NFL Draft: 15 Wide Receivers To Consider

March 20th, 2010

The Bucs desperately need a big-time playmaker like this guy

You better believe the Bucs are going to draft a receiver or two next month.

So it’s time to belly up the the computer with a tray of the best wings in the Tampa Bay area and settle in for a serious draft education.

NFL Draft guru Justin Pawlowski, of WDAE-AM 620, continues his position breakdowns today taking on the wide receiver class.

In this 3,000-word draft-lovers orgasm, Pawlowski details positives and negatives on each player and his potential impact on the Bucs’ roster, plus each potential draft pick is ranked and compared to a current NFL player. (His running backs and offensive linemen breakdowns can be found here).

Bucs fans, you can’t find this kind of breakdown anywhere else.  …Enjoy! {+++}

Wide Receivers

1. Dez Bryant – WR – Oklahoma St
6’2’’ –225 lbs – (did not participate at combine)
Top 15 pick

Why I’m taking him: Bryant’s the most talented wide receiver in the draft and a true number one threat. He catches the ball extremely well with his hands away from his body. Bryant has the reliability of a true possession receiver by running good routes and catching the ball well, while having the explosion and speed for the big play.

Why I’m staying away: Character issues really aren’t a secret with Bryant anymore. There have been questions about his dedication to football and whether he’s willing to put in the time to be great. There’s been chatter that Bryant will need a mentor to get him to practice and possibly even games. Some of these character issues might come from what scouts call a “difficult home situation” for Bryant.

Impact on the Bucs roster: Much like Bryant’s character concerns, the Bucs need for a receiver is no secret as well. If you have a need for a receiver and Bryant is the best receiver in the draft, you’d think it would be a match made in heaven. Those character issues could scare the Bucs away as they are without a solid foundation and solid leadership to help mature a player like Bryant.

NFL Comparison: Cris Carter – Minnesota Vikings

2. Arrelious Benn – WR – Illinois
6’2’’ – 219 lbs – 4.53
1st – 2nd Round

Why I’m taking him: I absolutely love Benn’s work ethic. He’s been compared to Marvin Harrison in regards to his work ethic. He’s got prototypical size and speed of a true number one receiver. Benn also adds big time value as a returner. Character isn’t a question either as Benn was team captain for Illinois as a sophomore in 2008 and a junior in 2009.

Why I’m staying away: You look at the production and the stats and you get a little freaked out with Benn. In 3 years at Illinois, Benn only topped 1,000 yards receiving once and never had more than 3 TDs in a year. During his 2009 campaign, Benn dealt with an ankle injury throughout a majority of the season, which might lead to durability concerns. He is not a polished receiver and needs to really improve his route running in the NFL.

Impact on the Bucs roster: I think Benn is more of the type player the Bucs are looking for. He doesn’t bring a lot of baggage and shows tremendous work ethic. I wouldn’t read too much into the lack of production in 2009 for Benn as he was dealing and playing through an ankle injury and had Juice Williams throwing him passes. Yuck! I’d love Benn with one of the Bucs’ 2nd round picks.

NFL Comparison: Mike Sims-Walker – Jacksonville Jaguars

3. Demaryious Thomas – WR – Georgia Tech
6’3’’ – 224 lbs – DNP
1st – 2nd Round

Why I’m taking him: Tons of talent here. You have to love Thomas’ blend of size and speed. It was reported before he hurt his foot that he was running forties at 4.3. At his size, that’s pretty special. Coming from an option offense at Georgia Tech, Thomas put up some pretty impressive numbers averaging over 25 yards a catch in 2009 with 8 TDs. Thomas is blessed with all the attributes of an elite receiver. Also, no character concerns known of.

Why I’m staying away: Well, how far does he have to go to being a complete receiver? Coming from an option offense, there just weren’t many routes he had to learn and know. In a pro-style offense, will Thomas know the techniques to beat bump coverage and run good routes to create separation? Another issue with Thomas will be whether or not he is able to workout for scouts before the draft or not due to his foot injury. There are plenty of questions with this talented prospect, which is why he is my 3rd ranked receiver. If he answers these questions of him positively, he could very well be the best receiver this draft produces. Are you willing to take that chance?

Impact on the Bucs: With a players like Thomas and Arrelious Benn, coaching is very important in helping them reach their true potential. I don’t know about you, but I’m not overly confident the Bucs coaching staff can get those kinds of results. Coming from an option offense, it’s going to be a tough transition to a pro-style offense which will magnify the ability of the position coach. Quick, can you name the Bucs wide receivers coach? Nope, not Richard Mann.

NFL Comparison: Andre Johnson – Houston Texans

4. Golden Tate – WR – Notre Dame
5’10’’ – 199 lbs – 4.42
2nd Round

Why I’m taking him: The mixture of speed with Tate’s toughness makes him a very intriguing prospect. Tate does not shy away from going over the middle. He is a very good leader. I’m not sure I see as much elusiveness from Tate as other people do, but he does have some wiggle to him. That wiggle mixed with his strength makes Tate a big threat in the open field. He can also be utilized as a returner.

Why I’m staying away: First, on the obvious front, Tate’s height is not great. He’s a good route runner, but could still get better. My main concern with Tate is the fact that I see a lot of balls get into his chest. He doesn’t seem to use his hands to catch passes as much as he uses his arms. When receivers do this, they can easily develop a bad case of the dropsies.

Impact on the Bucs roster: I’m not sure if I see Tate coming in and being the number one receiver off the bat or even in his career. He has potential to be an incredible complement to bigger more physical receiver. If the Bucs were to trade for Brandon Marshall and still draft a defensive player in the 1st round, I could and would love to see Tate on the opposite side of Marshall.

NFL Comparison: Lee Evans – Buffalo Bills

5. Mardy Gilyard – WR – Cincinnati
6’ – 187 lbs – 4.52
2nd Round

Why I’m taking him: Gilyard’s a playmaker. He possesses excellent speed and elusiveness, making him a terror in the open field and on returns. He also has great vision allowing him to see blocks down the field before they happen. After sitting out a year due to academics, Gilyard got multiple jobs to help pay fees to be reinstated to Cincinnati’s football team. This shows me dedication to his team and the game of football.

Why I’m staying away: Gilyard doesn’t possess elite size, and his small frame might lead to some injuries. He also has solid hands, but not great hands. As for the academic issue, I’d have to ask why he would allow himself to be put into that predicament of missing a year because of his academics.

Impact on the Bucs: Much like in Golden Tate’s case, I see Gilyard as a great complement, but I’m not sure he can be the man. Gilyard would bring an excitement level and playmaking ability to the Bucs offense that we haven’t seen in a long time.

NFL Comparison: Santonio Holmes – Ohio St.

6. Damian Williams – WR – USC
6’ – 197 lbs – 4.53
2nd – 3rd Round

Why I’m taking him: I like Williams because every time I watch him in a game situation, he’s the reliable guy. He’s a solid player who does many things well. He’s got good speed, hands, vision, and elusiveness. Hell, he’s even a good route runner.

Why I’m staying away: This might sound odd, but I’m staying away from Williams because he does every in a good way. Hear me out. He might be good at all the aspects of the receiver listed above, but he isn’t elite in any aspect of his game. I also think his potential might be maxed out and there might not be much room for improvement. Durability is also a question as Williams has had many shoulder injuries.

Impact on the Bucs: As you can see below, I compared Williams to Ochocinco. When Chad Johnson came out of college, he was considered the same type of receiver that Williams is. They’re good at everything, but not really elite in any aspect. Ochocinco has developed into a great player with his play, charisma, and personality. I like Williams as late 2nd round pick, but if he slips to the top of the 3rd round, the Bucs should seriously consider him.

NFL Comparison: Chad Ochocinco – Cincinnati Bengals

7. Taylor Price – WR – Ohio
6’ – 203 lbs – 4.41
2nd – 3rd Round

Why I’m taking him: I enjoy watching Price on film. He obviously has the speed you want a receiver to possess. He’s tenacious in blocking and never gives up. He’s a tough physical receiver. With that toughness, Price is fearless in going across the middle of the field. There were 52 games played during his 4 year career at Ohio, and he never missed one because of injury. Word has it that Price is a very mature player with an incredible work ethic.

Why I’m staying away: I’m gonna be nitpicky here, but there really isn’t much to dislike about Price. First, I’d be ever so slightly concerned about his level of competition. He did play Tennessee, and played rather well, but didn’t play that competition on a weekly basis. There are certain times where Price runs excellent routes and gets separation, but he must get more consistent with his route running. He also has that great speed, but not much elusiveness. I wouldn’t expect much in the return game.

Impact on the Bucs: Unfortunately, I see Price as a luxury pick for a team in the latter part of round 2 and into round 3. I personally like Price and think he has a good chance of being picked higher than some people think, or at the very least, having a better career than some of these other WRs. The Bucs really aren’t in a position to draft a receiver from a small school and hope that he turns into their number one guy. This draft is way too important for the Bucs to take that risk. If Price is available in the 3rd round, I’d hope the Bucs would’ve already addressed their dreadful receiver position. If not, I’d have no problem drafting him.

NFL Comparison: Greg Jennings – Green Bay Packers

8. Eric Decker – WR – Minnesota
6’3’’ – 217 lbs – DNP
3rd Round

Why I’m taking him: I love Decker’s hands. He seems to catch everything thrown his way with his hands away from his body. His toughness and competitiveness are second to none. Because he is such a strong route runner, Decker can create separation from defenders making it easier on his quarterbacks. Decker has great character and is a team leader.

Why I’m staying away: Decker lacks the elite speed you look for in a receiver. He also lacks elite elusiveness. The team that drafts Decker is drafting him to be a possession receiver and not a receiver that stretches the field.

Impact on the Bucs: Let’s face it; the Bucs could use all the help they can get. Decker might only be a possession receiver, but he’dbe an immediate upgrade for the Bucs and might be their best receiver.

NFL Comparison: Marques Colston – New Orleans Saints

9. Dezmon Briscoe – WR – Kansas
6’2’’ – 208 lbs – 4.51
3rd Round

Why I’m taking him: Briscoe’s production has been great over the past 2 seasons. He never missed any time due to injury and caught 24 TDs in those 2 seasons. I like the size Briscoe has and how he uses it when running routes (slants, seems, etc…). I also like what Briscoe does with the ball in his hands. He seems to know how to hit a second gear and break long runs off of short passes.

Why I’m staying away: I’m a little worried about Briscoe’s hands. Briscoe tends to cradle catches in his arms at times which lead to drops. Despite his size, he doesn’t always put it to good use. He is not a great blocker, but can get in the way of a defender if need be. Briscoe also lacks the elite speed teams want from a top-notch receiver.

Impact on the Bucs: Briscoe seems to be a nice product from the Kansas system. Unfortunately, the Bucs system isn’t as WR friendly. I don’t really like Briscoe for the Bucs too early. If he drops to the middle rounds, they could consider him because of their lack of receivers, but I wouldn’t even consider Briscoe in the first 3 rounds for the Bucs, and that’s because they have such an early 3rd round pick. I think Briscoe sometime later that round.

NFL Comparison: TJ Houshmanzadeh – Seattle Seahawks

10. Brandon LaFell – WR – LSU
6’2’’ – 211 lbs – 4.60
3rd Round

Why I’m taking him: If you’re looking for a receiver who’s tough, physical, and possesses prototypical size, then LaFell’s your guy. He uses that size and toughness with the ball in his hands, making him scary after the catch. His strength allows him to break through bump coverage and get into his routes. LaFell is also an excellent blocker.

Why I’m staying away: LaFell is not very elusive and lacks elite speed. With that lack of speed and quickness, LaFell struggles to get separation from coverage and needs better route running skills. He tends to round off his routes at times. He’s also shown times of lapsed concentration leading to drops. I’ve also seen where LaFell’s work ethic has come into question.

Impact on the Bucs: I know people are going to see the comparison to Michael Clayton and freak out. Relax. LaFell is Michael Clayton before his mental meltdown. There’s been a few receivers to come out of LSU recently like Clayton, Dwayne Bowe, Craig Davis, and Early Doucet. The only one to have decent production on a mostly consistent level is Bowe, and he was suspended 4 games for substance abuse. I’d pass if I were the Bucs.

NFL Comparison: Michael Clayton – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

11. Dexter McCluster – WR – Ole Miss
5’8’’ – 172 lbs – 4.58
3rd Round

Why I’m taking him: McCluster is the definition of a playmaker. He’s a very shifty runner and was a good receiver out of the backfield for the Rebels. He’ll transition to a hybrid running back/receiver in the NFL. He could be lethal with the right play caller in the NFL. Also, he’s a big threat in the return game with his great elusiveness and vision.

Why I’m staying away: What’s up with his 40 time? I’ve heard he’s more of a quick player than fast. Well, he’s 172 lbs, so he needs to be faster than 4.6. With that lack of size, McCluster also deals with his fair share of injuries. He’s a fumbler.

Impact on the Bucs: McCluster is from Largo High School, so a return to Tampa Bay would be the happy ending, but I wouldn’t do it too early if I were the Bucs. McCluster is much better with the ball in his hands than he is as a vertical receiver, so if you think he’s just going to come in and be the Bucs deep threat, scratch that. For the Bucs, I don’t consider McCluster before day 3 of the draft.

NFL Comparison: Devin Hester – Chicago Bears

12. Mike Williams – WR – Syracuse
6’1’’ – 221 lbs – 4.55
4th – 5th Round

Why I’m taking him: I’m on the record saying it, and I’ll continue to say it, Mike Williams has the second best talent of any receiver in this draft. Watching this guy play at Syracuse was fun, while it lasted. He can be a true number one guy. I always saw him catching the ball with his hands away from his body. He doen’t have elite speed, but he’s more than fast enough and quick enough to be a number one guy. Williams has great size and is physical. On the field, Williams has everything you want from a receiver.

Why I’m staying away: One word: character. We’re still wondering why Williams quit the Syracuse football team in 2009. He was also suspended for 2008 because he violated the university’s academic integrity policy. It was reported that Williams was blaming everyone but himself at the combine.

Impact on the Bucs: Well, I wouldn’t draft him early, but this guy has special talent. I’ve heard some people say that Williams might go in the 7th round if he’s drafted at all. I’ll tell you what, if Williams is there in the 7th round, he’s worth the gamble. Hell, he might be worth the gamble earlier than that, but not too early.

NFL Comparison: Antonio Bryant – Cincinnati Bengals

13. Jordan Shipley – WR – Texas
5’11’’ – 193 lbs – 4.60
3rd – 4th Round

Why I’m taking him: There is no doubt of the production Shipley has had at Texas over the past two years. He’s been the man for Colt McCoy and has carried that role well. His ball skills are outstanding. He catches the ball with his hands and rarely drops a catchable pass. He’s a team leader and doesn’t have any baggage to worry about. Shipley is also a good route runner with his quickness and elusiveness.

Why I’m staying away: Shipley doesn’t have the size teams want. He also doesn’t have the speed teams look for. Durability is also a major concern as Shipley has missed a lot of time over his career at Texas due to a multitude of injuries.

Impact on the Bucs: Lots of casual fans have compared Shipley to Wes Welker. Even if that were true, Welker is a complement to Randy Moss. You need a number one receiver to have a complement receiver. I’m not confident in Shipley being the go-to guy in the NFL. I think he’ll be solid and is very coachable. I see a very similar career to Brandon Stokley.

NFL Comparison: Brandon Stokely – Denver Broncos

14. Riley Cooper – WR – Florida
6’3’’ – 222 lbs – 4.54
3rd – 4th Round

Why I’m taking him: I think you have to love the combination of size and speed with Cooper. I think he’s solid catching the ball and shows good ball skills. Cooper can work the middle of the field and make the tough catch. He’s also a tough-minded guy who’s determined to reach his goals.

Why I’m staying away: Unfortunately, Cooper’s been quoted as having his goal be to play in Major League Baseball. He missed spring football and summer workouts in 2009 playing minor league baseball with the Texas Rangers. There are durability issues, worries about his route running, and questions about his experience, but those all mean nothing if he isn’t even playing football.

Impact on the Bucs: Cooper’s another local kid, so it would make a nice story if the Bucs drafted him, but I have to pass. It seems to me like Cooper’s No. 1 goal is to play baseball, and the Bucs can not afford a player like that right now in their process.

NFL Comparison: Kevin Walter – Houston Texans

15. Carlton Mitchell – WR – USF
6’3’’ – 215 lbs – 4.49
4th Round

Why I’m taking him: I’ve always liked Mitchell’s combination of size and speed. Working on the USF radio broadcasts the past 2 seasons, I’ve gotten to see a lot of Mitchell. There times where he looks like the number one receiver he should be. He catches the ball with his hands away from his body, which you know I love if you’ve read down this far. He’s willing to go over the middle and make the tough catch as well. He has the rare ability of being both a possession receiver and a deep threat. Not many receivers have that.

Why I’m staying away: Inconsistency has always been my grief with Mitchell. He’ll look great for a half, and then disappear for 3 games. This could’ve very well been Mike Canales’ offense, but he was still on the field and needed to make himself more involved. I don’t want to see flashes of a great player; I want to see a great player.

Impact on the Bucs: Another local product, but this one I wouldn’t mind for the Bucs. Mitchell will probably go in the 4th or 5th round. At that point, I think he’d be a solid selection for the Bucs, and a guy likely to make the team and contribute.

NFL Comparison: Robert Meachem – New Orleans Saints

4 Responses to “NFL Draft: 15 Wide Receivers To Consider”

  1. JDouble Says:

    I’m hoping for Golden Tate, Demaryius Thomas, or Damian Willaims in the 2nd round, then Jordan Shipley, Taylor Price, or Marty Gilyard in the 3rd.

  2. Troxell8t8 Says:


    Good info. I’m going to have to disagree with you about Damian Williams. I’m not sure being in a pro style offense in which he does everything very well should be considered a negative. Also, out of all the WRs in this year’s draft, Williams has over the last few years played against the best level of competition in the regular season and bowls. I believe in a few years he will be the best WR in the draft. Of course, I could be proven wrong.

    I value production over potential. I believe some times too much is placed on potential. The only other guy I am intrigued by in your top 10 is Benn also.

  3. Kyle Says:

    FREDDIE BARNES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. RastaMon Says:

    yeah but we only have 9 picks…..