NFL Draft

NFL Draft 2014: Explosive Playmakers Who Will Be First Round Picks

Clemson running back Sammy Watkins goes to the line of scrimmage during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday against Boston College, Oct. 12, 2013, at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C. Clemson won 24-14. (AP Photo/ Richard Shiro)
RICHARD SHIRO/Associated Press
David DanielsSenior Writer IJanuary 20, 2014

As many as eight receivers—wide outs and tight ends—could hear their names called in Round 1 of the 2014 NFL Draft.

While this year's class is loaded with explosive playmakers, six stand out from the rest of the talented pack as guaranteed Day 1 prospects. Here are the elite of the elite.

 

6. Jace Amaro (TE, Texas Tech)

Call him a poor blocker. Call him a one-year wonder. But this poor blocker terrorized opposing defenses as much as any receiver in college football in his one wondrous year.

The 6'5", 260-pounder reeled in a whopping 106 receptions for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013 for the Red Raiders. While he didn't play in a pro-style offense, routes can be taught—6'5", 260 pounds can't.

 

5. Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida St.)

Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston's favorite red-zone target, Benjamin shined more than any Seminoles receiver this season. And that's saying something.

The 6'5", 234-pounder caught 54 balls for 1,011 yards and 15 touchdowns en route to a national championship. Just imagine the numbers that he would've put up had he not shared an offense with Rashad Greene, Kenny Shaw and Nick O'Leary.

 

4. Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina)

While Benjamin's stat line was likely less impressive than it could've been if he weren't surrounded by so much talent, Ebron's stat line suffered due to a lack of talent around him. The No. 1 tight end in the 2014 draft class caught 64 balls for 973 yards and three touchdowns this season.

His numbers don't compare to Amaro's, but don't be fooled by numbers alone. Unlike Amaro, Ebron played in a pro-style offense (with two not-so-amazing QBs in Bryn Renner and Marquise Williams throwing him the football). Ebron also holds an edge in the blocking department.

 

3. Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M)

As you can probably tell by now, this receiving class is a big deal—not only due to talent but also to size. Evans doesn't buck the trend, measuring in at 6'5", 225 pounds.

Johnny Manziel's favorite receiver racked up 69 receptions for 1,394 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. He's definitely not a one-year wonder. He caught 82 balls as a freshman in 2012.

 

2. Marqise Lee (WR, USC)

Hampered by injuries (and another not-so-amazing QB in Cody Kessler), Lee had a down season statistically. However, he was healthy for the Las Vegas Bowl against No. 20 Fresno State, and he reeled in seven receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns. His previous campaign is what scouts are still drooling about, though.

He caught 118 balls for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2012. At 6'0", 195 pounds, Lee isn't as large as the other top receivers in the class, but no one has had a more productive single season than the Trojan.

 

1. Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson)

As much talent as there is at receiver this year, Watkins is the only one with the potential to be one of the first five players taken in the entire draft. Not only is the 6'1", 205-pound blazer expected to dominate the combine, but he has an otherwordly on-field resume as well.

He racked up 101 receptions for 1,464 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. 2012 was a down year due to multiple physical ailments, but his freshman stat line read 82 catches for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns. Watkins possesses the potential to be one of the best deep threats in the NFL.

 

David Daniels is a breaking news writer for Bleacher Report and news editor for Wade-O Radio.

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