NFL Draft 2013: First-Round Wide Receivers Who Will Be Difference Makers

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent IApril 20, 2013

Dec 29, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Tavon Austin (1) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Syracuse Orange at the 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

In a 2013 NFL draft that has a slew of talent along the offensive and defensive lines, there are at least three wide receivers who should be selected in the first round based off of talent and the amount of NFL teams that are looking for help at the position.

It's never easy to predict how the draft will go down, but the following three wideouts have NFL talent and fit specific NFL teams' needs drafting in the first round.

Let's take a gander.


Tavon Austin, West Virginia

Tavon Austin should be the first wide receiver taken in the 2013 NFL draft thanks to his versatile style of play on the offensive side of the football.

To a passing offense, Austin is a dynamic threat in the slot who possesses elite speed and playmaking abilities to torch opposing defenses.

Not only is Austin effective in the passing game, he can be utilized as a rusher and return man as well. The 5'8" wideout rushed for 643 yards and three touchdowns in 2012 and added a touchdown in both the kick and punt return game.

I did say he was dynamic, didn't I?

Despite his height, Austin is a strong player, weighing in at 174 pounds to absorb contact to go with 4.34 speed, making him the most complete wide receiver in this year's class.

The Pick: St. Louis Rams (No. 16)


Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee

After an excellent showing at the NFL combine—highlighted by an impressive 40 time and vertical jump, I see Cordarrelle Patterson as a first rounder who can help any NFL team in 2013.'s scouting page compares the 6'2" wideout to current Denver Broncos Pro Bowl wideout Demaryius Thomas. While I'm not willing to go that far, I do think Patterson has the height and speed to be an NFL receiver. 

Similar to Tavon Austin, Patterson was utilized on the ground and in the return game in college and had success, scoring touchdowns on punt and kick returns and adding three rushing scores. GMs may be looking toward his performance against Troy—when Patterson hauled in nine catches for 219 yards and a touchdown—as evidence of his talent.

Despite Kareem Copeland's, of, reports that Patterson is viewed as a project, I think the skill set speaks for itself.

The Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 17)


Keenan Allen, California

Already drawing comparisons to Jordy Nelson (h/t, Keenan Allen is going to be the key component of an NFL offense in 2013.

He's big (6'2") and has the necessary height and ball skills to go up and win jump-ball battles as well as stretch the defense on passing plays downfield. He's not the type of receiver who's going to beat you with speed, but, rather, Allen's game is built upon skill and body strength.

Playing in just nine games last season at California, Allen posted 61 receptions, 737 yards and six touchdowns, highlighted by 11 catches, 166 yards and a score vs. Washington State.

Allen has No. 1 potential on any NFL team, but I think he's better served going to a team with a veteran wide receiver who can help him grow and ease into his NFL role.

The Pick: Minnesota Vikings (No. 23)


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