Draft Grades for Top 10 by Position - Wide Receivers

By Lance Zierlein
March 21, 2013

In his Drafting the Top 10 by Position Series, Lance Zierlein examines wide receivers.

Wide Receiver Rankings

Wide Receiver School Round
Cordarrelle Patterson Tennessee 1st
Tavon Austin West Virginia 1st
DeAndre Hopkins Clemson 1st
Keenan Allen California 1st/2nd
Justin Hunter Tennessee 2nd
Robert Woods USC 2nd
Quinton Patton La. Tech 2nd
Aaron Dobson Marshall 2nd/3rd
Markus Wheaton Oregon St. 2nd/3rd
Da'Rick Rogers Tennessee Tech 2nd/3rd


Cordarrelle Patterson has the size and speed that teams salivate over, but I can't shake the feeling that we could be looking at the next Troy Williamson (South Carolina WR who was drafted with 7th overall pick and busted).  I absolutely love his big play ability, but he's still raw.  Hard to overlook his high-end traits though.

Tavon Austin will succeed in the NFL.  He is a football player.  He just needs the right coach and right scheme to get the most out of his talents.  It would be a waste to just plug him in as a slot wide receiver considering how versatile he is with the ball in his hands.  He should come in right away and get 5+ TDs.

DeAndre Hopkins would be the first WR taken in this draft if he had better long speed.  I don't care that he runs in the 4.5s because when he plays the game, he shows football speed and plenty of it.  Hopkins can get separation on short, intermediate and deep routes and he competes.  I think he has a chance to be the best WR in this draft.

I'm a big fan of Keenan Allen's toughness, size and ability to operate over the middle of the field.  He's not afraid to take a hit and has the frame to handle it.  While many WRs get grades based on their measurables, Allen gets his with the way that he plays the game.

Justin Hunter is a little of both.  It is hard to get around his drop rate of 12.1%.  That is a mess.  What is undeniable is Hunter's elite combination of size and speed.  At 6'4, he's a legitimate 4.4 WR who can attack defenses down the field.  He's got production and measurables on his side, but he's got a low floor so beware.

Robert Woods was so good in 2011 that you have to give that season fair consideration while watching him in 2012. He was banged up in 2012 so I don't think we saw the real Woods.  For his size, he's got good quickness into his routes.   His ankle problems are a concern though on draft day and could cause him to fall.  Quinton Patton is said to be the biggest talker in college football and has the confidence that would make Michael Irvin proud.  Like Irvin, he's not a premier athlete, but he's really good after the catch and plays bigger than his 6'0 height.

Marshall's Aaron Dobson has been my most intriguing draft prospect of any WR since I started the process.  I see a big guy who is really good at using that size down the field.  He high points the ball well, runs well and can make tough catches.  I think his game will really translate well for teams looking for a vertical big man.

While he isn't a big guy, Markus Wheaton can handle himself as an outside receiver.   He has legit, sprinter's speed and plays to his timed speed on the field.  Wheaton is a fierce competitor who will get after CBs in the run game as well.  Da'Rick Rogers has the talent to be a top five WR, but there are some teams who have downgraded him for his off-field issues.  It will be interesting to see if teams draft the prospect (2nd round) or the guy (3rd/4th due to character).