Below is FRG’s current ranking of the top-20 wide receiver prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft:
- The 2013 NFL Draft’s elite playmaker, Austin won’t be the first wideout selected because of his future role as a slot wide receiver in the NFL. However, FRG grades slot receivers in the same way as outside targets, since the position is becoming a premium spot on offense. For a complete breakdown on Tavon Austin, click here.
- Woods is getting lost in the wide receiver shuffle as we approach the draft. While he was overshadowed by his teammate Marqise Lee during the 2012 college football season, it would be a mistake to under-value him when compared to his draft classmates. Woods is the most pro-ready wideout available in the 2013 NFL Draft. His skill-set has the makings of a #1, go-to-guy in the NFL. For a complete breakdown on Robert Woods, click here.
- Patterson has the most upside of all the wideouts in this year’s class, but he also comes with a substantial amount of risk. His electric playmaking ability is infectious and will hide the fact that he has only one year of big-time college football experience. Expect a steep learning curve. For a complete breakdown on Patterson, click here.
- Keenan Allen is graded slightly lower by FRG when compared to other scouting outlets. In our opinion, Allen will need to do a better job of catching the ball with his hands to maximize his physical style of play. That said, Allen is the best possession receiver prospect in the class. For a complete breakdown on Allen, click here.
- Hopkins is a fringe first-round pick who could end up providing a team in the second round with great value. Hopkins is one of the best route-runners in the 2013 NFL Draft, as he can create separation from the defender on any level of the field. Hopkins offers a nice combination of traits, as he will be an effective receiver on all three levels of the field. While not an absolute blazer, Hopkins plays with a great understanding of when to play fast and when to gear down.
- Patton projects as a nice possession receiver in the NFL who will be able to beat physical press coverage by using his top-end footwork, head and shoulder fakes off the line of scrimmage. Patton has enough speed to play at the next level, but he won’t be a HR threat in the NFL. Patton is a tough player with reliable hands who will likely emerge as a significant contributor to an NFL offense within his first few seasons as a pro.
- Justin Hunter is a player I struggled on. On any given play, he could look like a guy that would challenge for the top spot on this list. However, his tendency to let the ball get to his body, combined with his 2011 knee injury create questions as to what his overall upside is on the next level. Hunter certainly possesses the height and speed needed to be a vertical threat in the NFL, and his body control route-running suggest that he can be a good intermediate route-runner as well. Hunter has a lot of big plays in his future, and now that he will be two seasons removed from his knee injury, he could be a late 2nd-round player that exceeds the production of many wideouts picked before him.
- Had Rogers remained at Tennessee, who knows what the top of the wide receiver position would be looking like right now. He would have most likely been the No. 1 wideout for the Volunteers, and his combination of size, speed and natural, raw explosion could very well have had him sitting atop the position’s rankings. That said, the concerns surrounding Rogers multiple failed drug tests and ultimate dismissal from Tennessee are too much to overlook. There’s no doubt you’re getting a talented, go-to-guy type of prospect when drafting Rogers. However, if his immaturity shows its face in the NFL, you could also be drafting a major headache. Boom or bust here.
- I’m not quite as high on Markus Wheaton as some other analysts and scouts. Standing at 5’11″, Wheaton doesn’t possess any one elite aspect of his game. Wheaton is a good player, but the upside is limited to good; he won’t be a great wide receiver. His 4.45 40-yard dash is evident on the field, as he is capable of making a big play now and again. But Wheaton will struggle to get consistent separation in the NFL and will likely be a 3rd or 4th option in his team’s passing game. Wheaton compares favorably to Chris Givens, the Rams’ 2012 4th-round pick who found a nice niche as a deep-ball threat in his rookie season.
- Stills is one of the more underrated players in the entire draft. He has been a consistent producer since his freshman year at Oklahoma, and his reliable skill-set and deceptive big-play ability will make him a steal somewhere late on day two.
- The more I watch Hamilton, the less impressed I am. His hands are suspect, as he drops more than his fair share of passes. However, you can’t ignore his raw athleticism and ability to make a play once he has the ball. Hamilton can run through or by the defender and has a chance to be a nice vertical threat in the NFL. He needs to become more consistent on a down-to-down basis before he can be expected to contribute as a potential starter in the NFL.
- Tavarres King has a chance to be the most pleasant surprise of the 2013 NFL Draft. King’s performance at the Scouting Combine ranked him amongst the best athletes at the position, and his film confirms the numbers he recorded in Indy. The biggest concern with King is his tendency to disappear in games. King possesses a nice combination of traits, as he can stretch the defense in the vertical game while also possessing enough wiggle to turn a short catch into a long gain. Had King been more consistent this season, I would’ve graded him much higher (likely in the top-7 of the wide receiver prospects.) He’s a player to keep an eye on in 2013.
- Big, physical possession receiver who is a plus athlete for a 6’3″ prospect. Will be challenged early in his career vs. NFL defensive backs, as he has not faced top-level competition during his time at Marshall. Projects as a special teams contributor early in career with a chance to develop into a taller version of Jason Avant.
Notables not in the top-20:
a) Marquise Goodwin, Texas
b) Ace Sanders, South Carolina
c) Conner Vernon, Duke
d) Jasper Collins, Mount Union
e) Alec Lemon, Syracuse
f) Luke Tasker, Cornell
*Note: Average number of wide receivers drafted over last five years = 31
**To see the accurate measureables for each of the above-listed prospects, view the combine results here.