2011 NFL Draft: Rankings the Top Wide Receiver Prospects in College Football

Keet BaileyCorrespondent IINovember 29, 2010

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 13:  A.J. Green #8 of the Georgia Bulldogs fails to pull in this reception against Richard Samuel #22 of the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

We here at NFL Soup are dedicated to featuring the best NFL Draft coverage, and we continue with the 2011 Wide Receiver class.

There are a lot of talented receivers, and most of the front runners are underclassmen with big play ability. In the NFL, a quarterback's best friend can be the receiver that bails him out of a misfired throw, or even a guy that can take a five yard pass for another 40 yards after the catch and score.

Let’s take a look at the wide receivers in the 2011 NFL Draft class.

*Disclaimer*: Rankings are subject to change, and it's still very early, so don't get bent out of shape if your favorite WR isn't on here or ranked high enough.

1) A.J. Green- Georgia*- 6'4" 212

There’s not much you can’t say about A.J. Green. He’s one of the most talented players in the nation, and has great size at 6'4" 192 pounds. Green is a speedy wide receiver who runs excellent routes, with excellent control of his body for making easy and tough catches. He can beat even the fastest of cornerbacks, and gets excellent separation. Some maturity issues are a small concern, but if he really wants to be dominant, then he needs to get stronger and get a bit better fighting for the ball. He’s still a the top option at wide receiver.

Projection: Top 10 pick

2) Julio Jones- Alabama*- 6'4" 220

Jones is the biggest competition for A.J. Green in the top spot. What makes Jones so special is his possession ability. He has excellent size at 6'4" 220 lbs, and he fights corners for the football. He’s tough after the catch and is fast enough to beat receivers down the field. He’s excellent catching the ball in the middle of the field, as well as making tight sideline catches. His biggest flaw is his concentration. He often drops the easier passes and makes the tougher catches. While his college statistics are nothing to write home about, he suffers thanks to a heavy rushing attack by the Crimson Tide, but Jones always comes through when needed.

Projection: 1st Round

3) Justin Blackmon- Oklahoma State**- 6'1" 207

Blackmon is just one of those athletes that screams Top 15 pick. Blackmon’s speed, and play making ability are rumored to be even bigger than former Oklahoma State star Dez Bryant. Blackmon sits at 6'1" 207 pounds, and is averaging over 17 yards a catch in the NCAA, and he’s just a redshirt sophomore. He’s a raw prospect who still needs work running routes, and being more physical. But he has all the tools to become a star.

Projection: 1st Round

4) Jonathan Baldwin- Pittsburgh*- 6'5" 230

Jon Baldwin is an intimidating wide receiver, at 6'5" 230 pounds. Some collegiate tight ends are smaller than him. He has excellent hands and body control, as he’s also a very strong wide receiver. For being such a big wide out, his downfield ability is limited, however, there is huge upside. He’s got solid speed, but needs to learn to better create separation from corner backs. Baldwin’s hands make him a top prospect, still, as he can catch well and runs very well after the catch. Projection: 1st Round

5) Michael Floyd- Notre Dame*- 6'3" 225

This is truly a year for big wide receivers, as our fourth rated wide receiver is 6'3" 228 pounds. Michael Floyd is one of the best wide receivers in the middle of the field. His ability to create separation is excellent, and he’s very quick in and out of his breaks. His hands are generally reliable, and he has a very good ability after the catch to take it the distance. Floyd is the ideal receiver you want on your team if you want to convert on that tough 3rd-and-long, and he isn’t afraid to take a shot from a safety.

Projection:  2nd Round

6) Austin Pettis- Boise State- 6'3" 201

For what Pettis lacks in top end speed, he makes up in route running and reliable hands. Pettis could sneak into the first round if he can post a solid forty yard dash, as he is one of the most athletic players in college football. He’s not an easy guy to tackle either.

Projection: 2nd Round

7) Ryan Broyles- Oklahoma*- 5'10" 185

Broyles is a smaller, quick hitter. He can catch a slant and turn it up field for a long gain, but he can also use his speed to get downfield in a hurry. Broyles catches the ball and turns it up field instantly, and he’s not afraid to catch the ball in the middle of the field. Broyles is an outstanding punt returner as well.

Projection: 2nd Round

8 ) Greg Little- North Carolina- 6'3" 220

This running back turned receiver still needs a lot of work, as he is very raw. He’s a physical wide receiver that fights for balls thrown his way. He needs to work on looking the ball into his hands.

Projection: 2nd Round

9) Greg Childs- Arkansas- 6'3" 217*

Childs Please! That’s the new “catch” phrase every time the excellent down field receiver hauls in a pass. Childs needs to work on his route running, but can stretch the field very well, and has reliable hands.

Projection: 2nd Round

10) Leonard Hankerson- Miami (Fl.)- 6'3" 205

Hankerson is a lanky receiver who is as sure-handed as they come. Hankerson broke out in 2009, and has followed up with a stellar senior campaign despite mediocre quarterback play. He’s an excellent red zone threat.

Projection: 2nd Round

11) Marquis Maze- Alabama*- 5'10" 183

Maze is often overshadowed by potential first rounder Julio Jones. But Maze is the ideal slot receiver who is quick in and out of his routes, and has excellent return skills. Maze generally has reliable hands as well.

Projection: 3rd Round

12) Tandon Doss- Indiana*- 6'4" 205

Doss isn’t a burner, but he can still get down field and make a play. He has some of the best hands in the NCAA, and he runs crisp routes. His best catches often come in the middle of the field in traffic.

Projection: 3rd Round

13) Terrance Toliver- LSU- 6'5" 204

Toliver is a fast receiver who still needs some work running routes. He has excellent ability after making the catch and can turn a five yard catch into 25 yards in a hurry. His height makes him a good red zone target, despite his touchdown total not showing it.

Projection:  3rd Round

14) Niles Paul- Nebraska- 6'1" 219

One of Paul’s greatest attributes is making the tough catches. He brings the ball well into his body, and is a solid route runner. He’s not a game breaker in terms of speed, but he’s a solid possession receiver. 

Projection: 4th Round

15) Chris Owusu- Stanford*- 6'2" 200

Owusu is best known for his return ability as his vision. He has excellent speed, and fights for the ball well, despite not being a big receiver. Owusu doesn’t drop many passes either.

Projection:  4th Round

16) Vincent Brown- San Diego State- 6'0" 195

Brown is one of the fastest receivers in college football. He’s excellent down the field, and can make plays after the catch. His hands need a little bit of work, but he gets great separation and uses his speed to make defenders miss.

Projection: 4th Round

17) Ronald Johnson- USC- 6'0" 187

Johnson is a smaller receiver who fits best in the slot. He has good speed and is solid after the run. He has pretty good hands and makes catches all over the field. He can take a pass to the end zone on virtually every play as he can out run many of the defenders.

Projection: 5th Round

18) Titus Young- Boise State- 5'11" 175

This wide receiver class in lined with guys who can outrun entire defenses. Young is another one of those smaller guys who excels in the return game and is heavily utilized in quick slants and screen passes. He’s excellent after the catch.

Projection: 5th Round

19) Ryan Whalen- Stanford- 6'2" 205

Whalen isn’t a guy known for his speed, but his ability to catch the ball in traffic is uncanny. He’s a tougher wide receiver who fights for the ball well, and doesn’t care to run out of bounds. He won’t beat many cornerbacks down the field, but he will catch the ball over most players one on one.

Projection: 5th Round

20) Derrell Johnson-Koulianos- Iowa- 6'1" 200

DJK is a quicker receiver who catches well down the field. He can stretch the middle of the field very well, and is mediocre after the catch. His reliable hands also make him a nice red zone target. He also does a nice job running the routes underneath the secondary.

Projection: 5th Round

21) Mark Dell- Michigan State- 6'2" 200

Dell is a quicker receiver who can catch well downfield. He’s not much of a red zone option, however.

Projection: 5th Round

22) Jerrell Jernigan- Troy- 5'8" 190

Troy’s all-purpose receiver can run the ball well, and catch even better. He’s a threat to take it to the house on every touch, but lacks ideal size.

Projection: 5th Round

23) James Cleveland- Houston- 6'2" 205

Cleveland is a short yardage receiver who benefits from the system in Houston. He’s a reliable red zone receiver.

Projection: 5th Round

24) DeAndre Brown- Southern Miss*- 6'6" 240

Brown has missed time in 2010 with a leg injury, but is a big red zone target who excels getting separation and making big catches down field.

Projection: 5th Round

25) DeVier Posey- Ohio State*- 6'2" 213

Posey has a great combination of size and speed. He needs to be more consistent catching passes, but doesn’t have an ideal quarterback getting him the ball.

Projection: 6th Round

26) Gerald Jones- Tennessee- 6'0" 195

Jones has missed some time in 2010, and is a smaller short yardage guy who’s quick in and out of his routes.

Projection:  6th Round

27) Keith Smith- Purdue- 6'2" 226

Smith suffered an ACL and MCL tear in the third week. He’s a bigger possession receiver who has good speed. He may apply for a medical redshirt.

Projection: 6th Round

28) Aldrick Robinson- SMU- 5'10" 180

SMU continues to put out quick, speedy receivers, and Robinson is a big time home run threat. He needs to work on his route running and looking the ball in.

Projection: 6th Round

29) Cecil Shorts- Mount Union- 6'2" 200

Perhaps the next Pierre Garcon has arrived. Despite coming out of a non-FBS school, Shorts has been very productive. He’s got very good hands and has exceptional route running ability.

Projection: 6th Round

30) Armon Binns- Cincinnati- 6'3" 205

Binns could be a lot higher on this list, but inconsistent hands will scare some teams away. Still, his speed and size combination are ideal. He stretches the field very well.

Projection: 7th Round

31) Greg Salas- Hawaii- 6'2" 210

Projection: 7th Round

32) Dwayne Harris- East Carolina- 6'0" 205

Projection: 7th Round

33) James Rodgers- Oregon State- 5'8" 185

Projection: 7th Round

34) Dane Sanzenbacher- Ohio State- 5'11" 185

Projection: 7th Round

35) Jeff Maehl- Oregon- 6'1" 185

36) Stephen Burton- West Texas A&M- 6'4" 215

37) Phillip Livas- Lousiana Tech- 5'8" 184

38) Scotty McKnight- Colorado- 5'11" 185

39) Marshall Williams- Wake Forest- 6'1" 190

40) Markeith Summers- Ole Miss- 6'3" 205

41) Vidal Hazelton- Cincinnati- 6'3" 210

42) Frantrell Forrest- UAB- 6'2" 195

43) Kevin Grayson- Richmond- 6'3" 205

44) Duval Kamara- Notre Dame- 6'4" 225

45) David Gilreath- Wisconsin- 5'11" 170

46) Ricardo Lockette- Fort Valley State- 6'3" 210

47) D’Andre Goodwin- Washington- 5'11" 190

48) Detron Lewis- Texas Tech- 6'0" 206

49) Jeremy Kerley- TCU- 5'10" 190

50) Edmund Gates- Abilene Christian- 6'1" 200

51) Jimmy Young- TCU- 6'1" 210

52) Jock Sanders- West Virginia- 5'7" 180

53) DeMarco Sampson- San Diego State- 6'2" 202

54) Jarvis Williams-  NC State- 6'4" 219

55) Owen Spencer- NC State- 6'3" 187

56) Jeremy LaFrance- Akron- 6'1" 195


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