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SEC Football: The Conferences Top Draft Prospects at Wide Receiver Right Now

Jeremy HillmanContributor IOctober 5, 2011

SEC Football: The Conferences Top Draft Prospects at Wide Receiver Right Now

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    Everyone knows about the stud running backs in the SEC in 2011. Marcus Lattimore, Trent Richardson and Michael Dyer are just a few of the backs who are making huge impacts.

    However, there are another set of playmakers making noise in the conference this season, the wide receivers.

    The SEC has nine wideouts with over 300 receiving yards in just five weeks of play.

    In comparison, the Big 10 and Big 12 each only have six receivers with more than 300 yards receiving.

    Actually, two of the conference's wideouts are even making a push to be considered for the Biletnikoff award, given annually to the nations top wide receiver.

    All of this without mentioning Tennessee's Justin Hunter who was averaging over 100 receiving yards per game before suffering an injury in week three.

    Of all the success among wide receivers in the conference, who is the best in 2011 and who is the biggest draft prospect?

    Click through the slide show for my power ranking of the top five draft-able wideouts in the Southeastern Conference as we stand today...

10. La'Rod King, Kentucky

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    On a better offense with a better quarterback, La'Rod King could be a better known star.

    Even so, he is having a big season for Kentucky, already with four touchdown receptions, and he has shown the ability to make big catches.

    Keep in mind, he is just a junior and has another season to continue to build stats and improve his game.

    He is tall, at 6-foot-4-inches, and has the physical tools to play in the NFL if he keeps working hard.

    At the end of the day, if he can have a strong combine, look for him to be a late sixth round pick because of his size and potential.

    2011 Stats:  21 catches for 307 yards and four touchdowns

    Best 2011 Game: Five catches for 100 yards and a touchdown in the win over Central Michigan

    Team That Could Draft Him: Kansas City Chiefs because they need receivers to compliment Dwayne Bowe and help improve a sluggish offense.

9. Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia

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    Malcolm Mitchell is only a freshman, but he has the look of a big-time receiver and could fly up this list as he builds his resume at Georgia.

    Mitchell is 6-foot-1-inches and has great quickness and hands.

    But, he could stand to add a few pounds, he is just 181 now, and increase his physicality off the line. I look for him to do that over the next couple of seasons in Athens. 

    By the time he is eligible, my prediction is that scouts will love this kid and he will rocket up the charts. Especially since he has Georgia QB Aaron Murray, a high draft possibility himself, throwing him the ball. 

    2011 Stats:  22 catches for 312 yards and three touchdowns

    Best 2011 Game: Five catches for 60 yards and a touchdown in the win over Mississippi State

    Team That Could Draft Him: Miami Dolphins  because their roster looks poor enough to predict they will have a high pick several years from now.

8. Marquis Maze, Alabama

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    The senior is the number one receiving option in the Alabama offense and is putting together a solid season so far for the Tide.

    He is on the smaller side at 5-foot-10-inches and 180 pounds, and thus is not much of a red zone threat. He scored just one touchdown so far this season, so that could hurt him a bit in draft position.

    However, he is quick and has good hands. Also, scouts will like his work ethic and that he has been in Alabama's pro style offense.

    2011 Stats:  22 catches for 262 yards and a touchdown

    Best 2011 Game: Eight catches for 116 yards and a score against Kent State

    Team That Could Draft Him: Cincinnati Bengals could give developing a quarterback Andy Dalton another receiving target in Cincinnati.

7. Emory Blake, Auburn

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    Although he is reportedly banged up after Auburn's big win over South Carolina, Emory Blake has had a big season so far for the Tigers.

    In his second productive year in offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn's offense, Blake is now the number one receiver for Auburn and has a propensity to make big plays. He has a touchdown in four of Auburn's five games this season.

    The junior is also has soft hands and is a sizable target at 6-foot-1-inches and 200 pounds. 

    Scouts will like his ability to run after the catch and his blocking down field on running plays.

    2011 Stats:  19 receptions for 333 yards and four touchdowns

    Best 2011 Game: Seven catches for 108 yards and a touchdown in the victory over Mississippi State

    Team That Could Draft Him: Dallas Cowboys because Blake is from Texas and would give Dallas a solid third receiver behind Miles Austin and Dez Bryant.

6. Greg Childs, Arkansas

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    If not for an injury in the middle of last season, Greg Childs may be at the top of this list.

    He is big and can make catches in a crowd.

    Last season, he dominated with 45 catches for over 600 yards and six touchdowns in just seven games, before going out with a season-ending injury.

    He is off to an understandably slow start to this season as he continues to rehab. If he can get back to full health by the combine, he will have a great shot to be drafted even higher than I have him in this ranking.He has the size and physical tools, he just needs the health.

    2011 Stats: Five catches for 65 yards

    Best 2011 Game: Two receptions for 17 yards against Alabama

    Team That Could Draft Him: Seattle Seahawks because Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was used to having big wide outs to throw to at USC and he could pick up Childs for that role in Seattle.

5. Jarius Wright, Arkansas

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    Jarius Wright is exploding in 2011, as he has been the number target in the Arkansas passing attack. The sure handed wide out makes great grabs and gains significant yards after the catch.

    He had a monster game last week and is showing that even though he is smaller than other top wideouts, he is 5-foot-10-inches and 180 pounds, he can get open and make big plays.

    He is potentially developing into someone with dangerous skills, like a Wes Welker.

    Greg Childs could be the top draft selection out of Arkansas, but he was hurt late last season and is slow out of the gate this season. Child's rebound from being hurt will be key in his push to draft day. 

    Wright may not be the biggest or best receiver in the SEC, but his position as the top target for QB Tyler Smith and the Arkansas passing game, will give him solid exposure over the next couple of months.

    2011 stats:  28 catches for 478 yards and five touchdowns

    Best 2011 Game: 13 receptions for 281 yards and two touchdowns in the victory against Texas A&M

    What NFL team is the best fit?: Pittsburgh Steelers because he could be a potential replacement for Hines Ward, who isn't getting any younger.

4. Da'Rick Rogers, Tennessee

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    The Tennessee passing attack is proving to be dangerous and Rogers is averaging over 110 receiving yards per game this season.

    Not to mention, the dynamic receiver already has six touchdowns in just four games.

    He is just a sophomore and won't be able to be drafted for at least another year, so he has time to solidify his position here in the top five draftable receivers.

    He is big at 6-foot-3-inches and 215 pounds and can out-physical defenders for the ball.

    2011 stats:  27 catches for 442 yards and six touchdowns

    Best 2011 Game: Ten receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Cincinnati

    What NFL team is the best fit?: Tennessee Titans because he will give the Titans someone to put across from emerging receiver Nate Washington and keep the Vol in state.

3. Rueben Randle, LSU

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    The talented junior has a touchdown reception in each of LSU's big wins over Oregon, at Mississippi State and at West Virginia.

    NFL scouts like players that make big plays in big games. 

    He is 6-foot-4-inches and over 200 pounds and is very fast for a big guy. He has registered a 4.4 forty in past speed checks.

    Look for Randle to continue to make big plays all season and end up being a sought after prospect in the NFL draft.

    2011 Stats:  19 receptions for 319 yards and three touchdowns

    Best 2011 Game: Six catches for 98 yards and a touchdown in the win over Mississippi State

    Team That Could Draft Him: Houston Texans, giving Matt Schaub another target opposite of Andre Johnson and keep Randle's talent in the southwest region.

2. Justin Hunter, Tennessee

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    While Justin Hunter is injured right now, he is just a Sophomore and has time to come back and start putting up big numbers again.

    In jut two full games this season, the Volunteer receiver caught a ridiculous 16 balls for 302 yards and two touchdowns.

    He is tall at 6-foot-4-inches and has soft hands. The scouts will love his competitive drive and ability to get open down the field.

    While staying healthy could be a concern, Hunter is a big time play maker and will sit high atop draft boards when he is draft eligible.

    2011 Stats:  17 receptions for 314 yards and two touchdowns

    Best 2011 Game: Ten touchdowns for 156 yards and a touchdown in the win versus Cincinnati.

    Team That Could Draft Him: Jacksonville Jaguars because by that time Hunter can be drafted,  he can compliment developing star Mike Thomas in Jax.

1. Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina

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    Although Jeffery hasn't been thrown to as much in 2011 as in the past seasons, the big 6-foot-4-inch and 233 pounds and powerful wideout is still one of the most talented receivers in the country, and has over 330 receiving yards in the first five games.

    He can use his large frame to out jump and out muscle smaller defensive backs for the ball and is a prime red zone target.

    In 2010, he dominated opposing defenses with 88 catches for over 1,500 yards.

    Look for more balls being thrown towards Jeffery as this season rolls along and for him to be picked very early in the NFL draft.

     2011 Stats:  19 receptions for 333 yards and two touchdowns

    Best 2011 Game: Five catches for 85 yards and a touchdown in the victory over Georgia

    What NFL team is the best fit?: Carolina Panthers because he could be a big target for Cam Newton, across from Steve Smith.

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