Marqise Lee, USC
Marqise Lee had a down year; there’s no denying that. But that was due to nagging injuries, questionable play-calling and inconsistent quarterback play.
In the Las Vegas Bowl, Lee looked healthier than he had all season and displayed his quickness and long speed en route to seven receptions for 118 yards and two TDs (albeit against a shaky Fresno State secondary).
Lee has everything you want from the wide receiver position: speed, route running, excellent hands and the ability to gain consistent separation from defenders.
He’s a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands and also has the explosiveness to take the top off defenses. There’s nothing the former Trojan can’t do, and he would be a tremendous value pick (given his talent and polish) in the middle of the first round.
Mike Evans, Texas A&M
Many Ravens fans are clamoring for Mike Evans to be the pick in the first round, and it’s not hard to see why. You only have to look at him.
He’s a monster, at 6’5” and 225 pounds. Even in the NFL, he’ll have a significant size advantage against most cornerbacks, where he can win jump balls and box out defenders to create space. Remembering a happier time when Joe Flacco was lofting up jump balls to Anquan Boldin in the Super Bowl, Evans seems like a natural fit for Baltimore.
And he would be. Just not over Lee.
Evans has plenty of physical tools, but there are some concerns over his lack of speed. He’s a long strider with underrated deep speed, but he hasn’t yet showcased the quickness or footwork to gain separation from cornerbacks and break quickly out of routes.
He certainly has the ceiling of a dominant NFL receiver, but there is also the chance that he never learns how to frequently get separation at the next level. He’ll always be a red-zone force, but he’s not as safe as Marqise Lee.
Allen Robinson, Penn State
Allen Robinson is an intriguing prospect whose position on various draft boards will vary quite considerably. Some will view him as one of the best receivers in the class, with solid measurables that Rob Rang of CBSSports highlights well:
Robinson, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound junior, is the physical prototype, blending great size, strength and acceleration to project as a future NFL star. He's much more fluid than his lanky frame would suggest and showed great power and determination in this contest, fighting off would-be tacklers to generate yards after the catch.
Furthermore, his route-running ability stands out on film, as Rang points out:
As the clear focal point in head coach Bill O'Brien's quick-hitting pro-style attack, Robinson isn't just talented, he's developing into a polished route-runner and hands-catcher. He's used on a variety of routes which just make his projection to the NFL that much easier.
Robinson is a fundamentally sound receiver who the potential to turn into a star. He might be a reach in the middle of the first round, but the Ravens will have no qualms about snagging him if they rate him that highly.