NFL Draft 2014: Rumors and Predicted Landing Spots for Top Wide Receivers

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIApril 10, 2014

Jan 3, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Sammy Watkins (2) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first half of the 2014 Orange Bowl college football game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

With so many talented wide receivers in the 2014 NFL draft class, the rumors continue to swirl around them as teams figure out which prospects they'd like to try and bring in.

From 6'5'' red-zone threats to tiny and speedy slot receivers, this year's class of wideouts is one of the deepest in quite some time. In fact, Bleacher Report's own Matt Miller has 15 wide receivers ranked in the top 100 prospects of his post-combine big board.

Below is a look at some of the most recent rumors surrounding this year's top receivers along with predictions as to where they might end up.


Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State

Former Florida State receiver Kelvin Benjamin wasn't a top-tier prospect at the beginning of this past season, but after catching eight touchdowns in his last four games, it was hard to ignore what he was doing.

Benjamin's size has been the biggest reason scouts have been so impressed with him, and according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, that's the exact reason the New York Jets are reportedly interested him.

At 6'5'' and 240 pounds, Benjamin uses his size and strength to his full advantage, positioning his body to consistently make catches in traffic. Right now, drops are a bit more of a concern than they should be, but Benjamin's skills make him an instant red-zone threat as soon as he comes into the league.

Still, it seems a little early for the Jets to be thinking about taking Benjamin with the No. 18 overall pick when they could potentially get a player like Odell Beckham Jr. or Eric Ebron. If he's available in the second round, however, I wouldn't be surprised if the Jets picked him up.

Instead, I think that a team like the Seattle Seahawks will draft him with the No. 32 pick. The Seahawks just lost Sidney Rice and Golden Tate, and having the skills Benjamin brings to go along with Percy Harvin's skill set would give the Seahawks a very versatile group of receivers.

Prediction: Seattle Seahawks (No. 32 overall)


Sammy Watkins, Clemson

Feb 23, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Sammy Watkins participates in a pass catching drill during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

As arguably the top wide receiver in the class, a lot of teams are likely taking a very long look at Sammy Watkins, and one of those teams is apparently the Detroit Lions.

Dave Birkett from the Detroit Free Press wrote that the Lions are reportedly interested in trying to trade up for the former Clemson receiver, saying:

If the Detroit Lions want to land the best receiver in the draft, Clemson's Sammy Watkins, they'll have to trade up to get him. And the growing sense in league circles is that's the all-in sort of move the Lions, a team desperate to reverse its downtrodden luck, could be willing to make.

General manager Martin Mayhew and coach Jim Caldwell had dinner with him the night before his pro day last month, and both men stuck around to watch Watkins put on a show on the field.

As an outside receiver, Watkins appears to be the complete package. He has nice size at 6'1'' and 211 pounds, impressive straight-line speed, great body control, soft hands and can pick up tons of yards after the catch. 

Having Watkins and Calvin Johnson on the same offense would give the Lions one of the most intimidating passing offenses in the league, but it's going to be very hard for them to trade up that far unless they're willing to give up a lot.

Based on what he did in college, Watkins might not make it out of the top five picks. I think that the Oakland Raiders will have a very hard time passing on him, as he would be a terrific option for Matt Schaub in their offense.

Prediction: Oakland Raiders (No. 5 overall)


Brandin Cooks, Oregon State

Even before he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds at the NFL combine, via, Brandin Cooks was generating a lot of buzz as a potential first-round selection. After the impressive numbers in Indianapolis, Cooks almost seems like a lock to be drafted in the first 32 picks.

One team that appears to be interested in Cooks is the Philadelphia Eagles. ESPN's Adam Caplan mentioned on Twitter that Cooks was on the team's radar.

After releasing DeSean Jackson, the Eagles need a new speed threat at receiver to help open up the offense, and Cooks could be that player. While he's not as big as Jackson, Cooks has the speed and footwork to make quick cuts and burn by defensive backs.

At 5'10'', Cooks would be expected to play in the slot, but his skill set is impressive enough that he could likely still succeed on the outside.

Cooks recently talked about possibly playing for the Eagles and replacing Jackson, according to Jimmy Kempski of, saying:

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.

Cooks is one of the more intriguing prospects at the position given his size and speed, and he should be a productive player regardless of where he goes. Still, I love the fit in Chip Kelly's offense, and I think it's the perfect situation for him.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles (No. 22 overall)