Looking at the possibility of 8-9 first round receivers

Donte Moncrief -- better than people think

You can’t often say with a high degree of surety that a minimum of five receivers will go in the first round of a draft.

This year it’s almost guaranteed.

Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Marqise Lee, Odell Beckham Jr, Kelvin Benjamin.

Not even the most sceptical of pundits is likely to deny this quintet a day one projection.

Even Benjamin’s critics will probably accept he’s unlikely to get past Seattle at #32 as a worst case scenario.

It’s likely he’ll be long gone before the Seahawks are on the clock.

The quality isn’t restricted to five players either.

The 6th-8th best receivers in this class are better (again in my opinion) than the #2 defensive tackle, the #2 defensive end, the #2 offensive guard, the #2 safety and all of the cornerbacks and running backs.

In several cases you’d have to really fight the board to go in a different direction.

There’s a strong chance eight or nine receivers will be drafted in the first round. I could be proven wrong on that. But I don’t think there’s a better way to begin making my case than stating the belief that the 2014 receivers are just better than most of the other players in this class.


Detroit’s biggest needs are at cornerback and safety. Assuming they don’t trade the #10 pick, what are they likely to do?

Reach for a cornerback? Reach for a safety?

Or look into the possibility of adding another top receiver to create a formidable passing attack?

The signing of Golden Tate alone doesn’t address Detroit’s substantial need to provide better support to Calvin Johnson. Remember, this is a team making the passing game the focal point of everything they do. That’s why they appointed Jim Coldwell. They’re going to throw a ton of passes, so having multiple weapons at receiver will be crucial.

They need another receiver. One more. Imagine trying to stop Megatron, Tate and one of the top receivers in this draft? It’d be a match-up nightmare and that’s Detroit’s best way to become a forceful opponent.

Draft Tek uses a team of projectionists to judge needs for each franchise.

The site lists ‘speed receiver’ as a ‘P3’ need for Detroit. Here’s what P3 means in the Draft Tek system:

“In need of starting caliber talent, but will not reach for it. Some teams use a “best available player” draft discipline, this fits the P3 code well.”

So essentially they’re saying if BPA is a ‘speed receiver’ at #10, there’s every chance they’ll go in that direction.

I’ve been projecting Marqise Lee to the Lions. While he’s not a 4.3 type runner, he’s a brilliant and competitive athlete capable of creating separation downfield and winning with yards after the catch. A lot of people have soured on Lee after a difficult 2013 season, but I’d recommend watching his 2012 tape. Go and see what he’s capable of when teamed with a competent quarterback.

Imagine the 2012 version of Lee as part of a dynamic triple-threat Lions attack at receiver. It’s a staggering proposition.

And then consider the alternatives. Reaching for a good but not great Ha Ha Clinton Dix with the 10th pick in the draft. Going after Justin Gilbert — who ticks a lot of athletic boxes but was almost benched for bad play by Oklahoma State.

This would be the very definition of fighting the board. Unless Detroit can find a deal to move down, drafting Lee at #10 just provides better value and still addresses a position of need.

They could look at cornerbacks like Jason Verrett or Kyle Fuller in round two, while monitoring safety’s like Deone Bucannon, Jimmie Ward and Terrence Brooks.

I suspect the Lions will be a much better football team if they go Lee, Fuller and Bucannon (for example) instead of a cornerback at #10 and then hoping there’s no great rush on receivers before they pick in round two.

Detroit won’t be the only team faced with such a conundrum. Passing on a 2014 receiver in the first round will be the toughest decision many GM’s make this year.


One other note from the Draft Tek projector — 14 teams have ‘featured wide receiver’ listed as a P2 or P3. Eight list ‘speed receiver’ with the same status.

P2 is stated as, “in great need of starting calliber talent and will reach to fill the need.”

Seven teams, according to Draft Tek, would be willing to reach for a featured receiver. Let’s look at each one and see what Draft Tek considers a comparable need:

Buffalo Bills
Draft Tek needs: WR, RT, TE
The Bills could legitimately go for Taylor Lewan or Eric Ebron at #9. However, both players made headlines for the wrong reasons recently (Lewan, Ebron). Even so, I think there’s as much chance Buffalo goes for a tackle as they do a receiver. Lewan has a desirable skill set. But you also have to consider the value of taking a right tackle in the top ten versus a game-changing receiver.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Draft Tek needs: WR, DE, QB
The age of Chris Clemons and Jason Babin plus the availability of Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack could make this a no brainer. Ditto if the Jaguars have fallen for a quarterback and want to take one at #3. But what if a team trades above them to get Clowney or their chosen QB? Is Mack a scheme fit? Sammy Watkins could become a legit option for the Jaguars, particularly if they plan to draft a quarterback later. But I’m still expecting to see Clowney or a QB in round one.

Kansas City Chiefs
Draft Tek needs: WR, FS, CB, G
The Chiefs lost Dexter McCluster and were publicly frustrated when Emmanuel Sanders snubbed them for the Broncos. Dwayne Bowe has been a big disappointment after signing his new contract. They’re thin at receiver and have a quarterback who relies on playmakers. While they have needs at safety and corner, they also have good starters in place already (Brandon Flowers, Eric Berry). It’d make a ton of sense to get a receiver at #23.

New York Jets
Draft Tek needs: WR, TE, OLB, FS, CB
For too long the Jets have been a mess on offense. They’ve lacked an identity, they’ve switched offensive coordinators regularly. Now they’re letting Geno Smith and Michael Vick battle for a starting job. Whoever wins that particular competition needs better weapons. Eric Decker alone is simply not enough. Rex Ryan’s defense was good enough last season to compete, and it’ll be no different this year. They must get either a dynamic tight end or a top receiver at #18.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Draft Tek needs: WR, CB, RB
In the last year they’ve lost Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders. The depth at cornerback in this draft means they can address that need in round two. They should also be able to find a running back later — although the recent addition of LeGarrette Blount takes the pressure off there. They’re perfectly placed to grab a receiver at #15 and will have some good options in that spot.

Seattle Seahawks
Draft Tek needs: WR, RT, DT
I think there’s every chance Seattle considers an offensive lineman early, but I also suspect Tom Cable’s list of late round options will be ready and waiting if the board goes in a different direction. They’ve lost Sidney Rice and Golden Tate, while Doug Baldwin is a free agent next year. Adding a receiver at #32 and getting them on a cheap deal for five years appears increasingly desirable. Much will depend on where the greatest value lies.

St. Louis Rams
Draft Tek needs: WR, OLB, FS, CB, G
Quotes from the Rams front office seemed to play down the likelihood of a receiver being drafted early. It’s only a year ago that they spent a top ten pick on Tavon Austin. They also invested a high second rounder in Brian Quick. It’d actually make a lot of sense for the Rams to add another receiver — it’s still a need and they’re well placed at #2 and #13 to get a really good one. And yet oddly they might bypass the position with both of their first round picks. Signing Kenny Britt today on a one-year deal decreases the chances they’ll take a receiver early.

When you break it down there are probably only two out of the seven with a very high probability of going receiver. Seattle’s decision will depend on what’s left with the final pick in round one. There’s a strong possibility Jacksonville and St. Louis don’t take a receiver in the first round.

However — for me it’s not a case of needing 7-8 teams who must get a receiver at all costs in order for that many to go in round one. This is about value.

I suspect it’s the teams without a defining need at the position that’ll push the first round quota beyond a normal rate. Simply because the players available are too good to pass.


It’s kind of strange that while this receiver class is universally regarded as very deep, quite a few players (in my opinion) are still underrated.

I wrote a piece about Donte Moncrief last week. Here’s a section from the piece: “I suspect some teams are going to look at the 2012 tape and really buy into this guy. He could easily be the 3rd or 4th receiver on a few draft boards. The national pundits aren’t really discussing this, but for me he could easily be a first round pick. Easily.”

There really hasn’t been much national discussion about Moncrief at all. Or Martavis Bryant. Or Cody Latimer.

Compare this to some of the other players who are clinging to high grades.

Scouts Inc via ESPN still rank C.J. Mosley as a top-10 player in the draft. I like Mosley. But he’s a health risk, doesn’t play in a premium position and is he really one of the ten best available prospects in this great draft?

Dee Ford and Jeremiah Attaochu are also given first round grades. Ford looks like a one-dimensional speed rusher with limited upside. I’d second-guess taking him in round two. He struggled badly against Alabama in 2013 and against Texas A&M’s Cedric Ogbuehi. Attaochu was shut down by Morgan Moses — the best opponent he faced last season.

Timmy Jernigan is one of those players who’s been in the first round discussion since forever — but has anyone ever offered a convincing argument as to why? And what has Louis Nix done since the 2012 college season to justify a slot in the first frame?

Scouts Inc lists just five receivers in their top-32. I’m absolutely positive teams won’t view Ford and Attaochu higher than the likes of Kelvin Benjamin or Moncrief.


One opinion I’ve seen is that a deep draft at receiver will allow teams to look at other options in round one.

I think it might be the other way around.

You can afford to get your receiver early, then go back and fill other needs later.

You’re not going to find many teams scrambling to draft an edge rusher once Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack are off the board. Anthony Barr has serious bust potential, while players such as Kony Ealy and Dee Ford, as discussed above, are simply overrated.

And yet there are several options later on that are enticing, such as Louisville’s brilliant Marcus Smith or Boise State’s Demarcus Lawrence.

We’ll see two or three cornerbacks go in round one, but there’s enough depth to see you through into round four.

There’s also depth on the offensive line, depth at quarterback, a lot of the running backs will last until the middle rounds.

Any team that really values the receivers in this draft won’t necessarily say, “It’s OK — we’ll get one later.” They might be saying instead, “Let’s get our receiver now from the elite group — because the value’s there and we know we can fill other needs later.”


I sat down tonight and wrote down all of the players I felt deserved genuine first round grades.

Here’s a breakdown of the numbers per position:

QB — 1
RB — 0
WR — 7
OT — 5
OG — 1
C — 0

DT — 1
DE — 1
OLB — 2
MLB — 0
CB — 1
S — 1

I didn’t include any prospects I considered fringe first/second round players and seriously erred on the side of caution — including at receiver.

Now of course there are more than 20 players I’d consider drafting in the first round (and more than seven receivers). I was deliberately strict for the purpose of this article.

I wasn’t surprised, however, that the strength of the draft appeared to be at receiver and offensive tackle.

So while the likes of Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack are certain to go in round one, there’s every chance teams will have a similar looking tally themselves. And if the best players on the board are at receiver, why would you fight against it? Especially if you need a receiver?

There’s around 19 teams in the first round who are likely to consider drafting a receiver. Not all of them will, but there’s something of a perfect storm emerging where supply matches high demand.


The Seahawks picking at #32 also adds a unique angle to this debate.

This is a team that has so far ignored conventional wisdom and media scrutiny to basically do as it pleases.

They were willing to take the next best offensive lineman on their board in 2011. They identified a specific scheme-fit pass rusher in 2012. They wanted a tackle and a safety in 2010.

They’re willing to aggressively address a need in the draft. They’ve targeted players or positions for specific rounds.

For example, it seems they knew they wanted to take Bruce Irvin, a linebacker and Russell Wilson with their first three picks before the 2012 draft even began.

They look for the best possible way to upgrade the roster based on what they already have at their disposal. They don’t just sit there with a list of names ranked accordingly. They appear to be very specific with the positions they target.

If they go into this draft thinking, “we want to get a receiver” — they’ll do it if the right fit is there. It doesn’t matter if five, six, seven or eight wide outs are off the board by #32. If there’s a player who fits what they’re looking for, they’ll take him.

I could just as easily see the Seahawks gratefully accepting Odell Beckham Jr or Kelvin Benjamin at #32 as I can see them getting panned for ‘reaching’ on a Cody Latimer or Brandon Coleman.

So even if a lot of receivers leave the board before Seattle’s pick, there’s always the chance one more will be taken to end day one.


For whatever it’s worth, this is my top twelve at the position right now. There’s no particular order, even if Watkins, Evans and Lee are at the top.

Click on each players name for a highlight video.

1. Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson)
2. Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M)
3. Marqise Lee (WR, USC)
4. Odell Beckham Jr (WR, LSU)
5. Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida State)
6. Donte Moncrief (WR, Ole Miss)
7. Martavis Bryant (WR, Clemson)
8. Brandin Cooks (WR, Oregon State)
9. Cody Latimer (WR, Indiana)
10. Brandon Coleman (WR, Rutgers)
11. Jarvis Landry (WR, LSU)
12. Bruce Ellington (WR, South Carolina)


  1. Stuart

    What if the Hawks took Benjamin in R-1 and Latimer was still available at their pick in R-2? Do you think they would double dip?

    I want Latimer more than Benjamin.

    Does anybody have an idea what the SPARQ number would be for Latimer?

    I watched him speak on a video from his pro day. He could not have sounded better in anyway, very much sounded like Russell Wilson.

    • Rob Staton

      I’m not sure either would be available at that pick (Benjamin at #32, Latimer at #64) but if it happened, they’d have to consider it based on value — depending on who else was on the board.

      • Nate Dogg

        I think you’re underestimating the variability in Benjamin’s stock. He could definitely go high, since it only takes one team to fall in love, but I could see him in the second round too. The combine times and the drops are serious question marks for him.

        • Rob Staton

          I’m not sure a 4.61 at 6-5 and 240lbs will be considered a negative.

          • Kenny Sloth

            What about his poor vert? Not a lot of explosion there. Didn’t jump high on tape either.

            • Rob Staton

              Not such a concern when you consider his height and length. He has a huge catching radius.

              • Griffey, Mays, & Largent

                I am not a fan of Benjamin. I mean his size would be an asset, especially in the redzone, but to me he plays a bit soft. The funny things is I am a fan of Florida State. I would be willing to take him round two. His combination of size and athleticism should translate to the NFL, but after the catch I don’t see the urgency or a hint of power. You would think that he would play behind his size a little. He is bigger than any defensive back. He is even bigger than Kam Bam. But I don’t see it. Give me Beckham Jr., Cooks, or Monecrief any day.

    • Nate

      If we are going 2 WR, I would hope for Martavis Bryant first, LG like Bitonio/Cyril Richardson 2nd rd (or maybe we get lucky and Cyrus Kouandjio falls and we get himlater on) and then Jeff Janis 4th or 5th

  2. David M

    Good write up Rob, thank you.

    Secondly, It looks like the rams signed Britt to a 1yr deal. It obviously looks like they are going OL in the 1st, at least at 2nd overall pick. It makes the most sense though, especially with the three NFC West defenses they have to face 2x a season.

    • Mattk

      Fun fact I learned today regarding Britt. He had more drops last season (7) than he did Yards After Catch (6).

  3. David M

    I think this would be awesome. Take Latimar in the 1st, and Coleman in the 2nd #64

    Latimar is more polished and is ready to be a starter. Coleman with a year of redshirt or just a year of special teams/ 5th WR, and he could comeback his 2nd year and turn into a Josh Gordon very easily.

    A little bit of patients and tuning on Coleman can pay off in a big way i feel.

    • Madmark

      Not trying to offend all you Latimer lovers out there but a starter you all are dreaming. There are 4 receivers on the roster who have superbowl ring and there not going to give there positions without a fight and they’ve been in the NFL longer than Cody. I admit I like Moncrief but I don’t even believe he could push our 4 guys for a spot as starter his first year.

      • Mattk

        We have three receivers worth a damn on the roster: Harvin, Baldwin, and Kearse. If you’re counting Lockette than you’re putting too much faith into him. His Superbowl ring means less than his 5 catches in the year, I’d say. Neither him or Kearse have the hands or size of Latimer and neither can block as well as him either (though I know we disagree on that aspect).

        Latimer won’t have to be the starter, but his hands and body control are already NFL starting level. His route running could use some work, but which rookie doesn’t? He can be placed into 3 or 4 receiver sets and do very well.

        • Nate

          I’m making a bold prediction that Taylor Price beats out Kearse by at least mid season. He’s that fast and should have better hands than Lockette/Bates & other ps types

          • Mattk

            That is bold. Its hard to get a grasp on Kearse. He was a big play machine last season in limited targets which I loved to see, but I wonder how he would do as the #3 receiver in a more complete role. I’m not confident his drop-issues are behind him, either.

            One thing I’ve heard though from Doug Baldwin is that he has a lot of faith in Kearse stepping up into a bigger role.

            • Griffey, Mays, & Largent

              I agree with Madmark. There are only a few guys coming out who are capable of knocking off our “pedestrian” WRs. Harvin is the real deal, Baldwin is completely underrated and the second coming of Bobby Engram, Kearse is more than serviceable with big play ability (that lasik seemed to do the trick) and Lockette deserves a shot to show what he can do

              That being said lets get some more talent there.

              • mattk

                You think Lockette is that good?

                No offense, but why? Lockette has had his shot. He’s been cut numerous times and shows a lack of ball skills throughout his career in tight coverage, along with a number of drops during pre-season (his shot to make the cut).

                • Madmark

                  We know Lockette has the athletic build hell he was on our roster for 2 years bounced from our practice squad to S.F. . Had nice 19yd caught in supper bowl. He been in the system for a while and I think he’s matured and knows what’s expect of him in this coming year. He really won’t be surprised.

                  • YDB

                    Damn right he’s matured…he’ll be 28 before the start of training camp!

                    He is a tremendous athlete, and has shown a willingness to be an important special teams contributor. Also, he did marginally develop as a route runner this past season; however, all indications seem to be that he has maxed out his potential. Barring some type of minor miracle, the Ricardo Lockette we saw in 2013 is about as good as he is going to get.

                    I love rooting for the Rocket as much as anybody, but realistically he has reached his ceiling.

  4. Nate Dogg

    Surprised to see Bruce Ellington in your top 12. He’s a nice player and a tenacious blocker, but I don’t know if he cracks my top 20.

    • Kenny Sloth

      Here’s a real reply. Who would you have over Bruce Ellington? Allen Robinson?

      • j

        I would have Ellington higher – over Landry, Moncrief, Coleman, and even Benjamin. (This is ignoring individual team needs, of course). He’s just as physical of a player as Landry, but faster and more athletic. As far as the other guys – personally I’m risk averse when it comes to drafting WR high. When talking about athletic freak WR that need development, for every Josh Gordon it seems there are five Stephen Hills.

      • Nate Dogg

        Yeah, Robinson and Matthews, Adams, Abbrederis, Landry. Ellington is in the group with guys like Huff, Richardson, and Herron for me.

        • Kenny Sloth

          I disagree with that.
          Robinson is a real wildcard for me. I can see an NFL in which he is really productive. But I can also see him being a solid fourth at best.

    • Kory

      Same here. I think people want to feel like they are the next great scout. So when they start rolling tape of an Ellington they say “this guys got the goods” and jump him ahead of nice boring productive guys like Robinson and Mathews.

      In all honesty, Ellington looks like a RB/WR hybrid. I don’t think he’ll make it in the NFL as either. He might make it as a third down back/6th reciever/special teams guy…. but to put him above proven, legitimate, WR’s is silly.

  5. Kenny Sloth

    Who is the #2 safety you mentioned? Do you like HHCD or Pryor more? I like Pryor, because he has more explosiveness and recognition.

    I also absolutely agree with your analysis, but I think it will be a little more mixed in terms of who decides to dip into the bevy of talent at the wideout position early. Some won’t wait and others will see what’s left in hopes of hitting on some of those boom or bust prospects you won’t want to wait for in the second. Like Ra’Shede Hageman.

    I’m really high on Nix in the same way you like Lee. He was a terror in 12. Flew off the ball. I’m concerned about his motivation, but his tape before that shitty offseason was electric. (first time anyone’s called a 320 lber ‘electric’)

    • Rob Staton

      I prefer Clinton-Dix personally.

      • Kenny Sloth

        Fair enough. Really excellent article, by the way. Can’t wait to see this reflected in your next mock.

        • Rob Staton

          I will say though, I’d probably grade Clinton Dix in the 20’s and he’ll go earlier because of needs. I’m not crazy about any of the safety’s.

          • Kenny Sloth

            Yeah, I was definitely way too high on this class midseason. It’s got decent depth, though. There’ll be some mid-late round options, I think.

            Ryan Shazier as a Safety? Kam Chancellor type? Definitely don’t see his transition as a LB going smoothly.

            • Rob Staton

              Shazier is best for me as a rangy linebacker. Like his upside in a protected defense like Seattle’s. But it’d be a luxury pick for the Seahawks if he’s there at #32 — which I don’t expect.

            • Madmark

              Every LB on the Seahawks runs 4.5- 40 and the lowest SPARQ for a LB on Seattle is 115.53 for K.J. Wright. The highest of course is Bruce Irving at a whooping 146.22. Shazier reminds me of a Khaseem Green we talked about 2 drafts ago. Telvin Smith would make a nice LB convert to SS at 6’3″ 218lbs. and he loves to hit.

              • Mattk

                KJ Wright ran a 4.75 40

  6. James

    Rob, you make a very good argument re the WRs, based on your analysis of their skills levels vs the other position players…..though I have to say that it is still very difficult to imagine 9 WRs going in R1. If 9 WRs do indeed go R1, obviously that means that 9 additional players at other positions will still be there at #32. I doubt very much that the 10th best WR would have a R1 grade from the Seahawks, so a run on WRs would mean that other good players are going to drop. Players like Hageman, Tuitt, S’ua-Filo, Shazier, Ealy and Moses, who have consensus R1 grades on the national boards….a few of these guys will still be there at #32 if 9 WRs go. In my view, this would be a good thing. Although a toolsy SE like Benjamin would be a nice add, do we really want to invest a R1 pick on a guy who would be our 4th WR, if he is only the 10th best WR in the draft? Best guess is that if 9 WRs do indeed go, then we should be able to land an excellent O or D lineman.

    • Rob Staton

      Last year nine offensive linemen were drafted in the first round. This is a better receiver class than last years OL class. So for me it’s entirely possible we’ll see 8-9 receivers go in round one and the 8th, 9th and maybe even 10th best receiver wouldn’t be a reach in that situation.

      If nine go in round one, that also includes the #32 pick which is Seattle’s. I’m saying 8-9 might go in the first frame, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Seattle at #32 aren’t one of the teams taking one of the 8-9.

      Su’a-Filo and Ealy are not worthy of first round picks IMO. In my last mock I had eight receivers going in the first and Moses, Hageman and Shazier were all off the board by #32 anyway. I’m not sure other positions will fall because I’ve believed for a few weeks now that the receivers in this class were better than some of the other players.

      And I don’t think drafting a receiver at #32 means you look at him as a #4 receiver on this team. It means you look at him as a guy who might be able to contribute in year one, but over the course of a five year contract he’ll hopefully develop into a potential #1 receiver earning as little as $1.5-2.5m a year at a time DeSean Jackson is likely to get $10m per year. Whoever we draft at #32 is going to need time to develop.

    • Ben2

      Kinda agree – after about 7 or & on Robs list I’m probably going with a Hageman, Moses, maybe Tuitt if they’re still in the board.

  7. Davison Phipps

    What about Davante Adams? He has some pretty impressive tape, albeit against inferior competition, and obvious athleticism.

    • Rob Staton

      Inflated numbers playing in a pass happy offense against horrendous opponents. I like his attitude, personality and some of the aspects of his game. But he also has small hands, he’s not huge in terms of size and yet he runs a 4.56. His forty time is the same as Brandon Coleman’s at 6-6 and 225lbs. I’m not sure there’s a ton of upside here.

      • AlaskaHawk

        Would you take Adams at 64? I would. He has excellent pass catching ability. As for speed we already have Percy Harvin and others. We need someone to get to a spot and catch the ball.

      • Cameron

        I cooled off a bit on Adams after I found out he’s not actually 6’2″ (actually just over 6′). However with his 39.5″ vert he plays like a bigger receiver and I think he will be a good red line/zone threat at the next level. I don’t like him on the WR screen stuff… he gets too cute and doesn’t follow his blocks.

        His tape against USC in the Las Vegas Bowl should be reviewed by all. He had modest production but was let down time and time again by Derek Carr (who had a coming out party, and not the good kind). I’m particularly intrigued by his back shoulder grab at 0:03, his fake to the slant ‘n go at 0:59, stutter ‘n go at 2:42 (both these plays TD’s with accurate throws), and his lone TD, another nice back shoulder grab at 4:08.

        Full tape – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20Y-YGtGFQk

        • Emperor_MA

          Davante Adams ran 4.47 at Fresno State’s Pro Day. I don’t know where the 6′ tall is coming from, he measured 6′ 1 3/8″. His hands may measure small, but you don’t see the dropsies you get with a Coleman, Benjamin, even Moncrief. You even see one-handed catches on tape … a sure-fire way to calculate if a receiver has “good hands.” You also see tons of high-point plays with hands fully extended from his body, fantastic body control and a very uncanny ability to get separation while the ball is in the air. You also absolutely never see anybody catch him once he gets a step.

          There will be a few DBs from the MWC that get drafted. A few will even play in the league. Adams owned them all, including USC’s corners, whom he burnt for TDs around three times, although Carr only managed to hit him on one.

          • Rob Staton

            Adams was 6-0 at the combine and ran a 4.56. He must’ve worn platform shoes for his pro-day.

            And regarding those MWC DB’s… there may be one or two that play at the next level, but a lot of them won’t even get anywhere close to a camp invite. Fresno played against some shambolic defenses in 2013.

  8. Cameron

    I’m of the belief that the only way Seattle takes a receiver @ #32 is if one of a small cadre of players is available when they pick. Those players are, in my opinion: Kelvin Benjamin, Martavis Bryant, Odell Beckham Jr, and Donte Moncrief (who I am admittedly not high on). Those are three pro-typical big target wide outs and OBJ because he is just a badass.

    If they are all off the board I see them going best available Offensive Lineman, whether that be a guard or a tackle. Then I see them taking what is left of the WR group at 64. I happen to believe one of Landry, Coleman, Ellington, or Latimer will be available there.

    • Belgaron

      They’ll go with best available on their board. It could end up being a TE or DL or even a LB (but in that case, it’d probably be a LEO). They don’t lock in on “needs” per se, but their overall strengths do reflect through how they build their board.

    • Mattk

      One thing to consider with drafting a receiver with the #32 pick; the 5th year option

      Golden Tate could not get out of Seattle faster when the Lions and their checkbook and pass-happy offense came calling. If Seattle continues to play their style of ball, Seattle receiver’s will keep be somewhat underused and the threat of them leaving in FA after their rookie contract will always be there.

      • factchecker

        I think the O-line positions, both guard and tackle, have a much more significant dropoff between the viable first-round options and “the rest of the bunch” than the WR group. Particularly at OT and, hello, we have no RT (I see you Bowie and Bailey, the late-round pick, O-line version of Simon & Garfunkel).

        Two guys I love that have been afterthoughts at both positions, Brandon Thomas and Jordan Matthews, look increasingly likely to be available at # 32 and 64, respectively. Thomas has the versatility this regime loves, and the length and tenacity they require. Plus, he’s quite athletic for a big fella. Jordan Matthews may not be the fluid athlete some of the higher rated WRs are, but he’s a reputed hardest worker-type, and checks all boxes but agility (6’3″, 210+, 35 in. vert, 20 reps, 4.46). Oh, and he’s Jerry Rice’s cousin. Doesn’t hurt.

  9. Rock

    If only one QB goes in round one then I think with the #32 pick Seattle will take one. Let’s assume it is Teddy Bridgewater. Then they sit there all night negotiating with the four or five teams that passed on QB’s thinking they could get one in round two. Suddenly the QB hungry teams will count heads and realize somebody like Chicago, Jacksonville or Minnesota is going to miss out on their guy. A trade occurs for the QB we just selected and Seattle bags a couple extra picks. Let’s say we trade #32 to Jacksonville for #39 and #70 or Minny for #40 and #72. If a bidding war ensues we might get a little more. It is after all a franchise QB. Schneider is just the guy to pull this off.

    • Rock

      Of course, this is illogical and will probably never happen. If three of the top four QB’s are still on the board at the bottom of round one, San Francisco, Denver and Seattle would each grab one and say, “Thank you, very much!” Then the QB needy teams would really be SOL. In that scenario Seattle would be the team most likely to sell and would net a kings ransom.

    • Colin

      If they didn’t want Bridgewater before 32, what makes you think they’ll want him once Seattle has him?

      • Kenny Sloth

        Maybe they would be hoping for an AJ Green/Andy Dalton type thing.

        • Colin

          That’s actually a pretty solid idea, since there doesn’t look to be any QB’s who look worthy of taking in the top 10. Taking a Watkins or Mike Evans first makes more sense.

    • Rob Staton

      There’s every chance those teams don’t bite and then you’re left with a first round backup quarterback.

      • Rock

        There has NEVER been a time when a QB could not be moved and those teams would definatily bite. Houston has already cleaned out it’s locker room of starting QB’s and Cleveland has nothing. But a quality backup would be fine if it comes to that. We could trade Wilson, start Bridgewater and continue on a rookie deal at QB for another four years.

        • Belgaron

          Wilson is the guy. He’s already proven he can win big games. They’d never risk an opportunity at continuing to play at a high level of excellence just to save the difference in salary, especially with the rumor that the cap will continue to jump up for the next few years.

          As an insurance possibility, maybe. But this year they’ll look to fill depth for all the guys they lost. They are still very strong at QB but they do have a few guys they might bring in on a late pick/udfa approach.

        • Rob Staton

          This is surely an April Fools joke? How much luck are Washington having in moving Kirk Cousins? Or New England and Ryan Mallett?

          You seriously think Cleveland will pass on someone like Bridgewater twice, and then just because Seattle drafted him they’ll be falling over themselves to make a deal?

          And the bit about trading Wilson. Good one.

          • Jrockrichards

            I agree. I watched Bridgewaters pro day live and that was a travesty.

            • Kenny Sloth

              Pro Days are worthless. Watch some tape. He does everything I want from a Pro QB.

              • Jrockrichards

                When you can’t run a scripted event in your favor that’s supposed to hide your weaknesses, that’s not completely worthless.

                Wasn’t saying to base all of the scouting off his pro day. It’s just something to worry about when everything should be a cakewalk for you.

          • Rock

            … and now we read that Houston may draft two QB’s as Washington did. Do you honestly think teams are going to take a chance that Denver doesn’t jump at the chance late to snag a QB to replace Peyton in a year or two? If there is a guy out there you bring him in and let him compete just as the Hawks did when they had Flynn. QB’s are the coin of the realm in the NFL. Teams pay a lot for one that can play and often over draft them. That is just the way it works in the NFL. You are the one suggesting teams are going to pass on Bridgewater twice, not me. I think your suggestion teams will take one QB and nine WR’s in the first round is an exercise in confirmation bias.

            • Rob Staton

              Or maybe I just disagree with you and you need to deal with that?

              • Rock

                Or maybe you write a blog but expect nothing but positive feedback.

                • Rob Staton

                  I can tolerate negative feedback. I encourage it if that’s what people believe. What I can’t tolerate is someone talking nonsense and accusing me of bias. Get a grip.

        • Kory

          And after Bridgewaters contract is up, Darrell Bevell can lace up the boots and we could save money that way.

  10. Ray bones

    Great article Rob, but it actually raises more questions for me then it settles. Value. It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot during the draft build up and yet for such a simple word it actually complicates things in my mind. I couldn’t agree more with your assessment of this WR class. It is exceptionally deep and most important to me, it’s diverse. You want a big red zone threat? It’s 3-4 deep. Dominant slot receiver? Several outstanding ones available. Every team that needs an upgrade at this position can probably fill that need and more. However, here’s the conundrum for me. Where does WR rank in comparative “value” to the other positions? I think the QB is probably the position that carries the most value in the NFL. I would then value the QB’s protector, the tackle’s, 2nd. Pass rushers next by a sliver over the CB’s. And so on until some where down the line you arrive at the WR’s. The margins, granted, are small but they are there for me. So my question is how do you determine the relative value between say, the number 10 wr as opposed to the number 3 tackle? I think that drafting a player like Marcus Smith at 32 probably has more value to the team then adding a potential #2-3 receiver even thou that receiver might be a slightly more talented football player. I am leaning towards restocking the trenches in round one. Thanks for providing a forum here to discuss this stuff Rob, I love it!

    • Rob Staton

      “So my question is how do you determine the relative value between say, the number 10 wr as opposed to the number 3 tackle?”

      Pure tape review IMO. And as much as I like Marcus Smith, for me the top 8-9 receivers in this class are simply better players. And again I’ll keep stressing this — if you take a WR at #32 in this class, you’re not looking to add a #2 or #3. You’re talking about finding a #1. Maybe not when they’re a rookie, but Marcus Smith isn’t going to be a top end pass rusher in year one either. By 2015/2016, you’re new receiver at #32 would be your guy.

  11. EranUngar

    Great work Rob…loved it.

    A few remarks –

    If we agree that a WR picked at 32 will need the time to mature and we do not expect him to be a day 1 starter then maybe picking a physical upside receiver at 64 makes more sense. You could draft a starting offensive lineman or a big contributor on the decimated D line. If the rush to pick receivers is on and 8-9 are picked in the first there may only be 3-4 picked in the 2nd. Maybe it should be pick WR at 64 and add one more on the 4th or 5th if this class is very deep.

    A lot will depend on the effect of the Seahawks winning it all with basically 3 receivers, 2 of which were UDFAs. Maybe the message picked by the copycat league is stock on rotation DL players rather then boost your passing game early. The Seahawks message was that defense and being physical wins a championship and it may effect this draft.

    Last remark – In the past 2 years RW held the ball longest in the league and had the highest sack percentage. There may be many reasons for it but one could be that this is what he is asked to do – Do not pass till a receiver is clearly open. If this is indeed the case then picking players that can win a high ball means less then find a player that can get open quicker. I don’t see PC going for a lot of jump balls to the likes of Coleman. I think they’ll value speed, route running and production as much as just freak size. Seeing what the Seahawks did to the likes of Graham or CJ in their games against the Saints and the Lions makes me believe that they may not make size the one and only factor.

    • Rob Staton

      Well, we’d be assuming in that scenario that an offensive lineman drafted at #32 would be able to start in year one (not a given). We’d also be assuming there’d still be a receiver worth drafting at #64.

      Whoever Seattle drafts at #32 is going to need time to develop. It’s much harder to find an instant starter picking at #32 compared to #15 — whatever the position. If there’s a Joel Bitonio at #32 I’d consider it for sure. But then I also wouldn’t shirk away from the 8th or 9th receiver in a great class simply because they’re the 8th or 9th guy off the board.

      I think Wilson holding the ball longest in the league is a by-product of Carroll wanting the Seahawks to be the best scrambling offense in the league. We’ll never see RW firing out quick, short passes. It’s actually by design. And because they take a lot of shots and throw into contested areas, they need someone who can win 50/50 battles.

      • Belgaron

        Seahawks grading seems to lean towards upside. I don’t think they value the ability to come in an start immediately as much as the ability to be really good at some point. Chancellor, Sherman, and Wilson started as backups or as part of the mix; this is central to the program.

      • Kory

        I think you’ve missed a very big point Rob.

        Lets say 7 receivers are taken before us in round one. Well, at that point nearly 25% of the NFL has gone receiver. The chances of those same 25% going receiver again in the next few rounds is practically nill. So when it’s our turn to choose we will have very little worry of receivers coming off the board before 64 because again, the teams that wanted WR have already went there… and a run like that usually freezes teams that still need to go WR, because they figure everyone else is done and they can hold off awhile longer themselves….

        Once runs like that happen, the position cools off for awhile. So if 7 WR’s go before us it seems to me like the best option would be to go to an “untapped well”, be it D-line or O-line, then come back to WR at 64 where the position will probably be right where we left it 32 picks ago, or at least really close to where we left it.

        Basically it’s never smart to be the last person in line when there is a run on a position. Because again, that position is going to run cold for quite some time after the run is complete. You’re basically losing a bunch of value if you’re the last guy in line. I think that’s one advantage to picking at 32… you kinda get an idea of how round two should shake out based on how round one shook out… therefore you can make a really informed decision on how you want to move forward.

        IMHO being last in line at WR isn’t a good strategy.

        • Rob Staton

          I expect a strong second wave of receivers to leave the board — we might not see a sizeable gap between the two waves either. The position could easily dominate two rounds. For example, what if Washington doesn’t land DeSean Jackson? They don’t have a first round pick. Would a team that potentially goes QB in round one look to add a weapon? What about clubs like Green Bay who consistently target WR’s in round two?

          If there are as many as 12-15 talented receivers in this draft, by #64 I’d expect most if not all to be gone. It’s that strong a class.

          I really think we’re focusing too much on separating the rounds and seeing Seattle as being ‘last’ to a party because they’d be picking 7-8 players down a certain list. We can’t look at it like that. Taking the 10th best receiver at #32 probably isn’t a reach. If the player’s worth the pick, he’s worth the pick. Regardless of the situation.

          • Kory

            The 10th best receiver at 32 is a major reach. This draft class is nice but there would be so much low hanging fruit at other positions if that many WR’s go off the board that early. Sprinkle in 3 QB’s and a couple of DB’s and we’re looking at a whole lot left over.

            We spent our first and our third and our fourth last year at WR. I don’t see us taking a WR at 32 unless some good value falls to us. It’s so much more responsible to go offensive line, that way we make sure Lynch/Michael/Turbin have plenty of good blocking in front of them, as well as to protect our franchise QB.

            Just a final point. If Jackson doesn’t sign with Washington, so what, he’s going to sign somewhere. Where ever he signs it will be one less team in the hunt for an early round WR. The team he goes to is pretty irreverent.

            • Rob Staton

              Again, we’re not judging players based on their talent. We’re basing it on them being the 10th player off the board at a certain position. That’s not right.

              Case in point — nine offensive lineman went in round one last year. It doesn’t matter if you want to take the 10th guy at #32 if that’s the right guy.

  12. Stuart

    Another fine post Rob, thank you.

    David M that is a great idea!

    Next year we will have 4 supplemental draft picks for a total of 11. What’s wrong with using our 2nd -R or 3rd-R to trade with this year? We will still be loaded with Draft picks and we get to use it on a super talented draft class.

    What say you?

    • Belgaron

      You’d have to have a good reason. In a deep draft, it doesn’t make any sense. 5 years from know you won’t look back and think “if they’d only traded up…”, you’ll think “why weren’t they smart enough to take the guy that went 5 picks later?”. Of course Seattle regularly has teams asking the latter question.

      • Kenny Sloth

        He’s not saying we trade-up. He’s positing that we trade next year’s picks for more picks in this year’s deep class.

        • Belgaron

          Yeah, you are right I read that too quickly. I still think dynasties are built through great talent evaluation teams dealing from quantity. There will be plenty of talent to be acquired in this draft, no need to mortgage the farm.

  13. woofu

    They don’t care if they get “panned” or not.

    • Rob Staton

      I know.

      • Belgaron

        I think they enjoy it actually.

        • Kenny Sloth

          I know I do. Haters gonna hate.

  14. Christon

    Great piece Rob. It makes a lot of sense and I think your right – its important to get one of the elite WRs from this class. I would be very happy with so many different players (mostly WRs) at #32 its CRAZY (and very different than most years where I only like a few players at each pick). I guess my biggest concern was that the Seahawks were able to get Golden Tate – a very talented WR in the late second round in a class that wasn’t as good as this one. It’s hard not to compare what Tate is now to these receivers and it feels like we are reaching on a less talented player at #32 but since they are the strength of this class their might be 15 receivers off the board by the time we hear our name called a second time. Better grab one when we can.

    • Belgaron

      Wilson makes receivers better, not in quantity but in quality. Whomever they add will look good in this offense if they win a roster spot. You can bet the Seahawks have identified good receivers who they anticipate being available throughout the draft and after the draft is over.

  15. monkey

    Draftek has the Seahawks three biggest needs listed as WR, RT and DT, I get the first two, (I think you could put RG in there and almost as easily as RT), but how is DT more of a need than LB with two of our starters playing out the final years on their contracts next season, and very little depth?

    I realize you’re not necessarily advocating draftek Rob. Just saying…part of what teams do in the draft is, anticipating needs and filling them BEFORE they become soul crushing problems. You know. Being proactive. You would think that Draftek would recognize that.

  16. Belgaron

    It’s possible 9 go in round 1 but pretty unlikely. Timmy Ruskell used to try to get the “bests” of the draft. He’d use late picks to get the best FB, LS, P, K, for example. I think there are some GMs who have an aversion to taking the 9th best at a position when #1, 2, or 3 at some other position is available. I’m not saying that is the correct choice, I just think they are unlikely to do it, right or wrong.

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t think anyone thinks like this personally. For me teams grade players accordingly, not whether they’re the 7th or 8th name on a list.

      • Belgaron

        And a good GM would not be afraid to take #9, if they represented the best value for their team. I just don’t think there are a lot of good GMs. For 9 to go, there would be some slides of guys expected to go sooner. It might play into the hands of a team drafting at the end of the round. So in that case, I would applaud such a run.

  17. me

    I think you overlook the opportunity cost here. If there are 15 day 1/day 2 WR and only 3 day 1/day 2 type pass rushing fits for your team and you need one of each as immediate contributors? You’re picking pass rush first or not getting one no matter how the board reads.

  18. AlaskaHawk

    One player who might fall is Marqise Lee. Since his last season of injuries it would be easy to question his toughness. One solid hit from our safeties would put him out of the game. I mean look what happened to Vernon Davis, and he is no Vernon Davis. I don’t know if general managers would think like that. But I will predict that of the top 5 receivers he has the greatest chance of busting. He may very well slide and be available to San Fran. If he makes it past them then the Seahawks are the next stop.

    • Rob Staton

      Personally I think he’s a nailed on top-15 pick. Nobody can question his toughness — he’s the most competitive player in this entire draft. He played against Stanford last season clearly well off 100%, limping around the field and yet still being the best playmaker on the field by a mile. Even when he was banged up, he was sensational. And the previous two years when he was healthy and with a competent quarterback, he was the best receiver in college football. He is just too good and should, IMO, be a top ten pick.

      • AlaskaHawk

        Alright, I won’t question Lees toughness – I’ll question his durability instead. He is 6′ tall and 192 pounds. Lighter (and possibly a tenth slower) than Beckham who is considered a pretty speedy receiver. Will he last in the NFL? I think it is a legitimate question considering he is being reated against some other top receivers. He also has average hand size at 9.5″, which I don’t think matters but it might to some general managers. His tape shows that he is a great recevier, and he will certainly rate high. I am just throwing out a few reasons why he might slide, if so most likely into the mid round area.

        • AlaskaHawk

          PS I need to get my spelling checker working.

        • Rob Staton

          Again it’s just my take, but I don’t see any reason to believe he won’t have a healthy and prosperous career. One slightly injury hit year at USC doesn’t make that a concern IMO. As for his hands — 9.5 inches is equal to Martavis Bryant, bigger than Brandon Coleman and 1/8 of an inch smaller than Mike Evans. So comparatively speaking his hand size isn’t an issue.

          It’s just my take, but I don’t think we need to try and find reasons why he could fall. He’s a brilliant player. And while some of the national guys have him dropping out of the top-20 just because of a 4.5 forty, teams will be smarter than that. The Giants will be lucky if he’s there at #12. He’s a top-10 talent.

  19. David M

    Jest Signed Jacoby Ford. Do you still see them taking a WR in round one? or a TE

    • Rob Staton

      Jacoby Ford had 99 receiving yards last season. He averaged less than a catch per game. I highly doubt he’ll have any impact on the Jets’ draft board.

  20. smitty1547

    WOW still stunned at someone thinking we should draft Bridgewater and trade Wilson. For all of the deserved love are FO gets they might be strung up for that move.

  21. Christian


    Do you have any favourite late round options, of any position?

    • Rob Staton

      Jonathan Dowling (CB, Western Kentucky)
      Mo Alexander (S, Utah State)
      Jeff Janis (WR, Saginaw Valley State)
      Marcel Jensen (TE, Fresno State)
      Tom Savage (QB, Pittsburgh)
      Jonotthan Harrison (C, Florida)
      James Gayle (DE, Virginia Tech)
      Zach Kerr (DT, Delaware)
      Caruan Reid (DT, Princeton)
      Ed Stinson (DT, Alabama)

      There’s a few names that spring to mind.

  22. Stuart

    Seriously, draft Bridgewater and trade our beloved Russell Wilson?

    I remember reading somebody’s post that seemed logical about drafting Bridgewater, only to trade him right away for more picks, a team that planned on taking him near the top of R-2.

    You would have to assume a lot though to make such a bold move, unless JS already had a trading partner or 2 waiting in the wings.

    I cant believe anybody who loves the Seahawks as much as we do would even suggest trading Russell Wilson.

    It had to be a national media knucklehead. I read somewhere that many believe Johnny Football is superior to Russell Wilson when he was coming out of school.

    Did you know that Russell Wilson had the highest QB rating ever in the entire history of college football, just read that somewhere, here maybe…

    The only QB in the entire league I would entertain a trade for would be Andrew Luck, and personally, I would rather have Russell Wilson.

    • AlaskaHawk

      I doubt they really believe that. They probably wrote the article to stir up controversy and get internet hits.

  23. Chris

    FWIW, I’m back on the Brandon Coleman bandwagon. I kid of like him better than Benjamin. Am I crazy to think that? With all the possibilities, I’m excited for this draft more than others, more than the Okung and Thomas draft.

    • Rob Staton

      Not crazy at all.

    • YDB

      If you’re crazy, I right there with you. I think that Coleman is a much better prospect than Benjamin.

  24. YDB

    This is really well done Rob.

    I read the title and kinda expected a breakdown of the recievers in the class, but instead the piece got into the needs of teams throughout the League. This puts some perspective into the discussion of who might actually be available come pick #32.

    With the obvious strength of this class at WR, there will undoubtedly be a big run on the position group in the first round. The question then becomes: just how big of a run will we see? I think what you have laid out is very possible and we could see up to 8 or even 9 receivers off the board by the end of the first day.

    I think it is definitely possible that the ‘hawks have a 1st round grade on 4 or 5 WRs. It will be very interesting to see how the draft plays out, and if Seattle can get one of “their” guys to fall into their lap when they are on the clock. The best case scenario to hope for will be that QBs skyrocket up the board and we see 4 go in the first round. Sprinkle in a few TEs and ~4 CBs early, and Seattle would likely be sitting in a great postion to pick up an impact maker at WR or OT.

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