Updated 4/20 1. Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State. 6?2?, 224 pounds, 4.50 40. Summary: Excellent size/speed/strength ratio, has all the physical attributes anyone could want in designing a wide receiver. Has sudden speed (faster than his above time) with surprising burst and changes gears quickly and seamlessly, though he cannot sustain top speed long. Great hands, can make the tough catch in traffic and has a massive catch radius. Reads coverage and adjusts routes nicely. Finds holes and presents himself as a target very well. Can be physical at times but is inconsistent with his shoulders and hands. Good effort blocker with nice strength. Has major baggage--missed almost the entire 2009 season with a suspension for illegal contact with Deion Sanders. Has proven aloof, cocky, and immature time and again. Didn?t consistently play to the high level expected of him. NFL Comparison: Terrell Owens, Brandon Marshall. Forecast: No question he is the top WR talent in this class in terms of on-field potential, but his cavalier attitude and baggage extract a high toll. Top-five talent that will probably fall to at least the late teens, if not out of the 1st round entirely. Caveat draftor. 2. Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech. 6?3?, 224 pounds, 4.52 40. Summary: Very big, physical receiver from a triple option run offense, which is about as divergent from an NFL offense as you can get. Long strider with better long speed than short area quickness, but decent acceleration for a bigger guy. Excellent natural catcher of the ball with big, strong hands and forearms. Can make the difficult catch in traffic. Strong runner after the catch, has great balance and leg drive. Has run only very basic pass routes and done very little coverage reads. Uses his hands and size nicely to get separation, but his feet need work. Was surprisingly ordinary as a blocker for his size, stays too upright and lets the defender dictate the action too readily. Has overcome a lot in life and works hard, appreciates the game and has determination to get better. NFL Comparison: Vincent Jackson or Limas Sweed, it?s up to Thomas Forecast: Too much to like for Thomas to fall out of the top 40, but is the least NFL-ready of any prominent WR since Mike Williams. 3. Carlton Mitchell, South Florida. 6?3?, 215 pounds, 4.46 40. Summary: Outstanding size/speed ratio with good burst and a long, lean build. Eats up cushion with sudden speed that he can sustain up the field. Showed steady improvement in route running as 2009 played out; looked like a different player in December than Sept. in terms of footwork, confidence, and setting up moves. Has the ability to change gears and quickly adjust speeds to get separation. Presents a nice target. Hands are inconsistent and need to get stronger--makes tough catches but the ball gets to his pads and he double-clutches a lot of balls. Smaller catch radius than you would expect for a taller receiver. Gives good effort as a blocker but needs work on pad level and hand placement. Willing worker and learner, though just a one-year starter. That?s a double-edged sword; he?s rawer than most top prospects but he also has fresh legs and no character issues that seem to be requisite with wideouts these days. NFL Comparison: A bigger Chris Chambers, has some on the field Chad Ochocinco to him. Forecast: Quietly ascending draft boards based on how good he looked late in the year and during workouts. Mid-late 2nd rounder that will need a year or two to blossom. 4. Arrelious Benn, Illinois. 6?1?, 219, 4.57 40. Summary: Physical receiver that plays bigger than his size. Very strong hands. Physique is very impressive and almost gives the look of being inflated (in a good way). Explosive athlete with lots of fast-twitch muscle. Likes to bump and use his hands and arms and can overpower most safeties, let alone corners. Shows good body control and can quickly secure the catch anywhere above his waist. Good blocker though he stays up too high at times. Has experience playing with an erratic, scrambling QB that limited his opportunities. Not a natural route runner, very methodical and choppy. Tends to slow when the ball is near. Makes wide cuts despite having relatively short legs. Does not easily catch the ball below his waist. Lacks the long speed to threaten over the top. Well-respected team captain in the locker room for a program in disarray. Forecast: His lack of speed and deceptively low numbers from college will relegate Benn to the 40-60 overall range, but if he can clean up his feet and get paired with an accurate QB, he has potential to be the next Anquan Boldin. 5. Jeremy Williams, Tulane. 6?0?, 206 pounds, 4.48 40. Summary: Williams is one of those rare receivers that is pretty good at everything but doesn?t really stand out as great at any particular facet. His measurables are average across the board and he?ll reliably catch most throws he can reach. Decent blocker, good runner after the catch, has some experience playing in the backfield as part of Wildcat packages, nice balance, good football IQ. Best attribute is his route running and experience with various option routes, which should allow him to contribute right away and handle playing in the slot or outside. It?s hard to find anything Williams doesn?t do well, but you can find different players that do one or two things better. NFL Comparison: Eddie Royal, Brian Hartline Forecast: 3rd-4th rounder who should consistently rack up 50-60 catches for 750 yards and 4-5 TDs every year for a decade. 6. Marcus Easley, Connecticut. 6?2.5?, 212 pounds, 4.39 40. Summary: Late-blooming, long-limed athlete that has really turned heads in postseason workouts. Great size/speed ratio and has explosive athleticism. Good hands, looks the ball in and quickly tucks it away. Presents a wide catch radius and excels at grabbing low throws. His speed is not sudden and is fairly straight-linish, but once he hits full stride he can get behind most corners quickly. Not averse to going across the middle. Plus blocker that chips in nicely and seals the seam for cutbacks. Needs work on reading coverages and making quicker adjustments to coverage. Not real physical for his size, but showed signs of growing into it late in the year. Only has one season of scholarship NCAA football. Former walk-on who has had to work very hard for everything and appreciates the game. NFL Comparison: Darius Heyward-Bey, Bryant Johnson Forecast: Easley is far from a finished product, but everything he lacks is coachable and nobody who knows him at all questions his dedication or effort. His athletic measurables and postseason displays will put him in the 2nd-3rd round, but he could sneak higher for a team enamored with numbers--as the Raiders were last year with DHB, a similar talent. 7. Eric Decker, Minnesota. 6?3?, 217 pounds, 4.52 40. Summary: Big, sure-handed former baseball player and highly respected team leader. Polished route runner with good feet and shoulder balance, looks smooth despite being pretty crisp. Catches the ball very well in traffic and almost likes getting hit right away. Tough and strong, though not real elusive, as a runner. Exceptional run blocker when he attacks, better than many tight ends, and he gives great effort down the field. Missed several games with a foot injury that has limited his ability to workout pre-draft, and he has had other ailments that have sidelined him in the past; durability is a big question. Doesn?t always ratchet up the intensity in his blocking and has the rep of being able to be taken off his game (ask Jack Ikegwuono). Lacks deep speed and has only one gear. Not real quick off the line and can be troubled with press coverage. NFL Comparison: A less lithe young Muhsin Muhammad, Joe Jurevicius Forecast: Draft stock is deflated due to foot injury, but Decker has all the tools to be an excellent #2 receiver and red zone threat. 3rd-4th round that would have been at least one round higher if 100% healthy. 8. Golden Tate, Notre Dame. 5?10?, 199 pounds, 4.48 40. Summary: I?m going to refer to my recent boom/bust column: ?He made a lot of great catches and exuded toughness in a pro-style offense at Notre Dame. I worry about his ability to get separation, but more to the point: I don?t know exactly where he fits. He?s quick but not cat-quick, and he likes contact too much to have a long career in the slot. Yet he?s not big enough and lacks the long speed to be a significant threat outside. I was surprised at how many throws got into his body, too.? Has a flamboyant confidence that will play well on some teams but repulse others. Will be drafted in the top 50 picks and could contribute right away because of his pro-style experience. 9. Damian Williams, USC--long-limbed, experienced wideout with great straight-line speed. Better route runner than most and has experience in running advanced route trees and reading coverages. Knows how to create space for himself by using his hips, shoulders, and feet. Has good long speed. Decent runner after the catch. Not a lot of wiggle to his feet and runs upright. Catches the ball well but seldom just with his hands; most balls get to his pads and he double catches a lot, esp. harder throws. Small-framed body that appears to have peaked. Has had shoulder and ankle issues and his body leads to durability questions. USC WRs have largely flopped in recent years, leading to questions about being products of the system against porous Pac-10 defenses. Fits in the 50-75 overall range. 10. Riley Cooper, Florida--Big (6?3?, 215 pounds) target with deceptive speed and surprising agility for his size. Uses his arms and shoulders physically and wisely to get separation. Fearless across the middle and quickly snares the ball from the air. Tough runner that is not fun to tackle. Tenacious blocker, though he tends to not move his feet once engaged. Hands are inconsistent and his catch radius is small for his height. Has run only very basic routes in a one-read spread offense, and his footwork is raw and slower than most. Good teammate and worker. 4th rounder that could have higher value for a team that drafts his college QB. 11. Taylor Price, Ohio-- Tight-skinned speedster with sneaky acceleration and the ability to change gears quickly. Good hands with a wide catching radius. Has a great sense of how to get open when the pocket breaks down and the QB scrambles. Possesses a top-end speed that he sets up well. Transitions quickly from receiver to runner and is elusive and shows toughness with the ball. Needs to work on using his hands to get separation and making tighter, crisper cuts. Has not run a lot of complex route trees or faced much high-level competition. Not as big in person as he looks on film, though he is a solid blocker. The best Ohio Bobcat pro prospect since Dave Zastudil. Fits in the 75-100 overall draft range. 12. Andre Roberts, The Citadel-- Small-school speed demon that turned heads at the Senior Bowl with his quick footwork and solid hands. Shows the ability to catch outside his body and quickly transition from receiver to runner. Very quick and agile, though he is bigger in person than he looks on film. Making a major leap in level on competition and has rarely faced any sort of complex defenses. Needs work on blocking and reading coverage, but has the work ethic and attitude to make it happen. 3rd-early 4th rounder with promise, but it might not happen right away. 13. Brandon LaFell, LSU-- Big, physical, long-limbed receiver with good strength and body control. Can make the tough catch in traffic. Uses his hands well to get separation and overpowers corners. Very tough to tackle after the catch. Does not get off the line real quickly, and his speed is not sudden. Takes long strides out of his cuts and often slows to catch the ball. Coming off an injury and his production was all over the map at LSU. Reminds me a great deal of Dwayne Jarrett, both the potential that made Jarrett a 2nd round pick and the disappointment that followed because he can?t get separation and his bullying of DBs that dominated in college doesn?t work in the NFL. LaFell is a better worker, however. Will be drafted in the 50-75 overall range. 14. Mike Williams, Syracuse-- Talent-wise is a near-complete package. Great hands, great size/speed, sharp footwork, excellent blocker. Instinctive route runner that sells his fakes and explodes out of cuts. Tracks the ball well and can make the catch outside his frame, though he will drop his fair share. And then there?s the downside...quit the team rather than face a second, unrelated one-game suspension last fall. Missed the prior season after he was caught cheating on an exam. Has sparred with coaches, teammates, and reporters repeatedly, displaying an unhealthy, poisonous immaturity. First round talent that will be lucky to hear his name called in the top 200 picks, but if he ever grows up he could be a very good one. 15. Seyi Ajirotutu, Fresno State-- Very physical, intense, bigger (6?3?, 211 pounds) receiver. Plays WR like a press corner, and he has very good strength and balance. Decent hands, can really get up to snatch the high throws. Fights for the ball and has decent body control to adjust to off-target throws. Violent runner after the catch, though he?s not real fast or elusive. Better route runner than he?s often credited, has solid initial burst and can shorten his stride when he wants to be quicker. Doesn?t have much lateral agility and needs to work on being patient and finding holes in zones. 6th-7th rounder that could be a real steal. 16. Emmanuel Sanders, SMU-- Dynamic athlete whose stock has raised from workouts. Speedy and slippery with good feet. Sets up his moves and finds holes in zones nicely. Needs to work on securing the ball more quickly. Comes from a spread offense in a non-BCS conference where shootouts were common and good defense was not. Very slender build, lacks muscle tone and his legs are very skinny. Has little experience blocking and lacks the strength to do a lot in that area. Has good potential as a return man. Dominated Shrine Game sessions, and appears to have matured from being suspended in the past. 4th-5th rounder. 17. Antonio Brown, Central Michigan-- Shifty slot dynamo with great lateral quickness and good burst. Very dangerous with the ball in his hands and he is experienced at bubble screens and quick slants and taking gadget plays. Slightly built and too often goes down on first contact. Has not run many complex routes and seldom ventured past 10 yards beyond the LOS with his routes. Adds value as a return man. Mentally tough and very competitive. 6th-7th round 18. Mardy Gilyard, Cincinnati-- Ultra-skinny dynamo blessed with great quickness and agility. Brings great potential value as a return man, and he is tremendous in the locker room and in the community, and has fought very hard for his successes. Much more quick than fast, and has major trouble facing more physical coverage. Hands are a major weakness--one opposing coach charted 17 drops in 12 games, and during both Senior Bowl week and later workouts he dropped several easily catchable balls. His presence and shiftiness with the ball in his hands will keep him in the 4th round, but he?ll wash out quickly or be just a return man if he doesn?t dramatically improve his hands. 19. Chris Bell, Norfolk State-- Well-built prospect that often dominated at NSU after getting tossed from Penn State. Showcases very good strength and the ability to change speeds subtly to get separation. Strong hands, good body control, great leaper. Blocking is adequate and he gives the effort. The NSU offense was often ?Bell go long? and the level of competition was very weak. Has the physical tools to be productive in the way the Bengals used the late Chris Henry, but has major character concerns. Tough to forecast his draft status because of that. 3rd/4th round talent. 20. Blair White, Michigan State-- Very athletic, jack-of-all/master-of-no trades with very reliable hands. Better after the catch than he?s credited, and he?s one of the better blockers in this class. Enthusiastically plays special teams and does it well, which is important for a guy battling for a #4 WR spot. Lacks great size and speed and his hips are tight. Has the trappings of a fan favorite. 5th-6th rounder. 21. Jordan Shipley, Texas-- Slot-type receiver that lacks the quickness and long speed of most that play that spot. Did most of his work on quick throws and has not had to use his feet or body to get open much. Great hands, decent vision as a runner. High football IQ and he respects the game. Strong in the locker room and offers special teams/return ability. Overaged and is already as good as he?ll ever be. 6th round talent that could go earlier based on reputation. 22. Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas-- Overhyped, hyper-physical banger that plays WR like a power forward. Explodes off contact and thrives on mixing it up. Impatient route runner that is clearly uncomfortable playing in space. Decent hands and transitions nicely from receiver to runner. Overconfident and needy. Has value for a team in need of size and swagger outside, and if the right coach pushes the right buttons he has the upside of Roy Williams. 5th rounder. 23. Freddie Barnes, Bowling Green-- Incredibly prolific receiver with average measurables. Very smart football player that knows all the tricks and sets up his moves like a seasoned pro. Tougher than he?s credited for being, but still isn?t very physical or strong. Reminds me of a less physical Earl Bennett. 5th-6th rounder for a team that uses lots of 4-wide sets. 24. Joe Webb, UAB-- Former QB with great size making the positional switch. Has shown surprising footwork and excellent hands in limited views. Brings Wildcat potential and was a very good runner as a QB. Has almost zero experience playing WR and reading coverages was not a strength when he was a QB. A more natural catcher of the ball than others who have made the switch (Brad Smith, Josh Cribbs) but less agile than most. Will have to learn to play special teams while he develops as a wideout. 6th-7th round, perhaps UDFA. 25. Scott Long, Louisville-- Tall, lanky speedster with great burst and decent hips. Uses his size and speed well to get separation. Hands are iffy. Blocking is iffier. Often looks like a long jumper trying to play football. Lots of coachable potential. 7th round/UDFA.
2010 NFL Draft, Wide Receiver Big Board