Top 40 Wide Receiver Prospects for the 2012 NFL Draft

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Update January 2012 after Senior Bowl

1. Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
2. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
3. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
4. Kendall Wright, Baylor*
5. Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers
6. Nick Toon, Wisconsin**
7. Dwight Jones, North Carolina
8. Marvin McNutt, Iowa
9. Rueben Randle, LSU
10. Chris Givens, Wake Forest
11. Brian Quick, Appalachian State
13 Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
13. Tommy Streeter, Miami
14. Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M
15. Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma***
16. T.J. Graham, N.C. State
17. Jarius Wright, Arkansas
18. DeVier Posey, Ohio State****
19. Eric Page, Toledo
20. Juron Criner, Arizona*****
21. Joe Adams, Arkansas
22. Gerrell Robinson, Arizona State
23. Jermaine Kearse, Washington
24. Jordan White, Western Michigan
25. A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
26. B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State
27. Lance Lewis, East Carolina
28. LaVon Brazill, Ohio
29. Derek Moye, Penn State
30. Chris Owusu, Stanford
31. Danny Coale, Virginia Tech
32. Jarrett Boykin, Virginia Tech
33. Marquis Maze, Alabama
34. Keshawn Martin, Michigan State
35. Travis Benjamin, Miami
36. Marvin Jones, California******
37. Tim Benford, Tennessee Tech
38. Junior Hemingway, Michigan
39. Rishard Matthews, Nevada
40. Dale Moss, South Dakota State

I’m just going to list the players based on their rankings at this point in time. Sayre and I Jesse) made this list from a back and forth.

There were some smaller school guys we really liked but we hadn’t seen them play enough to give them huge boosts.

Our scouting reports for many of these players can be found on our scouting report page

After the list resides the preseason rankings

  1. Justin Blackmon
  2. Alshon Jefferey
  3. Michael Floyd
  4. Dwight Jones
  5. Marvin McNutt
  6. Mohamed Sanu
  7. Kendall Wright
  8. Ryan Broyles
  9. Nick Toon
  10. Stephen Hill
  11. Devier Posey
  12. Juron Criner
  13. Jeff Fuller
  14. T.Y. Hilton
  15. Joe Adams
  16. Brian Quick
  17. A.J. Jenkins
  18. B.J. Cunningham
  19. Jermaine Kearse
  20. 20 Jordan White
  21. Greg Childs
  22. Eric Page
  23. Chris Owusu
  24. Marvin Jones
  25. Cobi Hamilton

Rueben Randle was left off this list, expect him to declare. His potential would put him in the middle of the list, but he hasn’t played as well as he can this year.

1. Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina, 6’4″ 234 (Junior)

Bar-none the best wide receiver in the class of 2012 if he decides to come out, in my opinion. Jeffery has the total package. He is a hard worker with fantastic size and athletic ability. Incredible body control and field vision. Sure-handed receiver prospect who is shifty after the catch. He’s not going to blow away anybody with his speed, but he can get downfield with the best of them and make plays. South Carolina really likes to get him the ball out in space and allow him to use his ability after the catch. Such a physically imposing player who dwarfs literally anyone and everyone who attempts to cover him. He will remind people of an even better version of Brandon Marshall. Good quickness in and out of his breaks, and great concentration. In just two seasons, he has an astounding 134 receptions for 2,280 yards and 15 total touchdowns. With every snap that I watch, his size and strength continue to impress. He’s always keeping his eyes downfield to gain that extra yard, and like I said before, he really reminds me of Brandon Marshall in that regard. Right now, he is averaging right around 17 yards per reception, which is phenomenal considering the amount of bubble screens designed for him. Able to absorb the big hit and is not afraid to take a shot in the middle of the field. Bottom line here is that Jeffery is a physical specimen who warrants a top 10 grade after just two seasons against the top competition in college football. His dominance is clear, and his physical abilities are unlike any other receiver even possibly entering the draft next year. I think the only thing that keeps him from being a top 10 pick as well as coming out in 2012 is a serious injury.

2. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State, 6’1″ 210 (Junior)

An absolute beast at the wide receiver position who is considered one of the top two receiver prospects for next year, and one of the top overall prospects in the entire potential 2012 class of players. Broke out as a redshirt sophomore in 2010 with 111 receptions for 1,782 yards, 20 touchdowns, a 16.1 yards per reception average, and a 69 yard rushing touchdown. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Blackmon’s sophomore season was that he did not go a single game without 100 yards or more receiving. If he were to out-do himself, it’s that he didn’t go a single game without catching a touchdown pass despite being the focus of opposing defensive units. Blackmon is a guy who is going to be a high pick in the draft barring significant injury or character flaws. He was arrested for a DUI in late October, but hopefully he can push that issue behind him, as stupid as it is. He should be one of the top offensive players in the country in 2011 with stability at the quarterback position and a healthy season.

3. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame, 6’3″ 230 (Senior)

If ever there was a more appropriate player to look at and use the term “shaking my head” I have yet to find him in this class of players. Floyd was a high school All-American and a top notch collegiate prospect who was heavily recruited out of St. Paul, MN. Has been a dominant playmaker every year he has been at Notre Dame, but has two underage drinking violations (2009, 2010), and will be suspended indefinitely by the Notre Dame coaching staff until he cleans up his act off the field. It’s a wonder he wasn’t kicked off the team for good, but the coaches obviously see something in Floyd, and hopefully this incident and subsequent punishment will help him turn his life around. Floyd needs to realize that he is not just playing for the prestigious Notre Dame, he is performing his audition for all 32 NFL teams, and they don’t miss a thing. In fact, NFL teams will probably dig so far into Floyd’s past, that they will bring up stuff in interviews HE doesn’t even know about. On the field, there is absolutely no questioning his talent. Floyd is a big play receiver who can score every time he touches the ball. As a member of the Fighting Irish, Floyd has caught 171 passes for 2,539 yards and 28 touchdowns. That included a junior season where Floyd caught 79 passes for 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns. Big, strong receiver who is probably the top overall receiver in the class of 2011 among seniors. If he can get his head on straight, he should be able to have a long, successful NFL career, but right now I don’t see him going sooner than the second round because of off-field issues.

4. Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M, 6’3″ 215 (Senior)

Big, strong receiver with great body control and length. One of the best wide receiver prospects in the country who has led the Aggies in receiving touchdowns for three years in a row. Had a breakout season as a junior despite the quarterback situation the Aggies had. 163 receptions over the last three seasons, including a 1,066 yard campaign in 2010 as well as 28 career touchdown receptions. Had a very solid game in the Cotton Bowl against LSU and Patrick Peterson, who is regarded as one of the top young talents in all of football and was the 5th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Not elite speed, but definitely gets in and out of breaks with ease and has excellent footwork on short and intermediate routes. Really good field awareness, but I would love to see him be more aggressive after the catch with his size and strength. Long strider with absolutely gigantic hands. Hands virtually engulf the ball, and has a very natural feel for the game. Can go up and get the ball in traffic and is one of the top red zone threats in the 2012 crop of players. Will be one of the first receivers off the board, and a big time playmaker in the NFL someday.

5. Greg Childs, Arkansas, 6’3″ 217 (Senior)

Childs, the best of the stacked recieving corps, was a sure first round draft choice in 2010.  Big, fast, physical mis-match that tore through all his competion this season.  However during the 8th game of the season, Childs suffered a season ended ACL tear.  Childs had a number of impressive highlights this season, often drawing double teams.  Childs is a good jump ball player, across the middle player, or seam route player.  The only thing that childs doesn’t do as well as the other recievers is run crisp routes.

Childs is the most physically impressive receiver of this group, and likely could be a first or second round pick when his time comes. However, as was noted, the ACL injury is going to need to be proven 100 percent healthy, and we will need to see an improvement in the route running skills, especially in a pass heavy offense. In the NFL, you need to be more than just a “go get it” receiver, and Childs certainly has the capability.

6. Juron Criner, Arizona, 6’4″ 210 (Senior)

**No scouting report yet available**

7. Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma, 5’11” 185 (RS Senior)

Small possession receiver who has been nothing short of spectacular for the Sooners throughout his career. First team All-American in 2010 after catching 131 passes for 1,622 yards and 14 touchdowns. Over the last two seasons, has 220 catches for 2,742 yards and 29 touchdowns while also doubling as a punt returner for the Sooners. Averaging around 11 yards per punt return (90 PR for 998 yards) and has started 26 games over the last two years. Has started 34 games in three years for the Sooners, catching passes from both Sam Bradford and top QB prospect Landry Jones. Broyles isn’t going to really benefit from going back to school another year other than the possibility of a national championship, which seems likely. Fifth year senior with a ton of experience. Not the fastest receiver but very quick, understands route concepts, and understands defense. Was a big time defensive back in high school. Gritty player who is not afraid to put his body out there for contact. Owns 10 Oklahoma records, and is the first WR in 72 years of recorded history at Oklahoma to lead the team in scoring (2009). Broyles is a threat to score every time he touches the ball, and has 16 plays of 40 or more yards.

8. DeVier Posey, Ohio State, 6’3″ 210 (Senior) **Possible supplemental draft entry**

Posey is one of the better big play wide receivers in the country, but like the last couple of guys on this list, he is also in for a five game suspension for the situation that has happened in Columbus. That is unfortunate, because with a big senior season, Posey had a chance to really be an asset to the Ohio State passing game, and he still has that chance, he will just have to wait until mid-season to do it. Posey is a big receiver with good hands and speed. He runs track for Ohio State, or has run track for them, and is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. One of the top senior receivers in this class, he has caught 113 passes over the last couple of years for 1,676 yards and 15 touchdowns. Big play guy who could easily be a second round pick in next year’s draft.

9. Dwight Jones, North Carolina, 6’4″ 225 (Senior)

Big receiver capable of scoring any time he touches the ball. Not blazing speed, but hard to track down when he gets a full head of steam. Once a top WR prospect in the country, and now a top tier NFL prospect who could be a top ten receiver in the 2011 NFL Draft. Had 62 receptions for 946 yards and four touchdowns as a junior when he really had his first breakout season as a Tar Heel, and should be the “go to” guy in the passing game in 2011. Had a game against Florida State in 2010 where he caught 8 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown. Only had four games last year where he had over 100 yards, and was somewhat inconsistent, but showed he can really make an impact on the passing game. Can catch the ball in traffic, on go routes, and has solid body control. Still needs to develop his overall game as a receiver. Size indicates that he would be powerful after the catch, but he seems more of a finesse player. Would love to see him have another huge season as the top passing target in 2011.

10. Denard Robinson, Michigan, 5’11” 195 (Junior) **Plays QB**

I fully expect “Shoelace” to return for his senior season.   The chances of Robinson turning pro after this season are as close to zero as you can get.  In fact, I cannot foresee a scenario in which ”Shoelace” would go pro.  Now that being said, if he does declare this season he will likely be drafted as a receiver or a running back in the 3rd to 4th round range.