The draft class is generally full of wide receivers who excelled at the collegiate level. The 2011 class is certainly no exception and teams will be trying to draft as many of them as they can.
Generally, the draft would be considered a place to get the young up and coming guys who hold the key to your team's future. Free agency is where general managers can off-set any potential risk of getting players who either can't make the transition from college to the NFL or need time to develop.
With the lack of free agency so far this season, GM's and coaches have to be getting nervous. Because of the lockout they have not been afforded the opportunity to fill the holes that require veteran knowledge and experience.
You can't teach a draftee what has taken years for veteran players to learn. NFL experience only comes one way, by playing in it.
It is with sincere hope that the lockout gets resolved prior to the fast approaching draft.
In an attempt to help sort out which wide receivers should be considered for a snatch and grab once free agency is on the table again, a list of the top ten prospects has been compiled. This list may look different than others because of the circumstances the NFL is in right now.
There is uncertainty about how former kickoff and punt returners will be used due to the rule change that puts the NFL back to where it was in 1993.
If it worked so well then why was it ever moved to the 30-yard line instead of keeping it at the 35-yard line? Kickers have much better legs than they did in early 90s so we can expect up to half of all kickoffs to end up as touchbacks and not being returnable. This will drastically change the role of the returners on special teams.
It is also unclear what the actual status of the free agents will be once the lockout is over and if the salary caps will change for rookies. All of these things need to be taken into consideration when creating a list of free agent wide receivers.
To simplify the process, this list includes players who have been primarily used as kickoff and punt returners. It also includes free agents who were tendered. Who you won't see listed here is anyone who received the franchise tag or were re-signed to new contracts, as they, obviously, are no longer available unless the team decides to part ways with them later on.
Alright, let's get started.