I have spent my morning going over film for this WR class and there is a lot to like. I've read reports from analysts stating that there will be a run of WRs drafted starting in the early 2nd round. That is not good news for the Seahawks who hold a late 2nd round pick (pick 57 overall). I think it is very likely that run of WRs could reach as many as 10 receivers taken in the first 2 rounds. That's a ton. I mentioned in my title that this class is puzzling, and it is. It's puzzling for a number of reasons, mostly because of the diversity and skill set that each receiver brings.
Few would argue that Keenan Allen out of California is the top receiving prospect in the country, but not many are putting him in the AJ Green or Julio Jones category. That said he's a top 10 for sure, but who is beyond him and where will they fall in the draft? After watching film I'm curious on the rankings that NFLDRAFTSCOUT have laid out.
Their top 5 are currently listed as: Keenan Allen - Cal, Cordarrelle Patterson - Tenn, DeAndre Hopkins - Clem, Tavon Austin - WVU and Robert Woods - USC.
My top 5 is very different based on what I've seen this morning. I went through film on about 12 WRs and the 5 that stood out with me are as follows:
1) Keenan Allen - Cal He has the numbers and skills to be a top WR and could see Oakland taking him with the 3rd pick or even Detroit who recently released their #2 receiver Young recently. What I saw on tape is that he's not as physical as I thought he would be and could have a tough go in press coverage off the line. Breakaway speed isn't elite like a Julio Jones is but don't get me wrong, this kid can flat out play. He has good hands and runs routes well. His size at 6'3" 210lbs is a perfect line for WR. The best fit for him would be as #2 to Megatron in Detroit.
2) DeAndre Hopkins - Clemson Not a stretch to see Hopkins the 2nd WR off the board. I took some extra looks at Hopkins because I'm a Clemson Tiger fan and wanted to make sure I was watching film and assessing him on talent and not as a fan. The first thing you notice is speed. He can flat out get down the field. If you design plays for him such as streaks, posts or slants to start I think you will maximize his strengths while he works on his weakness in route running, which I found rounded and gave time for defenders to react and jump his route and break up the play. Because of his downfield ability, I don't see him lasting long and will be off the board by 25 (unfortunately). I don't see him slipping past the Steelers at 17 if not before to the Rams (16), Panthers (14) or Dolphins (12).
3) Terrance Williams - Baylor Probably the first outright shock is Williams as my #3 WR in this class. He will rise after the combine due to his speed alone but he seemed to adjust well to poorly thrown balls. In the right offense he will be very productive. He's not the route runner that say a Robert Woods is, but he's got the potential and upside that teams late 1st round will take a flyer on. He's not a true #1 receiver by any means but you could do a lot worse than Williams as a #2. He is very likely there at 25 and could be an option if our DL options don't fall to us. If we don't take him, it's possible Houston (27) or New England (29) would, depending on what they do with Welker.
4) Da'Rick Rogers - Tennessee Tech There is no question of his talent. He's a top 20 pick based on talent alone, but unfortunately for him teams dont draft based on talent alone. He was suspended by Tennessee for breaking teams rules and he then transferred to Tennessee Tech this season and entered the draft early. I am telling you now he will be one of the most debated players in this class. Speed, good route running, great hands and concentration, and tough off the line. Bruce Irvin had this label as well and it didn't stop us from drafting him early 1st round (with a 2nd round grade), why not draft Rogers with 25 to get an elite talent? See for yourself.
5) Robert Woods - USC I agree with draftscout on Woods. Of the film I've watched he has the best route running skills in this class which immediately makes him at least a possession receiver and/or a solid slot receiver. He has great hands and good speed. He's not a burner and will not breakaway from defenders on streaks. He will be productive on designed routes and because he comes out of his breaks quickly he will be a good addition early 2nd round. I don't know if he fits with Seattle though. I think we draft someone to stretch the field and compete for the #2 spot with Tate. I still prefer Tate in the slot and think he works better in the middle of the field.
These are my top 5 and I know most of you are wondering where Cordarrelle Patterson is. I didn't see enough on tape that impressed me. He's raw and his upside is definately there but these 5 guys are more polished and can contribute quicker. Patterson is a solid round 2 project in my opinion. I do think he gets drafted in the first round, but he's not on my first round draft board.
Missing from my top 5 is also Tavon Austin. I do like him but a WR at 5'9" is a tough pick to make over your prototype size with similar talent. He will be part of the 2nd round run of WRs taken. I'm not suggesting we take a WR with the 25th pick. I have not taken a look at other positions in depth as yet to make that selection. I am suggesting it is a consideration depending how the draft falls.
I will also make a bold statement about this year's draft. We will trade up this year.
Pete Carroll stated that it will be tough for any pick to make this team... with that in mind, why keep 10 picks? Why not use those picks then to move up and get the better prospect? We will stand pat in the first round, but look for us to move up in the 2nd round to get into the meat of the WR run if we don't make the WR selection in the 1st round.