2010 NFL Draft: Evaluating Wide Receiver Prospects

Fantasy Football TraderContributor IApril 22, 2010

STILLWATER, OK - SEPTEMBER 5:  Runningback Brandon Boykin #2 of the Georgia Bulldogs dives for the ball for the ball as Dez Bryant #1 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys cannot make the pass during the third quarter of the game at Boone Pickens Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Dez Bryant: 6'2", 225, WR, Cal Poly

• 40-yard Dash: 4.55 at the combine

• Vertical Jump: 33.5” at the combine

• Birthday: 1/1/1986  Age:  23   

The Good

Prototypical NFL receiver size.  Does a good job of getting of jams.  Makes tough catches look easy.  Knows how to use his size and strength to his advantage, will win almost every jump ball.  Good balance.  Elusive.  Caught 87 passes for 1480 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2008.  Added value as a return man.      


The Bad

Lacks top end speed.  Not always quick off the line.  Will let the ball into his chest at times.  Does not run precise routes.  Questionable work ethic.       


The Truth

Suspended by the NCAA for the final 10 games last season for allegedly lying to them about working out with Deion Sanders.  We are also hearing rumors that he missed meetings, classes, and was late for games while at Oklahoma State.  Then he shows up at his own Pro Day without cleats and has a very subpar workout.   "I ain't never got in trouble with nobody. I never said anything. I don't say anything wrong to nobody. I'm friendly. This here is too far.”

Is what Bryant had to say about reporters bringing all of this up.  Wow, I guess this is the same school that let an illiterate Dexter Manley obtain a degree.  OK, no more cheap shots.  Bryant is arguable the most talented receiver in this class, he has great size and hands but does not have top end speed and is known as a lazy route runner.  The fact that I have heard comparisons to Roy Williams does not excite me. 

He is as high risk/high reward as anybody in this class.  Worth a high dynasty pick and worthy of a late flier in re-draft leagues but he is more risky that many other picks.


Golden Tate: 5'10", 199, WR, Notre Dame

• 40-yard Dash: 4.42 at the combine

• 225-lb Bench Reps: 17 at the combine

• Vertical Jump: 35” at the combine

•  Birthday: 8/2/1988  Age: 21   


The Good

Quick off the line.  Even though he is not very tall he does win most jump balls with a good vertical leap and timing.  Makes tough catches in traffic.  Very good route runner.  Does a good job of getting separation.  Great field vision. 

Has the ability to turn small plays into big plays with his speed and agility.  Tough runner who has a nose for the first down marker and the end zone.  Has added value as a return man and as a wildcat runner as he carried the ball 25 times last season. 


The Bad

Lacks ideal size.  Needs to learn to get off jams at the line.  Has had some drops.  Not a bad blocker but could use some work.  Will talk trash with the best of them.      


The Truth

It’s Golden Jerry, it’s Golden.  The numbers speak for themselves with Tate; 93 receptions for 1496 yards and 15 touchdowns last season.  Oh, and he had 25 rushes for 186 yards and 2 more touchdowns to go along with his 12 punt returns for 171 yards and a touchdown and 3 kickoff returns for 62 yards. 

And just for fun he played on the Notre Dame baseball team and was drafted by the Diamond Backs in the 42nd round coming out of high school. 

One thing I love about Tate is that he improved in all aspects in all three years at Notre Dame.  He is not a tall receiver but he has everything else at his disposal and even his name is cool.  I expect big things from Tate, who should be a high dynasty pick and could be worth a late round pick in re-draft leagues if he lands in the right place.


Demaryius Thomas: 6'3", 224, WR, Georgia Tech

• 40-yard Dash: NA

• 225-lb Bench Reps: NA

• Vertical Jump:  NA

• Birthday: 12/25/1987  Age: 22   


The Good

Excellent size.  Despite playing for a Georgia Tech team that used a very funky run offense, Thomas still managed to put up 1154 yards receiving to go along with eight touchdowns on just 46 receptions.  I’ll save you the trouble of getting your calculator out and tell you that is over 25 yards per catch. 

Good quickness off the line with the strength to fight off of jams.  Good hands.  Does a good job of using his height to his advantage and times his jumps well.  Excellent after the catch, which contributed to his 25 yards per catch average.     


The Bad

Broke his foot one week before the combine so he has not had a chance to work out for scouts.  He is hoping to have his own Pro Day around 10 days before the draft according to The Atlanta Journal.  

Lacks ideal speed, likely will test in the 4.6 range when he runs the 40 yard dash for scouts.  Will let some passes get in on his body, especially short routes.  Did not run a lot of different routes at Tech so he will have to put in a lot of work in camp.  Must work hard to improve his blocking.            


The Truth

Will remind some people of another Georgia Tech receiver, Calvin Johnson, but I am not ready to put him in that class just yet.  Thomas has the size and the ability but he comes from a triple option style offense and is known for not giving his all on every play, especially as a blocker.  He will have to show he is at least capable and a solid route runner before he sees any significant time. 

I love his potential but part of me is thinking the second coming of James Hardy here, and maybe that is not a bad thing, only time will tell for both players.  Thomas is not the safe bet of this receiver draft but he could very well end up being the best bet, high risk/high reward here.


Arrelious Benn: 6'1", 219, WR, Illinois

• 40-yard Dash:  4.57 at the combine

• 225-lb Bench Reps:  20 at the combine

• Vertical Jump:  37” at the combine

• Birthday: 9/8/1988  Age: 21    


The Good

May have only run a 4.57 at the combine but ran a 4.42 on Pro Day.  Quick off the line with the power to fight through jams.  Can lineup anywhere on the line.  Knows how to use his size to his advantage and has great hands to make all the catches. 

Tough runner after the catch with the strength and speed to turn nothing into a big play.  Added value as a return man.      


The Bad

Has had a history of injuries.  Will sometimes think where he’s going thus dropping some balls.  Has been known to run some poor routes but he does have the ability he just loses focus at times.  Needs to know where he is on the field for first downs.  Can be a good blocker but again he needs to stay focused. 


The Truth

Played for a poor Illinois team which may have made it difficult for him to keep his head in the game at times but that appears to be the biggest worry about Benn is making sure his head is always in the game and he’s doing what he needs to be doing. 

He has the size, strength, speed, and toughness to be an excellent NFL receiver.  Compares favorably to Anquan Boldin with his toughness and ability to make things happen after the catch.  I think it will take Benn more time than it took Boldin to be a star but I do like his potential in a couple of years.


Brandon LaFell: 6'3", 211, WR, LSU

• 40-yard Dash: 4.58 at the combine

• 225-lb Bench Reps: NA at the combine

• Vertical Jump: 36” at the combine

• Birthday: 11/4/1986  Age: 23   


The Good

The size that NFL scouts love.  Quick off the line with good strength to get off jams.  Good hands.  Good body control, knows how to use his size to his advantage.  Good route runner.  Knows what to do after the catch.  Good blocker.     


The Bad

Does not have great speed.  Will try to run before he makes the catch at times, resulting in drops.  Will already be 24 in November. 


The Truth

Very experienced receiver that played in 51 games at LSU where he improved his touchdowns in each season.  He lacks top end speed but he has the size, strength, route running ability, and the intangibles to be a very good NFL receiver.  I do not know that he has the skills to ever be a great receiver at the next level but he could be a capable number three or four receiver in a few years. 

Should be one of the top 10 receivers taken in dynasty leagues and could be the type of receiver to have some decent production as a rookie in the right system.


Carlton Mitchell: 6'3", 215, WR, South Florida

• 40-yard Dash: 4.46 at the combine

• 225-lb Bench Reps: 16 at the combine

• Vertical Jump: 36” at the combine

• Birthday: 4/6/1988  Age: 22   


The Good

Prototypical size, top end speed, and has the strength when teams decide to jam.  Uses his size to his advantage.  Still needs some work but overall he is a very good route runner.  Has a rare combination of quickness and speed which makes him good on both short passes and deep balls.        


The Bad

Has hand injury issues.  Drops are his biggest downfall at this point.  Lets the ball get into his chest too often.  The type of player that makes the difficult catches but can drop the easy ones.  Needs to improve his blocking.  Only had 40 receptions and four touchdowns last year, both career highs.        


The Truth

Wish that he had better numbers in college but South Florida was a run first offense.  On paper Mitchell looks like the next Brandon Marshall, he is tall, fast, and physical.  Needs to work on his hands to avoid drops but if he can do that then there is no reason he cannot be a fantasy star in a couple of years.  Could be a steal in dynasty leagues when he ends up as one of the best receivers in this draft.


Taylor Price:  6'1", 204, WR, Ohio U

• 40-yard Dash: 4.26 and 4.33 on Pro Day

• 225-lb Bench Reps: 19 on Pro Day

• Vertical Jump: 35.5” on Pro Day

• Birthday: 10/8/1987  Age: 22   


The Good

Good size.  Quick off the line with the ability blow by defenders with his speed and the strength to get of jams.  Does a good job of using his size to make tough catches.  Capable of doing a little bit of everything, completed 3-5 passes for 29 yards and two touchdowns in his career and had 24 rushes for 125 yards.  Improved in each season.    


The Bad

Not a good blocker.  Needs to work on running better routes.  Broke his foot before the combine.  Can lose concentration and drop easy balls.        


The Truth

Does not get the hype of other receivers in this draft but his size and speed is hard to ignore.  Played in a run first system at Ohio and needs to work on his route running and blocking but once he reforms this part of his game he has the potential to be a star at the next level.  I believe his true talent and ability has yet to be tapped which is scary. 

This guy is well worth a fairly high dynasty pick in my opinion as his ceiling is much higher than a lot of guys that will be taken around the same point.  I see a low risk / high reward player here.


Mardy Gilyard: 6'0", 187, WR, Cincinnati

• 40-yard Dash: 4.61 at the combine

• 225-lb Bench Reps: NA at the combine

• Vertical Jump: 39” at the combine

• Birthday 12/2/1986  Age: 23   


The Good

Good leaping ability.  Added value as a return man.  Solid blocker but lacks the bulk to be great.  Good worth ethic.  Has put up amazing numbers the past two years, collecting 80+ receptions, 1,100+ yards, and 11 touchdowns in each season while adding one rushing and five return touchdowns.        


The Bad

Lacks prototypical size.  Not quick off the line.  Slow 40 time.  Too many drops.  Does not have good strength.  Needs to improve as a route runner.   


The Truth

He does not have great size, speed, or hands but he just goes gets it done game after game.  He is a great athlete with the ability in the open field to turn small gains into big plays despite his lack of ideal speed.  Should start his career as a return man while he works on his game.  I am not sold on Gilyard at this time but he could be a player worth owning in a few years.



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