I decided to include tight ends in here due to how short and boring a tight end only article would be this year. The wide outs have the most amount of “On the outside looking in” guys because there are just so many in the draft. The combine usually has the biggest draft stock effect on wide outs. For example, would Darius Heyward-Bey have been a top 10 pick without the combine? All of the guys on here have chances to move up into the top 5 due to their combines.
- Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State- Blackmon has made Dez Bryant an afterthought at Oklahoma State. At 6’1, Blackmon possess all of the tools to be a complete wide receiver. He has great body control and leaping ability to make him a redzone and deep ball threat, coupled with great ball carrier vision, quickness, and speed. He is the easy pick to be this seasons AJ Green.
- Michael Floyd, Notre Dame- If it wasn’t for his past off the field issues, Floyd would be a surefire top-15 pick. Floyd has been an exceptional wideout for the Irish despite below average QB play. Floyd is a super strong possession wideout who is amongst the best at pulling in balls in traffic downfield or over the middle. He has seen improvement in every single season at Notre Dame, which scouts will love to see. Any team who takes him will take a risk on him not getting another DUI, but if he is focused he’ll be a steal.
- Alshon Jeffrey, South Carolina- I wish I could make Floyd and Jeffrey both number 2, but Jeffrey’s lack of speed is why I ranked him behind Floyd. Jeffrey is definitely the best possession receiver in the draft. His speed is definitely a huge question, but his soft hands, leaping ability, and strength will give teams a lot to rave about. A great game against top ranked corner Alfonso Dennard in the Capital One Bowl will boost his draft stock, but once again his speed can be a real killer for him, and he could potentially be the next Dwayne Jarrett.
- Kendall Wright, Baylor- Wright was RG3’s go-to man all season. Wright is a speedster, and if he proves to be one of the fastest guys in the 40-yard dash, he could rise above Alshon. Like Floyd, Wright has also seen improvements in each of his four seasons at Baylor. Wright can best be described as a shorter version of Torrey Smith, and a team looking to stretch out defenses will take a shot at Wright.
- Mohammed Sanu, Rutgers- His first two years he had some minor injuries, which was probably due to some time playing running back as well. But, in his junior season, Sanu piled up 1,206 yards and 7 TD’s on 115 receptions. Sanu’s time at running back is a good tool to use to examine his abilities to break tackles, and also to show his ability to make plays after the catch. Sanu has solid size at 6’2 and 220 pounds. He’s still pretty raw with only 1 great season under his belt, but his upside is immense and he has 1st round potential.
Guys on the outside looking in:
- Juron Criner, Arizona- He’s a big body that led to solid production in Arizona’s pass-happy offense. Speed is a bit of a question, but he possesses the ability to be a solid possession wide out and red zone target. Some say he was so good because of Nick Foles, I think it was really Criner who made Nick Foles look a lot better.
- Tommy Streeter, Miami- This is my ultimate sleeper for this draft. Yes, it’s very bias of me, but his measurables and potential will boost him high in the draft. This 6’5, 220 pound speedster will electrify at the combine. He reportedly runs around a 4.3, and has shown in his breakout season that he has deep ball threat written all over him. He is still very raw and needs to develop more as a route runner, and be able to catch the ball more with his hands. If the Raiders didn’t trade away all of their picks I’d see him going first round or second round to them.
- Dwight Jones, North Carolina- Jones has had inconsistent QB play during his time at UNC, but he still led the ACC in receptions and TD’s this past season. Jones is following great UNC wideouts like Hakeem Nicks and Greg Little into the draft and I believe he’ll be a solid wideout in the NFL as well. Look for him to be picked in the 2nd or 3rd round depending on his 40 time.
- Joe Adams, Arkansas- Adams possesses great speed and quickness. He was an extremely talented punt returner in college as well, which will definitely help his stock. His potential to break off big plays from the slot will make him a solid pickup in the middle-beginning of the draft. If he can turn some heads during the 40 yard dash he could be a big riser.
- Jordan White, Western Michigan- White came on huge this season by catching 140 passes for 1,911 yards and 17 touchdowns. Those are huge stats, and despite playing in a weak conference, he tore up teams like Michigan, Illionois, UConn, and Purdue for some of his best games of the season. White projects as a quick slot receiver who has reliable hands and good route running. He’ll be a later pick, but is someone who can make an immediate impact as a slot guy.
- T.Y. Hilton, FIU- Like Kendall Wright, he possesses great speed and play making ability down the field. Hilton is also a solid returner.
- Dwayne Allen, Clemson- The clear-cut top tight end in this draft. Allen is a very athletic tight end who has served as a safety valve and redzone target at Clemson this season. He is also a dominant run blocker who has been taking on players like Brandon Jenkins and other top defensive ends and linebackers all year. He is definitely going to be a factor right away because of his blocking ability.
- Coby Fleener, Stanford- Fleener has served as Andrew Luck’s redzone target this season. He has shown great ability catching the ball in traffic and on deep balls. He doesn’t possess good speed which is holding him back in terms of draft stock, but his pass catching ability will make him a solid early round pick.
- Ladarius Green, UL-Lafayette- Green is usually ranked behind Charles, but I think teams will fall in love with Green’s potential and play making ability. Green is possibly the fastest tight end in the draft, and he is definitely the most dangerous after the catch. Green has great height at 6’6, but is a little slender at around 230. He’ll need to add some bulk and become a better blocker if he wants to become a legit tight end.
- Orson Charles, Georgia- Charles is undersized at just 6-3, 230, but his receiving ability will make him an option for teams looking for a mid-round receiving tight end. Added bulk will increase his draft stock, but being only 6’2 or 6’3 as a tight end might hold him back.
- Evan Rodriguez, Temple- Rodriguez has the ability to give teams some versatility at tight end. He is a solid run blocker as an H-back and is great at driving back defenders. He possesses decent catching ability with 35 receptions for 479 yards last season. He’s only around 6’2 so he isn’t a traditional redzone target tight end, but his ability as a blocker and his athleticism will help him rise in drafts.
Guys on the outside looking in:
- David Paulson, Oregon- He doesn’t get much action in Oregon’s offense, but he is a good blocker and has reliable hands. He’ll rise during the draft workouts.
- Michael Egnew, Missouri- Egnew had a lot of hope coming into this season to establish himself as a top tight end, but he has seen inconsistency hold him back. Egnew has potential to rise with good workouts, but this disappointing season may hold him back to the end of the draft. He also didn’t do too great in the Senior Bowl, which is why I moved him out of my original top 5. He’ll need a great combine to boost his stock.
- Josh Chichester, Louisville- Chichester’s role in the NFL will be as a redzone player. He is a massive target at 6’8, 240 pounds, and his lack of stats can definitely be because of quarterback play. His combine can help him rise more if he displays that he has gained some speed and shows some more consistency catching passes.
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