NFL Draft 2014: Best Landing Spots for Top Wideouts

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2014

Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks makes a catch during a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy

The 2014 class is one of the deepest in recent memory at the wide receiver position, so teams on the hunt for an instant contributor have plenty of time on draft day to pick and choose the proper fit.

Still, there is a clear divide between the top names and the rest. Like any rookie, a proper environment based on coaches, other players and schematic fit is a must for his success at the next level.

The following is a look at the top three wideouts in the class and their perfect fit to ensure their pro success.


Sammy Watkins: Cleveland Browns

Don't rule out Sammy Watkins going No. 4 overall to the Cleveland Browns. He sure isn't:

This makes too much sense. Watkins is widely hailed as the top receiver in the class thanks to his electric overall package. He has the ability to produce as a returner as well, but he will shine in any offense.

There are even those scouts who believe Watkins is a better pro prospect than A.J. Green, as stated by ESPN's Mel Kiper on the First Draft podcast, via Rotoworld.

This is especially the case in Cleveland. Regardless of whether it is a rookie or Brian Hoyer under center, defenses can only afford to throw so much attention Watkins' way. With Josh Gordon being the No. 1, Andrew Hawkins in the slot and Jordan Cameron at tight end, Watkins can run wild as a rookie.

If the ultimate goal is for Watkins to make an immediate impact that translates into a lengthy pro career, his best bet is Cleveland.

Runner Up: Tampa Bay


Mike Evans: Detroit Lions

This is rather simple. Mike Evans is a massive target at 6'5" and 231 pounds who absorbs most anything thrown his way thanks to his frame, sure hands and ability to attack the ball at its highest point.

While the Detroit Lions added Golden Tate in free agency, there may still be another spot for an offense that needs as many targets as possible to complement Calvin Johnson. Interestingly enough, NFL Network's Gil Brandt says Evans compares favorably to Johnson in more ways than just the measurables department:

Which is why Detroit is such a great team for Evans. It was more ideal from a statistics standpoint before Tate joined, but the pass-happy offense has plenty of numbers to go around.

Runner Up: Philadelphia


Brandin Cooks: Philadelphia Eagles 

Now that DeSean Jackson is out of the picture, the Philadelphia Eagles are a legit contender to grab a wide receiver in the first round. In an ideal world, the team would turn to a similar prospect who comes at a cheaper price and would surely produce in Chip Kelly's offense.

That prospect would be Brandin Cooks, who says he'd be happy to join the Eagles and fill Jackson's shoes, as captured by Jimmy Kempski of

His game is unbelievable. The man can blow the top off, catch the deep routes, catch the underneath routes, produce in the return game. He’s just special. He’s a freak. I definitely admire his game. Maybe Chip Kelly is looking to take another speedy receiver in that first round, and that could be me. Who knows? And if that’s the case, a lot of people will wonder ‘Can he do it like DeSean Jackson?’ In my opinion, I can do it like him and do it better.

The jury is out on that last bit, as no rookie has an easy transition to the NFL, but perhaps Cooks is on to something. In the confines of Kelly's high-flying attack that most said wouldn't work in the pros, the Eagles posted gaudy numbers and allowed Jackson to have a career-best year a season ago.

Cooks is similar to players like Jackson, Steve Smith and Wes Welker. In Philadelphia, he'd be an immediate top option on the offense. As far as landing spots go, Cooks doesn't really have a better option than with Kelly and Co.

Runner Up: New England


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