Best Wide Receivers
Mar. 03, 2002
This year's wide receiver class isn't loaded with first round caliber players, but overall it's comparable to a very talented class that came out last year. Here's a look at the prospects, and when we see them being selected on draft day.
Despite what some say, we see Gaffney coming out early as a great move. He clearly could have used another year of college, but he wouldn't have improved his draft status much. Gaffney will have a hard time adjusting to the NFL jam, and his route running will need some upgrading but the thing you have to like is his ability to catch the ball. He always seems to make the catch. He's very cocky and that may turn a few teams off, but overall he has the most potential of this group.
Ranking: No. 11, 1st Round.
Bryant is considered by many to be the top prospect of this class, yet others have him ranked as low as ninth on their list. The reason? He is very inconsistent and can't seem to stay healthy. Some question his desire, noting his unwillingness to block and his poor work ethic. If Bryant wants to, he has the ability to be one of the best receivers in the league.
Ranking: No. 17, 1st Round.
Stallworth has to be the most athletically gifted prospect of this year's class. He could have used another season in college to refine his skills, but it appears coming out early is going to pay off. He measures six-foot-one, but when you see him play he seems more like he's six-foot-four due to his incredible vertical leap. Stallworth is bit of a project at this time, but in a year or two, he could be amazing.
Ranking: No. 21, 1st Round.
Size and speed, the two most important things NFL scouts are looking for, are the two things Josh Reed lacks most. So why is he projected as a first round pick you may ask. Because he does two things that every team in the NFL needs. He gets open and catches the ball. Reed is the prototype possession receiver. Don't expect him to score a lot of touchdowns, or get much glory, but he'll get it done at the next level.
Ranking: No. 26, 1st Round.
Davis was once considered the best prospect of this class. Each year he seemed to improve, with the exception of this year. Maybe it was due to the change at quarterback, or maybe it was being injured most of this season? Davis is a big question mark, but has the talent to make an impact at the next level.
Ranking: No. 38, 2nd Round.
Lelie had a monster year for Hawaii this season. His draft stock has risen from a possible late round pick, to a possible first round pick this past year. The only problem we see with Lelie is his size. Yeah, 6-3 is great, but 185 pounds? He's said to be up to almost 200 pounds now, but only time will tell how that will affect him. He will have to bulk up in order to stay healthy enough to reach his high potential, and we're not sold that he can do that.
Ranking: No. 44, 2nd Round.
Walker is the typical big possession receiver with average speed. He sometimes shows a lack of concentration, and drops too many balls. He doesn't appear to be on the verge of stardom, but does seem to be more than capable of becoming a starter at the next level.
Ranking: No. 49, 2nd Round.
Caldwell is in the same mold as LSU receiver Josh Reed. He isn't overly explosive or fast, but runs good routes and catches the ball. It appears he's as good as he's going to get, and that should be good enough keep in him on as a third wide out.
Ranking: No. 56, 2nd Round.
This is one of those kids you just have to root for. He already plays the game like a pro, through his film study and preparation. He lacks breakaway speed and isn't very big, but has the will to accomplish anything. This is one player who will make a name for himself if given the opportunity.
Ranking: No. 61, 2nd Round.
Milons showed flashes of greatness early on in his college career but this past season had to have been a major disappointment for him. He doesn't have great speed, but he has good game speed and quickness. He has the potential to develop into a solid NFL receiver.
Ranking: No. 66, 3rd Round.
Hill leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to receiving skills. He has great size and speed, but will need a lot of work to ever develop into a good receiver. Due to his return skills, he may get the time he needs to develop.
Ranking: No. 78, 3rd Round.
Johnson has all the tools the NFL scouts are looking for, except one -- speed. It appears he may end up being strictly a situational player, or possibly even being asked to bulk up and play tight end. He is a very talented player, and should find his niche in the league somehow.
Ranking: No. 85, 3rd Round.
College quarterback moved to wide receiver because his size isn't ideal for the QB position. There have been a few players that have taken this route into the NFL, but very little success from those that have tried the transition. So why do we rank Randle-El so high? He's just a great kid who loves to play. He showed at the Senior Bowl that he will do whatever it takes to be a success. Don't bet against him in making the move to wide receiver.
Ranking: No. 92, 3rd Round.
Russell is probably the fastest player in the draft. He's battled injuries throughout his college career and durability is a concern. He has a long ways to go to be a complete receiver, but having speed like his always helps. He could develop into a nice deep threat option as a No. 3 receiver.
Ranking: No. 102, 4th Round.
We consider Story the sleeper of this draft class. He's got great size and good speed. He needs to refine his route running and work on getting out of his break. He has the talent to be one of the top five receivers to come out of this class. Only time will tell if he gets the coaching he needs to develop.
Ranking: No. 109, 4th Round.
A junior college transfer who got his shot due to injuries this past season at FSU. Walker is raw, but has the size/speed combo scouts love. He proved he could hold his own in division one this past season, next up the NFL.
Ranking: No. 112, 4th Round.
In our eyes Parker is a very underrated player. He lacks ideal size, but makes up for it with speed. He's also an excellent return man. He looks to develop into a slot receiver, who can go deep form time to time, and as a kick returnee.
Ranking: No. 129, 5th Round.
Poli-Dixon is big, tall, slow receiver. He's above average in all aspects of the game, but the speed factor is what is really holding him back. He may have to give tight end a try, or he'll likely be limited to specialty situations.
Ranking: No. 138, 5th Round.
Mays seems to be a bit of an Isaac Bruce, of the St. Louis Rams, clone. He's not overly fast, and even looks kind of frail. He was very productive this past season, and leaves you with the impression he'll be successful at the next level. However, he may take a couple years to develop.
Ranking: No. 141 5th Round.
Branch was very productive in college, and now appears to be overmatched when projecting him in the NFL. He basically is an under-sized possession receiver with average speed. There are some exceptions, but for the most part guys like Branch don't make a big impression in the NFL.
Ranking: No. 146,5th Round.
Haygood is a deep threat whose injuries have always held him back. He doesn't appear to be starting material, but could develop into a solid No. 4 option as a deep threat.
Ranking: No. 154, 5th Round.
Jones has everything the scouts look for except experience. Injuries caused him to sit out a year. Then he got stuck on the bench behind some very talented players. He'll get a shot to develop based on the potential he showed this past season.
Ranking: No. 158, 5th Round.
Carter is a track star that is still very new to the position. He emerged late this season and showed a lot of promise in the post-season games. He's a project with a lot of upside.
Ranking: No. 171, 6th Round.
Bell was never a fulltime starter at FSU. He lacks the speed to be a very effective player for his size. He is a powerful runner and may find his niche at running back or as a return specialist.
Ranking: No. 175, 6th Round.
Charles is a finesse receiver with big time size. That statement seems to contradict itself, but it's true. At this point Charles is considered a raw prospect due to his inability to use his size the way the scouts want to see it used. He's basically a big player, playing as though he were a smaller player.
Ranking: No. 177, 6th Round.
O'Neal, a converted track man, is a raw prospect. He has good speed and seems to catch the ball well. His route running skills have a long way to go.
Ranking: No. 184, 6th Round.
Dewalt is a little speed guy. He wasn't used much as a return man, but could find his way in the NFL through the return game. He'll never be more than a situational receiver, but could be effective as a No. 4 slot man.
Ranking: No. 188, 6th Round.
Lewis has the size and speed package that'll get him to the next level. He's very raw as a receiver, and has a long way to go before he'll get any real playing time. He's a very talented project.
Ranking: No. 195, 7th Round.
Morgan appeared to be ready for a big senior year, and then a preseason knee injury ended his season prematurely. He's more of a possession receiver with good run after the catch skills. It's hard to tell how he'll rebound from the knee injury, but he's a competitor and should make somebody's roster.
Ranking: No. 199, 7th Round.
McElrath is a big player with above average speed. He has shown flashes of greatness, but is very inconsistent. He has loads of potential, but will need the right situation to bring it to the surface.
Ranking: No. 203, 7th Round.
Johnson is a converted track star. He has great size and speed, but lacks experience as a receiver. He hasn't played much, but he should get a shot due to his physical abilities.
Ranking: No. 207, 7th Round.
Givens is a very versatile player. He's played many positions throughout his career, finally settling on receiver this past season. He may end up moving again once he goes to the next level. One thing is for sure. He has talent and should at least be an effective special teams performer.
Ranking: No. 209, 7th Round.
Lockett is a very fast and elusive player. Unfortunately his size is a major problem when projecting him in the NFL. He is looked upon only as a return specialist.
Ranking: No. 212, 7th Round.
Haynes is a very athletic player who transferred from LSU. He battled injuries this season, and is still very raw. His lack of impressive speed will probably cause him to slide to the end of the draft.
Ranking: No. 218, 7th Round.
Norman is a big versatile player. He lacks true receiver speed, and may be converted to a pass catching tight end.
Ranking: No. 224, 7th Round