Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cream of the 2013 NFL Draft crop: Wide receiver


This is the fourth edition of an eight-part series noting the top prospects of the 2013 NFL Draft at their respective positions. (photo: John Martinez Pavliga)

THE WIDE RECEIVER PROSPECTS: Keenan Allen, Cordarrelle Patterson, DeAndre Hopkins, Tavon Austin, Robert Woods.

Keenan Allen (6-3, 210 lbs.) California
Big, physical wideout with good hands. Ideally suited for a West Coast style offense that depends on solid route-running and timing. Can make catches in traffic, and has good quickness and agility to turn upfield. Is recovering from a significant knee injury that cost him most of the 2012 season. Projected round: 1.

Cordarrelle Patterson (6-3, 205 lbs.) Tennessee
Electric playmaker. Possesses rare athleticism and the ability to get separation from coverage. Has the versatility to be a weapon in short, intermediate, and deep routes. Set an SEC single-season record in 2012 with a punt and kickoff return average of 27.6 yards. Raw receiving skills with just one season of Division 1 football experience. Projected round: 1.

DeAndre Hopkins (6-1, 200 lbs.) Clemson
First team all-ACC performer in 2012 after leading conference with 18 touchdowns. Physical receiver who plays bigger than his size. Has strong hands and can pull down catches in jump-ball situations. Refined route-runner and pass-catcher, but lacks top-end speed. Projected round: 1-2.

Tavon Austin (5-9, 175 lbs.) West Virginia
Small, slot-type receiver. Has phenomenal vision and quickness which makes him dangerous after-the-catch and in the return game. Productive in small spaces and willing to take a hit, but small frame naturally brings up durability concerns. 2012 Paul Hornung Award winner, given to the nation's most versatile player. Projected round: 1-2.

Robert Woods (6-1, 190 lbs.) Southern California
Fluid runner with decent speed. Has very good hands and ball skills. Caught 112 passes in 2012 and was Biletnikoff Award finalist. Lacks top-level size, speed or athleticism, and has a history of ankle injuries. Projected round: 2.

AFC East need meter: (Not pressing, mildly pressing, very pressing)
Bills: Very pressing
Jets: Very pressing
Patriots: Very pressing
Dolphins: Very pressing

Follow Sean @seanldonovan
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily