NFL Draft 2011: A.J. Green and the 10 Best Wide Receivers in the Draft
The NFL has quickly transformed into a passing dominated league. The wide receiver position has become one of the hottest commodities for every offense.
In the 2011 NFL draft, the position is deep and full of play makers. No matter if you prefer a speedster or a physical receiver, there is a prospect in this draft for everyone.
There are numerous teams that are in desperate need at the wide receiver position who are looking to pick up one of these top prospect.
The following are the top ten wide receivers in the 2011 NFL draft.
10. Greg Little (North Carolina)
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Greg Little’s draft stock slipped this last season after he was suspended for all of 2010 for receiving improper benefits.
Little is a physical wide receiver who played running back early in his career at North Carolina. He has a big 6’3” 230 pounds frame, and he uses his side advantage to over-power opposing cornerbacks.
He had a solid combine and was the top performer of all receivers when it comes to the bench press, knocking out 27 reps.
The knock on Little is that he his a raw talent that hasn’t developed wide receiver skills yet. He doesn’t run great routes, but has a great combination of size and speed.
9. Edmond Gates (Abilene Christian)
Gates ran a 4.31 40-yard dash, one of the best in the combine. He may only stand six feet tall, but he has a 40 inch vertical that gives him the ability to catch jump balls.
I feel Gates could be one of the steals of the draft in the third round. It is rare that someone with the pure speed of Gates is available that late.
He is a very shifty runner and returned kicks in college. I feel if he can get stronger and better at blocking, he could make an instant impact on an NFL team. He has home run hitting ability.
8. Randall Cobb (Kentucky)
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Cobb started his college career as a quarterback for Kentucky earning him All-SEC Freshman team honors. Since then he has switched to wide receiver and is now one of the most-low risk picks at the position this season.
His biggest strengths are his excellent route running ability and his incredibly soft hands. He is a good reliable slot receiver, with a great work ethic, that can make an impact right away.
Cobb is very quick off the line, but has average breakaway speed. The only real knock on Cobb is that he is a little undersized, standing 5’11” 190 pounds.
7. Jerrel Jernigan (Troy)
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Jernigan is one of the most talented players in the NFL draft this season. He was a little know recruit out of high school because schools were not sure he could qualify or was big enough. Standing only 5’8” 190 pounds, these concerns are why Jernigan will drop to the second round.
Jernigan has blazing speed, can make people miss and has exceptional field vision. He is tough and is a stronger blocker than he is given credit for.
I feel Jernigan has what it takes to be a superstar in this league. He might take a few years to develop, but the project would be worth the time.
6. Titus Young (Boise State)
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Titus Young might be the second coming of Desean Jackson. He separates himself from the other players in the draft with his superior quickness.
The issue with Young is that he is short and skinny. He is 5’11” and only 174 pounds. NFL scouts are afraid he is going to be overpowered at the next level. He has also been criticized for being an egotistical player who often clashes with the coaching staff.
Young is a big risk big payoff type of player. Many teams might be afraid to take a chance on this him.
5. Jon Baldwin (Pittsburgh)
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Jon Baldwin might not be the quickest wide receiver in the draft this season, but he could be the most physical.
Baldwin looks like a tight end with his 6’5” 228 pounds build. When it comes to pure physicality he looks like a first round draft. Coaches look at him and see a big time red zone threat at receiver.
Like many other receivers in the draft he seems to clash with coaches often. He doesn’t always work hard and seems to doesn’t always strive to improve.
It is tough to pass up a talent like Baldwin, but his attitude is a major concern.
4. Leonard Hankerson ( Miami)
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Hankerson is one of the most well rounded receivers in the draft this season. He is 6’2” 210 pounds with solid speed, great route running ability and has improved his hands significantly throughout his college career.
He is one of those guys who you are not totally sure how they are so good. A Marques Colston or Anquan Boldin type of receiver.
I think Hankerson has a long future ahead of himself in the NFL as a second or third option. He can occasionally get alligator arms while going up the middle. But other than that, he has no glaring weaknesses.
3. Torrey Smith (Maryland)
Maryland is famous for producing athletic phenoms, and Torrey Smith is the newest in that tradition. He is probably the fastest receiver in the draft and has unparalleled big play ability at receiver and returning kicks.
In the open field, Smith is impossible to take down. He can score from anywhere on the field.
Smith is a good pick because he is not just a great receiver, but he is also one of the best kick returners in college football history.
He brings so much to a team, I would be stunned if he dropped lower than the early second round. Smith could be the most underrated receiver in the draft.
2. Julio Jones (Alabama)
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Julio Jones is the complete package. He is 6’3” 22 pounds, has the ability to make highlight reel catches and is probably the best blocking receiver in the draft.
He was very impressive at the combine, running a 4.34 40-yard dash and broad jumping a combine best 11’3.”
He is without a doubt going to be an instant superstar in the NFL. He should be the go-to receiver on his team during his rookie season. Expect big things from Jones.
1. A.J. Green (Georgia)
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What isn’t to like about A.J. Green? He wins every jump ball, he is huge and has the best awareness out of any receiver in the draft.
The only knock on Green is that he does not have blazing speed. He ran a 4.48 40-yard dash at the combine, but that is not a major concern for NFL teams.
He runs incredibly sharp routes and makes it impossible for opposing cornerbacks to stick with him.
He will quickly become one of the best receivers in the NFL. He has been compared to Larry Fitzgerald in that he catches anything that is thrown at him.