Going into the 2014 NFL draft, some wide receivers dominate the hype machine. Players like Sammy Watkins, Marqise Lee and Mike Evans have made their way into a good number of mock drafts around the web.
That said, many wide receivers haven't gotten the credit they deserve. For whatever reason (lack of size, bad 2013 season, undefined role), some wideouts have slid down draft boards.
In the 2013 NFL draft, now-Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen fell all the way to the third round before San Diego nabbed him. He's been a star in Mike McCoy's offense despite a draft-day slide.
Look for a few of the following receivers to perform similarly in the coming years. The draft rankings provided are courtesy of CBS Sports.
2013 Stat Line: 77 receptions, 1,032 yards, five touchdowns
Size: 6’0”, 182 lbs
Alex Amidon was "the guy" at Boston College. Amidon is adept at finding the soft spot in defenses and will be able to establish rapport with whoever quarterback he plays alongside in the NFL. The Eagle can line up at split end and slot receiver; his versatility will be key to his value in the draft.
CBS Draft Ranking: No. 50 WR, No. 441 Overall, Undrafted FA
2013 Stat Line: 38 receptions, 867 yards, eight touchdowns
Size: 5’10”, 170 lbs
A true athletic specimen, Tevin Reese was one of the main reasons that Baylor put up as many points as it did this season. Reese is a matchup nightmare in the slot, because he combines legitimate speed with scary agility. He has NFL-level quickness and could make a T.Y. Hilton-like impact early on in his career.
CBS Draft Ranking: No. 34 WR, No. 255 Overall, Round 7
2013 Stat Line: 34 receptions, 538 yards, four touchdowns
Size: 6’6”, 220 lbs
A big-bodied wideout with a great catch radius, Brandon Coleman has fallen down some draft boards due to a poor 2013 season. That said, the raw talent is there, and Coleman deserves to be a high pick. While he doesn’t have the polish of many of the other receivers in the draft, it’s not outrageous to think that he could develop into a true No. 1 at the next level.
CBS Draft Ranking: No. 17 WR, No. 115 Overall, Round 3-4
2013 Stat Line: 68 rushes, 527 rushing yards, six rushing touchdowns, 25 receptions, 327 receiving yards, four receiving touchdowns
Size: 5’8”, 175 lbs
One of the most unique players in this year’s draft class, Dri Archer would benefit from a creative offensive coordinator and wide-open offense at the next level. Yes, he’s undersized, but Archer has unrivaled moves in the open field. He can be a gamebreaker if he gets the ball in space.
CBS Draft Ranking: No. 39 WR, No. 292 Overall, Round 7-FA
2013 Stat Line: 67 receptions, 803 yards, six touchdowns
Size: 5’10”, 190 lbs
Michael Campanaro has an impressive skill set and should transition well to the next level as a slot receiver. He was more than productive at Wake Forest and his combination of soft hands and well-run routes make him a valuable commodity. Don’t be surprised if he produces prolifically in the NFL.
CBS Draft Ranking: No. 25 WR, No. 178 Overall, Round 5-6
2013 Stat Line: 89 receptions, 1,373 yards, nine touchdowns
Size: 5’8”, 185 lbs
Another player whose draft stock has been adversely affected by his lack of size, Jeremy Gallon is an NFL-caliber receiver who makes up for his short stature with impressive ball skills and the ability to make big plays after the catch. Gallon will carve out a nice role for himself in the pros.
CBS Draft Ranking: No. 35 WR, No. 259 Overall, Round 7
2013 Stat Line: 78 receptions, 1,081 yards, seven touchdowns
Size: 6’2”, 190 lbs
Another productive wideout who isn’t getting his due in the predraft process, Jared Abbrederis finds a way to make plays. Though he went against some of the best defenses in the country, the Badger always managed to make an impact on the game. He plays well within a defined system and will be a valuable NFLer.
CBS Draft Ranking: No. 14 WR, No. 94 Overall, Round 3
2013 Stat Line: 61 receptions, 729 yards, eight touchdowns
Size: 5’9”, 157 lbs
Oklahoma was one of the best teams in all of college football this season, and Jalen Saunders was a big reason why. Saunders made plays all over the field and can line up anywhere on offense, which contributes to his draft value. Saunders is a Swiss army knife who can succeed in many different schemes.
CBS Draft Ranking: No. 23 WR, No. 165 Overall, Round 5