NFL Draft 100: Matt Miller's Top Wide Receivers & Tight Ends

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterApril 29, 2014

NFL Draft 100: Matt Miller's Top Wide Receivers & Tight Ends

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    Wilfredo Lee

    Who are the best pass-catchers in the NFL draft class of 2014? That's a tricky question—especially when you factor in the best tight ends and wide receivers. 

    This year's class has elite speed and upside at both positions, and, thanks to the heavy influx of underclassmen added to the group, there is rare talent available. The current record of six wide receivers drafted in the first round could easily fall this year.

    But who does it best? That's the goal of the NFL Draft 100. Looking at the film, who is the best prospect?

    The B/R NFL Draft 100 metric is based on scouting each player and grading the key criteria for each position. The criteria are weighted according to importance on a 100-point scale. Unlike our NFL 1000 series, this project factors in upside for each player, as the NFL draft is as much about upside as it is about production.

    Putting wide receivers and tight ends together, these are the rankings. Wide receivers are judged on hands (40 points), speed (20 points), route running (20) and upside (20). Tight ends were graded based on hands (35 points), blocking (5), route running (20), speed (20) and upside (20). Both groups were also graded on all of the technique, athletic ability and football intelligence needed to play the position.

    In the case of ties, the ranking is based on which player I prefer personally.

    Subjective? Yes. But ties are no fun.

    I scouted each player with these key criteria in mind. The following scouting reports and grades are the work of months of film study and in-person evaluation.

21. Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado

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    Michael Conroy

    Hands

    32/40

    A solid receiver with long arms and big speed, Paul Richardson attacks the football and has the production to prove it. Projecting him to the NFL, you worry about a lack of size and strength to challenge defenders for contested passes. He doesn't high-point the ball exceptionally well, although he does show nice body adjustment to make catches while on the run. He has the agility and balance to track deep balls over either shoulder, but cannot get body-position on defenders to box out and shield the ball. To excel as a slot or underneath receiver in the NFL, Richardson must do a better job as a hands-catcher and work to pluck the ball out of the air.  

    Speed

    19/20

    With legit 4.4-flat speed, Richardson is a burner. He can quickly get away from defenders and uses that burst well on underneath routes and after the catch. Richardson is dangerous if he can get loose from defenders.

    Route Running

    16/20

    A solid underneath receiver, Richardson may struggle to win against NFL defensive backs at 175 pounds. He's not a physical threat and can get rubbed off his route. What you like in his game is the instant-quickness he brings at the top of his route stem, and a loose-hipped ability to accelerate out of his breaks.

    Upside

    16/20

    Richardson has the profile of a future slot receiver in the NFL, but could develop into a No. 2 wide receiver on his high-end ceiling. There's developmental potential, but he's not growing or becoming more physical as a receiver. 

    Overall

    83/100

20. Robert Herron, Wide Receiver, Wyoming

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    Michael Conroy

    Hands

    36/40

    A smaller wide receiver with big hands and plenty of speed, Robert Herron was a go-to threat at Wyoming. As a pass-catcher he does well tracking the ball over his shoulder and has proven his worth as a deep threat. Herron did a good job bringing in contested passes thrown over the middle or out around the seam, but doesn't offer much as a jump-ball receiver. He had big games against better competition (Texas in 2012, notably) and is a very dependable receiver on the routes the Wyoming offense asked him to run. 

    Speed

    19/20

    A true burner up the field, Herron has the first- and second-gear to pull away from top-tier defenders on go routes and after the catch. If he's not shadowed by defenders, he'll get loose and create big plays.  

    Route Running

    15/20

    An experienced deep threat—think of DeSean Jackson's route tree—Herron can come into the NFL and work as a slot receiver from the jump. He's quick enough out of cuts to be a factor on shorter routes, but needs to work on his timing and ability to sell routes. He's very green as a developed route-runner currently. 

    Upside

    16/20

    Herron is an intriguing athlete and receiver, but lacks the body to play outside primarily in the NFL. If he can stay healthy, there's room for him to develop into a very solid third-option. 

    Overall

    84/100

19. Kevin Norwood, Wide Receiver, Alabama

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    Michael Conroy

    Hands

    39/40

    Kevin Norwood has some of the strongest hands you'll see among all wide receivers in the 2014 draft class. Coming out of a pro-style offense, he's been asked to play on the boundary and shows off great concentration and strength in bringing in the ball. Norwood is a true hands-catcher with the ability to make circus catches.

    Speed

    16/20

    Norwood impressed with a 4.48-second run in the 40-yard dash, but didn't play to that timed speed on film. His straight-line speed is better than his short-area quickness and ability to explode off the line and out of breaks. 

    Route Running 

    16/20

    Norwood is an experienced route-runner with the developed fundamentals to show high-level timing and the subtle intricacies to sell routes on the fly. He's smooth out of breaks and has the footwork to beat defenders, but isn't a great runner after the break in his route and could struggle to separate from NFL defenders.

    Upside

    13/20

    As an older player (he will turn 25 on September 23), Norwood is maxed out athletically. Coming out of a pro-style atmosphere and system at Alabama, it's reasonable to wonder how much better he can get at the position. 

    Overall

    84/100

18. Jordan Matthews, Wide Receiver, Vanderbilt

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    Michael Conroy

    Hands

    34/40

    Jordan Matthews looks the part of a starting wide receiver with his 6'3" frame and high-waisted build. As a pass-catcher, he leaves something to be desired. The Vanderbilt system asked Matthews to catch a ton of screens and short-passes—which he did well—but he struggled to haul the football in over the middle. He's a bit soft there and will be timid in extending to attack the ball away from his frame. Matthews has the body to reel in any ball, but is just overly inconsistent as a hands-catcher. This is contrary to Matthews' overall profile as a tough, hard-working player.

    Speed

    17/20

    Matthews timed (4.46) faster than his film shows. And while he does have good straight-line speed to run away from a defense, you won't see great quickness in and out of breaks and cuts. 

    Route Running

    18/20

    A nuanced route-runner, Matthews looks like a veteran moving through his route tree. He doesn't leave college with a wide variety of routes coming out of the Vanderbilt offense, but is a top-tier technician on shorter routes (screens, quick slants, comebacks). He doesn't offer much as a deep threat.  

    Upside

    15/20

    Matthews has maxed out his ability as an athlete and doesn't look to be able to gain explosiveness or power to become a better deep ball/contested receiver. His ceiling is as a third-option in a pro passing game. 

    Overall

    84/100

17. Bruce Ellington, Wide Receiver, South Carolina

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    Michael Conroy

    Hands

    35/40

    If the trend of taking basketball players and making them pass-catchers holds true, South Carolina wide receiver/point guard Bruce Ellington may be next. At 5'9", 197 pounds, he doesn't have great length and can struggle to pull in passes away from his body. He does work the middle of the field well, though, and is physical in his approach. Ellington won't be intimidated by linebackers and safeties and can attack the ball expecting a big hit. He shows soft hands when adjusting to make catches over the shoulder. 

    Speed

    19/20

    Ellington has the speed and burst to stretch the field and take the top off a defense. He's incredibly quick in and out of cuts and has shown the pure speed to affect the game as a receiver and as a return man. 

    Route Running

    15/20

    Coming out of South Carolina, he's a raw, under-developed route-runner that needs work. The agility exists for him to be a good breaking-route receiver, but he needs more consistency on timing and steps in his route. Ellington doesn't show the strength to succeed against press coverage. 

    Upside

    16/20

    Ellington has room to improve as a player now that his focus is on football 100 percent of the time, but his best projection remains as a slot receiver and return man. 

    Overall

    85/100

16. Troy Niklas, Tight End, Notre Dame

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    Michael Conroy

    Hands

    32/35

    Troy Niklas is new to the tight end position after coming to Notre Dame as an outside linebacker. But that hasn't stopped Bruce Matthews' nephew from quickly showing off his hands. Niklas has soft hands and is able to bring in difficult grabs away from his body. He catches well over the middle or up the seam into space, but could stand to become a more physical receiver on jump balls. Given his size (6'6", 270 lbs), you expect him to be more of a weapon vertically. Niklas has big upside as a receiver, given his natural tools (hands, length, vision), but needs more reps. 

    Blocking

    3/5

    Niklas has the bulk, length and power to become a very good blocker on the line of scrimmage. He shows good angle alignment and does seal off and close down on the defensive line well. He can be a guy that walls off the defense, but doesn't yet show great accuracy or awareness as a lead blocker in space. 

    Route Running

    16/20

    Niklas' newness to the position shows in his route running. He's big, and has good agility, but struggles to sell the route. He needs work on breaking routes and learning how to cut and change direction without slowing down or giving away the route. Learning to be more physical will be key for Niklas.

    Speed

    16/20

    Niklas is a stiff mover on the field, but does show good athleticism. He doesn't show great speed—estimated in the high 4.7-range on film—and hasn't timed in the pre-draft process due to rehab from surgery. 

    Upside

    18/20

    A two-year player at tight end, Niklas has considerable room to improve at the position. If healthy—he's coming off double-hernia surgery—he could make an impact from Day 1. 

    Overall

    85/100

15. Kelvin Benjamin, Wide Receiver, Florida State

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    Michael Conroy

    Hands

    33/40

    A big, long, talented wide receiver, Kelvin Benjamin was a massive producer for Florida State in 2013. His 15 touchdowns showed his skills as a red-zone threat, and that's what has NFL teams most excited. He's an inconsistent pass-catcher, though, and must improve here before he's ready to be a go-to threat. Benjamin struggles with securing the ball away before making an upfield move. He'll also flat-out drop an easy pass in the flat or on comeback routes. That's contradicted by his strong hands when jumping for a 50/50 ball or in a clutch situation. The bigger the moment, the better Benjamin plays. He's made incredible grabs while letting the easy pass get into his pads. 

    Speed

    16/20

    For his size, Benjamin moves very well in a straight-line. He timed at 4.61 seconds in the 40-yard dash and shows that ability on film. He doesn't have great acceleration skills, though, and there are very few NFL cornerbacks he would be able to outrun, pre- or post-catch. Benjamin doesn't bring yards-after-catch ability to the pros. 

    Route Running

    16/20

    A very linear route-runner with a limited route tree, Benjamin doesn't sink into his routes or show great flexibility while in motion. He's predominantly a go-route receiver or breaking back to the ball to aide a scrambling quarterback. His development as a route-runner will be key to his success in the NFL. He's a jump-ball receiver, though, and does use his frame well to box out defenders and get inside positioning on all routes.

    Upside

    20/20

    Just a redshirt sophomore when he left Florida State, Benjamin showed improvement in each of his two seasons on the field. He has untapped potential and upside, but is also one of the bigger boom-or-bust players at the position if drafted too high. 

    Overall

    85/100

14. Martavis Bryant, Wide Receiver, Clemson

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    Michael Conroy

    Hands

    31/40

    An athletic specimen at 6'4", 211 pounds, and with legitimate 4.4 speed, Martavis Bryant has all the talents and athletic traits of a No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL. What he lacks is a refined ability to play the position, and that starts with his hands. He's an inconsistent pass-catcher who lets the ball into his body far too often. He does adjust well on the fly and make the difficult over-the-shoulder catch, but has too many focus drops. That struggle to make the easy catch while owning the hard one tends to show a focus and concentration issue over just having poor hands, but Bryant must become more dependable before he can become an NFL threat.

    Speed

    19/20

    A scary mover in space given his size, Bryant has electric straight-line speed. His ability to maneuver through breaks is top-tier, and he's shifty enough to make defenders miss in the open field.  

    Route Running

    15/20

    The Clemson offense took advantage of defenders not being able to tackle with a passing game designed around screens and go routes. Bryant can run both, but not much more. He doesn't work the middle of the field well and can be timid when asked to attack a contested pass. He has to develop as a numbered route-runner in a pro-style offense. 

    Upside

    20/20

    A true boom-or-bust player, Bryant has all the tools to be an exciting No. 1 wide receiver, but only if he becomes more consistent as a hands-catcher and a more nuanced route-runner.

    Overall

    85/100

13. Marqise Lee, Wide Receiver, USC

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    Michael Conroy

    Hands

    31/40

    Marqise Lee is one of the most well-known wide receivers in college football. The USC product has the stats to back it up, but the film shows a more inconsistent picture. Lee, in both 2012 and 2013, struggled with drops. Many of the inconsistencies are when asked to go over the middle or work through traffic to get the ball. When making plays in single coverage or up the field, Lee does a good job adjusting for the ball and pulling it in away from his body. Unlike most receivers, he struggles with the easy pitch-and-catch, but can make the harder catch tracking the ball deep. 

    Speed

    18/20

    Lee has the speed to be a threat after the catch and also shows promise as a return man. He accelerates well out of breaks and can be deceptive in his ability to push upfield in a hurry. He doesn't run with much strength, but is fast in space.

    Route Running

    20/20

    The best route-runner of all the 2014 wide receivers, Lee runs a varied route tree and shows the hip flexibility and vision you want on the edge. He can easily change gears and accelerate or decelerate with ease, which throws defenders off balance. He uses his eyes well to sell routes and excels against man or zone coverage. 

    Upside

    17/20

    The instant-impact ability from Lee is strong, but the biggest concerns are sizable red flags. In 2013, he simply could not stay healthy, and, given his smaller stature (6'0", 192 lbs), that's an issue. Lee battled knee, shoulder and leg injuries all in one season. He's also showed consistent struggles with drops. Put the two together, and he's less of a sure-thing than many might expect.

    Overall

    86/100

12. Allen Robinson, Wide Receiver, Penn State

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    Michael Conroy

    Hands

    35/40

    At 6'2", Allen Robinson has the size to survive on the edge of an NFL offense. In the hands department, he also shows the skills to do well there. He's an agile player with the concentration to make difficult grabs away from his body, but also shows the strength and leaping skills to go up and attack jump balls. He can struggle with deep tracking over his shoulder and works best when he has his chest to the ball. Playing over the middle, Robinson is at his best if lead into the ball instead of having the pass put on his body. 

    Speed

    16/20

    Robinson doesn't have that top-tier speed at the position, but did turn in a solid 4.60 in the 40-yard dash. Given his size (220 lbs) and style of play, that's an acceptable time. He may not track fast, but he has been able to pick up yards post-catch as a runner, so his field speed does produce plays. 

    Route Running

    18/20

    The Penn State offense under Bill O'Brien was a true NFL system, and Robinson comes to the pros ready to run any route in the playbook. He definitely excels outside the hashes as opposed to working in traffic, but has the hips and feet to sell routes and pull away from defenders on breaking routes. He doesn't have the speed to simply run away from a cornerback and must become better at making contested catches. 

    Upside

    17/20

    Robinson was a highly productive player at Penn State, but was only in a pro system for two seasons. As developed as he is as a route-runner, there's room for him to become more of a competitor over the middle and further improve his route game. 

    Overall

    86/100

11. Jarvis Landry, Wide Receiver, LSU

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    Jonathan Bachman

    Hands

    40/40

    Jarvis Landry has the hands every quarterback wants in his go-to receiver. He's incredibly focused, but also shows the strength in his grip to make ridiculous catches away from his body. Landry adjusts well to make the catch low, away or above his head. He whips his head around fast and looks the ball in, showing with each catch a completed process of tucking the ball away before making a football move. Landry may not be big (5'11", 205 lbs), but he does attack jump balls and will beat defenders on contested passes. He's an aggressive receiver, and, if the ball is thrown his way, he believes it belongs to him.

    Speed

    14/20

    Throw out Landry's 4.77 time at the combine, as he pulled up injured. That said, his Pro Day time of 4.61 seconds is not ideal for a player his size. Landry does play faster than his time, but it's a red flag when comparing him to the bigger, faster, more physical players at the position. 

    Route Running

    17/20

    Landry shows NFL-readiness as a route-runner. He's balanced and quick, showing confidence in his ability to sell routes and throw off a defender. He accelerates well at the top of the route, but will struggle to run away from defenders in the NFL. Especially if asked to be a slot receiver, he's going to find it harder to get off the line of scrimmage. He is not a deep threat due to speed limitations. 

    Upside

    15/20

    The NFL has seen many wide receivers with less-than-ideal speed become instant contributors, and Jarvis Landry could be next on that list. However, when weighing his value, the lack of speed is limiting his upside.  

    Overall

    86/100

10. Donte Moncrief, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss

12 of 21

    Michael Conroy

    Hands

    32/40

    One of the most physically gifted receivers in the class, Donte Moncrief has huge potential. He needs work, though. Too often you will see Moncrief let the ball bounce in his hands—which leads to plenty of double-grip catches. He shows great jumping ability, and will pull the ball down from a high point, but will conversely let an easy catch bounce off his fingers. Concentration is the key for Moncrief, who has the talent but isn't yet refined. 

    Speed

    19/20

    At 6'2" and 221 pounds, Moncrief turned heads with a 4.40 sprint in the 40-yard dash at the combine. That, coupled with his explosive 39.5" vertical and 132" broad jump, shows just how explosive he is. It shows up on film, too, as Moncrief has the speed to be dangerous after the catch, but must run more violently. 

    Route Running

    15/20

    An incredibly raw route tree has Moncrief less than ready for the NFL. He's able to physically dominate on shorter routes and jump balls, but doesn't show the change-of-direction skills to break off his route and pull away from coverage. He must learn to use his size to attack the ball and gain positioning against smaller defenders. 

    Upside

    20/20

    Moncrief has all the physical tools to be an elite wide receiver talent, but he needs work as a technician. If he can develop as a route-runner, the athleticism he brings to the table could make him a top-tier No. 1 receiver. 

    Overall

    86/100

9. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tight End, Washington

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez

    Hands

    34/35

    The 2013 John Mackey Award winner for the nation's best tight end, Austin Seferian-Jenkins didn't have the best production in his junior season, but his impact was big. Throughout his career he showed strong, dependable hands to make plays away from his frame or pull in traffic grabs. He has the big catch radius teams want and shows the willingness to go up and attack jump balls. He adjusts to throws well—and saved his quarterbacks' tail on more than one occasion by hauling in poor throws.  

    Blocking

    3/5

    While not an elite in-line blocker, Seferian-Jenkins has improved in this area. He attacks defenders well and is strong enough to chip or combo block a pass-rusher. In the run game, he's at his best taking an angle and walling-off a defender as opposed to a straight head-up block. 

    Route Running

    18/20

    You can tell that Seferian-Jenkins spent time as a basketball player in college. He loves to post up a defender and uses his size well to find positioning in the red zone. He attacks the ball well on contested passes and can be a fade-route receiver. He doesn't have a great burst out of his breaks, but shows great awareness that makes up for his lack of speed.

    Speed

    15/20

    Injuries have limited Seferian-Jenkins' speed on film, but he's a better athlete than his tested times may show. He has enough get-up to stretch the defense up the seam and can pull away from defenders after the catch. Determining his playing weight will be key in knowing how fast he is, as he has seen his size fluctuate in college. 

    Upside

    17/20

    The Washington offense didn't best take advantage of Seferian-Jenkins' rare talents. In an NFL scheme, where he'll be moved around to find matchups and mismatches, he could excel as an athletic weapon at tight end. 

    Overall

    87/100

8. Jace Amaro, Tight End, Texas Tech

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    Eric Gay

    Hands

    33/35

    Jace Amaro fits the mold of a flex tight end in today's spread-out NFL passing game. Amaro has a great wingspan and attacks the ball away from his body. He's a hands-catcher, but did struggle in drills at the combine to pull the ball in during the gauntlet drill. On film, you see him making a ton of uncontested catches, so there are concerns about his ability to step into an NFL system and make those grabs in traffic. He has all the tools to improve here, but needs work to make the catch the first time around and not become a double-clutcher.

    Blocking

    2/5

    More of a slot tight end than an in-line guy, Amaro doesn't offer much as a straight-away blocker. He can come down the line and seal off a defender, but won't push the pile or affect the run game given his existing tools.  

    Route Running

    18/20

    Forget that Amaro is listed as a tight end, because his route tree was that of an inside receiver. He shows a clean, fluid release into routes and can beat press coverage in the slot. He doesn't have a great body or functional strength to take on an outside linebacker in the jam, but can release into the route with quickness and burst. He needs work in sinking into routes to break off his cuts more cleanly. 

    Speed

    17/20

    A linear, straight-line player, Amaro has good up-the-field speed. He doesn't show great quickness in and out of breaks, but has enough speed (4.74 in the 40) to pull away from linebackers. If matched up with a safety, he could have problems separating and making plays post-catch. 

    Upside

    19/20

    Given the uniqueness of the Tech scheme, Amaro has room to be developed into a pro-level tight end. As a blocker, route-runner and even as a pure catcher, he shows the upside to become a more well-rounded player. 

    Overall

    89/100

7. Davante Adams, Wide Receiver, Fresno State

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    Michael Conroy

    Hands

    39/40

    If you like Michael Crabtree, you're going to love Davante Adams. The Fresno State redshirt sophomore is a clone of the San Francisco 49ers receiver. In just two seasons, Adams set the Mountain West Conference's record for career touchdowns (38) and became a go-to target for Derek Carr. Adams shows strong hands and elite concentration. He makes the tough catch away from his frame, whether the ball is hovering just over the turf or well outside his reach. He'll make the one-handed catch or track the ball expertly over his shoulder to pull in a tear-drop throw. He's a natural receiver with instant-impact gifts. 

    Speed

    16/20

    Adams doesn't show the burst to beat defenders over the top and isn't a deep threat up the field. He does have good short-area quickness to separate underneath and can make some plays with the ball in his hands. A speed receiver he is not, though, and doesn't show much ability as a quick-twitch player. 

    Route Running

    16/20

    Adams needs work acclimating to an NFL-style route tree, but instantly you see him winning contested balls and using his size (6'1", 212 lbs) to gain positioning underneath and inside of defenders. He's not strong enough to beat jams and could struggle if playing on the line of scrimmage in the NFL. He must learn to use his hands and agility to come cleanly off the line.  

    Upside

    18/20

    Just 21 years old, Adams is still very raw as a player. In a horizontal passing game, he wasn't asked to develop much as a route-runner and has good upside to improve there given his size and incredible hands.

    Overall

    89/100

6. Cody Latimer, Wide Receiver, Indiana

16 of 21

    Doug McSchooler

    Hands

    39/40

    Indiana's Cody Latimer has all the tools to be a No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL. As a pass-catcher, he shows strong hands and is very dependable making catches on his body or away from his frame. With his long arm length (32 5/8"), he's able to pluck the ball out of space. Latimer (6'2", 215 lbs) is also a talented enough leaper to high-point the ball. He'll catch in traffic as well as in space and doesn't show any concentration issues. 

    Speed

    17/20

    Latimer's playing speed and timed speed are different, but it does show his potential. His pro day time of 4.38 seconds is blazing for his size. Now the question is can he learn to use that timed speed on the field. Latimer must become more fluid and more aggressive after the catch and in his routes. Now that he's healthy, we could see much better field speed from his tape. 

    Route Running

    15/20

    Latimer must develop more as a route runner to the point where he's able to sink his hips and explode out of breaks. He has the speed and body control, but needs to be taught how to use those tools. Currently, he doesn't pull away from defenders well and is left making a lot of contested catches. His current route tree consists mostly of comebacks and quick hits off the line. 

    Upside

    18/20

    Latimer has seen a big rise on draft boards since he's been healthy, but it's warranted. As talented as he is currently, there's room for him to grow as a route-runner. It's also a safe bet that, given more reps in a pro system, he'll produce. 

    Overall

    89/100

5. Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver, Oregon State

17 of 21

    Michael Conroy

    Hands

    37/40

    Brandin Cooks was voted college football's best wide receiver in 2013—and took home the Fred Biletnikoff Award as such. The former Beaver shows incredibly fast hands and an ability to track the football away from his body. His eyes and focus are top-tier, and he won't forget to put the football away before turning upfield to use his game-changing speed. The only knock on Cooks is that his smaller size (5'10", 189 lbs) will limit his ability to make contested catches in the NFL. And, while he shows good deep speed and body adjustment, he won't be a jump-ball threat or fight for the ball in traffic. 

    Speed

    20/20

    An absolute burner, Cooks has the speed to make huge plays after the catch. In all areas of the game—running, receiving, returning—he can be an impact with the ball in his hands. He's the type of player you scheme touches for, given his open-field abilities. 

    Route Running

    15/20

    Cooks didn't run a wide variety of routes at Oregon State, but those he was asked to complete were done at a high-level. He's an easy mover with light feet, quick hips and fluid movements. His balance is off the charts, too. The concern with Cooks is that he won't be able to stand up against physical NFL coverage. In that regard, he's a slot receiver-only projection, which is why he gets the lower score as an overall route-runner. 

    Upside

    17/20

    In the right role, Cooks could be an explosive playmaker from Day 1. That was said about Tavon Austin too, and, as the rookie found out in St. Louis, if you aren't schemed touches you can struggle to produce. Cooks has some of the same abilities, but could have a tough first season acclimating to the NFL. 

    Overall

    89/100

4. Odell Beckham Jr., Wide Receiver, LSU

18 of 21

    Jonathan Bachman

    Hands

    35/40

    Odell Beckham Jr. is NFL-ready as a playmaker. He has quick, soft hands and is strong at pulling the ball down out of the air. He doesn't let passes get into his frame and uses his 10" hands to make plays both in space and in traffic. He's a terrific jumper and has shown the ability to high-point the ball and make plays above the turf. There will be focus drops, but this is a coachable error fixed by teaching him to throttle down and tuck the ball away before turning up field. He was very productive at LSU and is one of the more competitive players you'll talk to in the entire draft class. 

    Speed

    19/20

    With 4.43 speed, Beckham Jr. has the top-gear to run away from defenders. On top of that, he's very explosive in and out of breaks and moves with balance and confidence.  

    Route Running

    17/20

    A lack of strength may be a concern for some projecting Beckham Jr. to an outside receiver role, but he shows immediate ability as a route-runner. In Cam Cameron's offense at LSU, he played a pro-style wide receiver and did a good job working deep routes and shorter, quick hits. And while he's not overly big or strong, he has quick feet and hands to beat a jam at the line of scrimmage. He just needs to be polished as a route-runner. 

    Upside

    20/20

    Beckham has the distinction of being able to fit in multiple spots, depending on where he's drafted. He has the body and speed of a slot receiver, but catches the ball well enough and is physical enough to play outside. He's also stepping in Day 1 as a top-tier punt and kick returner.

    Overall

    91/100

3. Eric Ebron, Tight End, North Carolina

19 of 21

    Nam Y. Huh

    Hands

    31/35

    North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron is a character. He's also one heck of a tight end. At 6'4" and 250 pounds, he turned in an eye-popping performance on film and produced at a high level in an up-and-down offense. Focus drops have been an issue for Ebron—on film and at his pro day. He's too often looking for the big play and isn't honed in on the catch. He does have big hands (10") and shows flashes of making crazy grabs away from his body and with one hand, but must also pull in the routine ball as easily. 

    Blocking

    3/5

    An area of big improvement for Ebron from 2012 to 2013 was his blocking. He has the frame and length to be an in-line player and showed good understanding of leverage and angles when asked to collapse down on a defensive end. He'll reach outside linebackers in the run game, but needs to work on completing the block with better strength. 

    Route Running

    18/20

    Ebron moves off the line with good explosive power and can release through a jam or press coverage. He's a high-level route-runner coming into the league and has been asked to perform a variety of routes and concepts. He can work underneath a defense or attack by taking the top off a secondary with deep speed. He could work on timing and body positioning (getting underneath instead of jumping and fighting for the ball), but has serious skill in this area. 

    Speed

    20/20

    A rare mover at the position, Ebron will draw comparisons to Vernon Davis as a player and athlete. He's straight-line fast, but also shows the quickness and agility to be a threat before and after the catch.  

    Upside

    20/20

    Ebron will be just 21 years old as a rookie and has room to grow both as a player and physically. His improvement as a blocker will be exciting to watch, as will the ability of an NFL-level coach to hammer out his focus issues and improve his hands. 

    Overall

    92/100

2. Mike Evans, Wide Receiver, Texas A&M

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    Patric Schneider

    Hands

    38/40

    At 6'5" and 231 pounds, Mike Evans is a natural mismatch for the offense. His ability to excel in the red zone and on jump balls makes him even more of a chess piece for offensive coordinators to unveil. He has great length (35 1/8" arms) and does an exceptional job of taking the ball away on 50/50 passes. He excels in jump-ball situations and shows the hand strength to pull the football down in traffic or when the pass is off his frame. He knows how to use his frame to gain positioning in the end zone and was hugely productive there.  

    Speed

    18/20

    Evans might not look like a speed receiver, but he plays with surprising straight-line speed and running power. His 4.53 time at the combine is verified on game film, and he has the burst off the line to pressure defenses deep. There's not much he can't do as a runner, but he doesn't have a true second-gear. His first speed is his long speed. 

    Route Running

    17/20

    In the Texas A&M offense, Evans ran a good number of downfield routes. He also had to be alert and show the ability to break back toward the ball when Johnny Manziel scrambled. This begs an important question—is Evans a high-level route-runner or just a breaking ball receiver? He has the tools athletically to press defenses, but hasn't displayed a big, wide range of routes yet.  

    Upside

    20/20

    Still relatively new to football after playing just one year in high school and two seasons (plus one redshirt year) in college, Evans has room to grow as a player. He can refine his route-running and learn the details of the position and game. His upside is very big. 

    Overall

    93/100

1. Sammy Watkins, Wide Receiver, Clemson

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    Michael Conroy

    Hands

    38/40

    The draft's best wide receiver, Sammy Watkins has the tools to be great. At 6'1" and 211 pounds, he brings a strong, muscular frame and elite speed that are backed up with exceptional hands. Watkins extends away from his frame with ease and pulls the ball down equally well on over-throws or low passes. He has top-tier body control, balance and footwork to adjust for passes thrown deep. As a natural receiver, few have Watkins' gifts. There were a few drops in his three-year film—mostly due to trying to pull away before securing the ball. But put Watkins in traffic, up the field or slipping through the defense and he's proven he's dependable as a receiver.  

    Speed

    19/20

    Watkins has blazing speed, but he also runs with power. Like Dez Bryant or Josh Gordon, Watkins looks for contact and has proven his ability to run over defenders in the open field. With his 4.43 speed and power, Watkins is very dangerous after the catch. 

    Route Running

    18/20

    The Clemson offense relied heavily on screens and go routes in 2013, but in previous years we saw Watkins attacking the field more with breaking routes. He hasn't shown a big variety of routes, but has the speed and agility to excel once exposed to a bigger route tree. The burst shown coming in and out of cuts has to excite when considering what Watkins can do in an NFL system. 

    Upside

    20/20

    Watkins is an electric player with upside as a receiver, runner and return man. He comes into the NFL ready to make a major impact with the ball in his hands, and yet he can still get better as he's exposed to more routes and learns to use his tools. For all his talents, he'll only be 21 years old in his first NFL game.

    Overall

    95/100