hopkins was unstoppable last season, posting 1,405 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior. There was only one game in which he didn't have a touchdown catch for the Tigers.

At 6'1" and 200 pounds, Hopkins has good size and playmaking ability. He has great hands, and is very physical when catching the ball.

The biggest knocks against Hopkins is his overall athletic ability. He's not particularly bulky and lacks elite NFL speed—he's above average in that respect, but that will only get him so far at the next level.

But Hopkins has flashes of greatness. He plays hard every down, and can be a real difference-maker on the field.

He might not have the overall talent to go in the first round, but it's a fat chance he makes it out of the second.


Terrance Williams, Baylor

In terms of stats, Terrance Williams is a big name. While the upside is there, an attitude adjustment may be needed before the Baylor star can become an elite talent at the next level.

Even without star quarterback Robert Griffin III, Williams had an explosive senior year with the Bears. He finished his year with 1,832 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns.

In terms of upside, it's hard to find a receiver with a bigger ceiling in this draft than Williams.

At 6'1" and 200 pounds, Williams has the size and speed to make it in the NFL. He has great burst in his routes and he knows how to turn a short catch into a big gain.

But Williams has been inconsistent on the field at times and needs to continue to work hard to perfect his craft.

While he may have upside, his on-field inconsistencies can be perceived as laziness. Those kinds of issues could drop Williams out of the first round, making him a tremendous steal in the second round.


Robert Woods, USC

The emergence of Marqise Lee knocked Robert Woods out of the USC spotlight this season, but the junior still has the ability to be a difference-maker on the field. 

At 6'1" and 190 pounds, Woods has prototypical size for an NFL receiver.

Woods has explosive burst off his routes and has top-tier speed. He's decisive after the catch, which makes him a pain for defenders to try to bring down.

The biggest issues for Woods is a lack of a great jumping ability and field awareness. All in all, he has the tools to be a great receiver, but right now he lacks the ability to win many one-on-one battles.

Woods may struggle right away against the physical corners of the NFL, but given the time, he could turn his tools into elite skills at the next level.

His upside might not be enough to convince a team to take a chance in the first round, but Woods is sure to be a steal in the second or third round.


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