This post comes from Justin Becker of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow him on Twitter @NFLRankings or the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more 2014 Fantasy Football Projections visit Fantasy Football Overdose.
Wide receiver was one of the most talked about position leading into the 2014 NFL Draft, and for various different reasons.
This past year’s class had two immensely talented receivers in Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans, yet their games couldn’t have been more different. In fact, an inability to truly compare them to each other is a big reason why their exact draft value fluctuated, depending on who you talked to.
Ultimately, Watkins was viewed as the more explosive option with more overall value thanks to added versatility. While that may have been the case, Evans had him beat in size, catch radius, ball skills and red-zone potential.
Still, these were two flat-out elite receivers in arguably one of the deeper wide receiver draft classes we’ve seen in a while. This class was so deep, in fact, that talents like Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson and Donte Moncrief weren’t even taken until after the first round.
We could be headed for another stacked showing at the position for the 2015 NFL Draft, as well. It’s very early and things will surely change to some degree, but there are definitely already five guys who should be near the top of everyone’s list at the position.
Let’s break down the top-five receivers going into next year’s draft:
1. Amari Cooper (Alabama)
Cooper doesn’t have freakish size, but he has solid size and speed to go with a good frame. He also has immense upside, as he still posted solid numbers in 2013 despite dealing with a toe injury. With the top receiver job to be his in 2014, he should make a big leap and solidify himself as the top wide receiver in the 2014 draft class.
2. Nelson Agholor (USC)
When isn’t there a stud USC receiver making noise? Agholor is another classic Trojan receiver who has a nice combo of size and speed, but isn’t exactly a beast in either area. His numbers should only grow to be more impressive in 2014, as he’ll be USC’s top option in the passing game. A quality showing this year could vault him up draft boards.
3. Jaelen Strong (Arizona State)
Strong is one of those guys that mirrors Mike Evans this year, as he had adequate speed to go along with elite size and play-making ability. Despite some nagging injuries in the second half of the 2013 season, Strong still finished with impressive numbers and consistently put his difference-making skill-set on full display.
He has 2014 to round out any lingering fundamental issues and has the physical gifts to turn into a dominant presence at the next level.
4. Rashad Greene (Florida State)
Greene isn’t a physical marvel like some of the other top receiver prospects. He doesn’t have imposing size or blazing speed, but he played in the shadow of Kelvin Benjamin a bit in 2013. He’s not the freak Benjamin could be at the next level (now with the Panthers), but he’s actually a much more well rounded product. He runs pristine routes and has become a very reliable possession receiver who comes up big in the clutch.
Greene also has solid athleticism and is an underrated natural talent. He’s about as NFL-ready as it gets and should be a lock for the first two rounds if all goes well in 2014.
5. Stefon Diggs (Maryland)
Diggs isn’t the biggest or strongest receiver, but he has fantastic sub 4.40 wheels and brings awesome explosiveness and versatility to the table. He is already an enticing talent NFL GMs will want to get their hands on, but added experience will only boost his stock even more going into 2015. He needs to get stronger and stay healthy this year (broke his leg in 2013), but is well on his way to being a top-five option. He should be a lock for the first two rounds.
You can absolutely make an argument for some other exciting receivers like Ty Montgomery, Antwan Goodley, Devante Parker, Dorial Green-Beckham and probably several others. Green-Beckham is an especially interesting case, as his size/speed combo is insane but his value has taken a hit due to being kicked off the Missouri football team.
It’s still very early in the process, and while the five guys above are clear possibilities to round out the top five receiver prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft, a lot could change between now and then.
Tags: 2015 Nfl Draft