Texas A&M announces WR Mike Evans to enter the 2014 NFL draft.
— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) January 2, 2014
Penn State WR Allen Robinson announces he'll enter the next NFL Draft
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) January 2, 2014
Brandin Cooks/WR/Oregon St officially enters the draft…look for teammate Scott Crichton/DE-OLB to do as much very soon…
— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) January 2, 2014
These are all tweets from today.
This receiver class really does have everything.
Right off the bat you have three players who could go in the top ten — Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins and Marqise Lee.
Evans is a Vincent Jackson clone. He’ll need to prove he’s as fast to max out his stock (Jackson ran in the 4.4′s), but there’s no denying he’s a terrific next-level prospect. He’ll be a quarterbacks best friend — coming back for the football, winning endless jump-balls, being a third down demon. He’s a star in the making and would be ideal for any young quarterback (such as E.J. Manuel at Buffalo, who own the #9 pick).
Watkins is a pure playmaker with underrated football intelligence, elite speed, strong hands and great body control. They coach receivers well at Clemson. DeAndre Hopkins had a perfect understanding of his offense and regularly broke down routes and schemes during interviews. Watkins has picked that up too. Teams could target him in the top ten and then go back for a quarterback (like A.J. McCarron or Derek Carr) in round two.
Lee is just a heck of a football player. The last prospect who flashed similar technical gifts and an ultra competitive attitude was A.J. Green. He doesn’t have Green’s size, but they have similar traits. I’d love to see him in a prolific passing offense such as Detroit’s. Imagine having to deal with Calvin Johnson on one side and Lee on the other? Like Evans, he’s pissed off for greatness. Receivers need that.
After that you’ve got a mountain of depth. Penn State’s Robinson is tall at 6-3 but surprisingly better with the ball in his hands as a YAC specialist. Whether he can take on a more orthodox role, make plays downfield and high point the football remains to be seen. He moves well, has a lean frame that can maybe add a bit more bulk. He might need time to adjust to the next level.
Brandon Coleman (6-6) and Kelvin Benjamin (6-5) offer more height and supreme physical qualities — even if they have a lot to work on.
Coleman must high point the football better but he’s really not been helped by the disastrous Rutgers passing offense. Look at him like a ball of clay, ready to be moulded into an effective pro-wide out. Not many guys can do what he does at that size. Don’t be shocked if he ends up being another sensational Josh Gordon-style physical freak. Gordon needed a year before blowing up the NFL.
Benjamin had the Heisman Trophy winner throwing dimes all season and it helped him put up big numbers. If you were designing a #1 receiver, he’d look a lot like Kelvin Benjamin. Great size, powerful frame. Yet he could be so much better than he’s shown in college. He has to cut out the frequent mental mistakes (plenty of lousy drops in 2013). He has to show more desire to dominate — which he is capable of doing. And he needs to show better body control and route running skills. If the light switches on –watch out.
Odell Beckham is an exceptional talent — huge hands, super smooth route runner, fantastic kick returner. He’s one of the best players in the draft. Any team that wants a receiver who can get on the field right away and make a quick transition needs to consider Beckham. He’s not the biggest, but he plays way above his size. Not many 6-0 receivers high point the ball like he does.
His partner at LSU — Jarvis Landry — isn’t too far behind. He’s also a reliable playmaker and a great safety net. Again — not the biggest. No problem. He’s just a really good player.
Oregon State’s Cooks is a smaller, quicker wide out who will likely operate in the slot at the next level and work heavily in the screen game. He won the Biletnikoff Award this year and put up huge numbers. Jordan Matthews is an incredibly polished #2 type who would suit the Indianapolis offense as a heir apparent to Reggie Wayne, while Paul Richardson is a capable playmaker on his day.
The list goes on — Devante Parker, Jared Abbrederis, Donte Moncrief, Cody Hoffman, Josh Huff, Michael Campanaro.
Receiver and offensive tackle are two positions of real depth in 2014.
But it’s the top end talent that is really exciting.
If the Seahawks want to target a wide out — this is as good a year as any. They’re unlikely to get close to Dorial Green-Beckham or Amari Cooper in 2015.
Even if Percy Harvin gets going and they re-sign Golden Tate, for me this has to be an area of focus for Seattle in May.