Originally written February 25, 2013 on Phin Nation:
The pre-draft process is now in full-bloom with the combine officially underway. The past several drafts have had ‘Alpha’ prospects (also referred to as ‘can’t miss’ prospects). Andrew Luck and RG3 headlined last year’s class; Von Miller, Julio Jones, and AJ Green before that. This year’s draft simply lacks the ‘star-power’ of previous drafts. The group is headlined by LT Luke Joeckle, who would not have likely been drafted in the top 10 of last year’s draft. For those asking “why” the answer is simple; the new CBA encourages younger, less-refined players to enter the draft in order to seek the bigger pay day at a younger age.  The WR group of the 2013 draft epitomizes this; a lot of young, raw talent that needs coaching. This article will compare the consensus top 2 WR’s who have declared for the upcoming draft, California’s Keenan Allen & Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson. Keenan Allen is a 6’2, 206 lbs prospect, who will be a 21 year old rookie. Allen possesses a strong lower body. This receiver excels at running slants, crosses and outs; making him ideal for a west coast offense. Allen lacks a straight-lined speed, but makes up for it with superior agility and quickness. He has massive 10 inch hands, but often time’s uses his body to catch on timing routes. Allen has a bit of an injury history, suffering from a strained PCL this season and a nagging ankle injury- which inhibited him from participating at the NFL combine. While I do not expect Allen to run an excellent forty at his pro-day, on March 11th, I do expect him to excel in his 3-cone drill. Allen is a long strider, which means his straight-line speed will not translate as well in the NFL. Allen produced at a very high level at the University of California. In his 3 year career, he caught 205 passes for 2,570 yards and 17 touchdowns; even more impressive when considering his uninspiring QB-play. One of his most impressive attributes is his ability to beat press coverage. Allen uses physicality with his hands, flexibility in his hips, and his body placement to create separation. He is professionally compared from anywhere from Percy Harvin to Justin Blackmon. I see Allen as the Anquan Boldin type. Cordarrelle Patterson is a 6’3 216 lbs prospect who will be a 22 year old rookie. Patterson has all the physical skills necessary to be an elite NFL receiver. He runs a sub 4.4 forty, has an incredible vertical, and has the size that ties all the talent together. He was a junior college transfer, who played one year at Tennessee. Patterson is clearly a playmaker, and the only physical attribute Patterson lacks is his hand size. Patterson has relatively small hands which may have contributed to some of the drops suffered throughout the combine drills. His small hands might have also led to frequent body catching. Patterson did not typically use his physically imposing body to his advantage either. Patterson is a very raw player, but many continue to question his ‘mental make up.’ Russ Lande, of the Nation Football Post, states Patterson’s interviews have been “very unimpressive” which raises major questions. Patterson was also questioned by the Tennessee coaching staff for his lackluster blocking effort. Will Patterson be another diva receiver? This is a question many scouts will be asking come draft time. As a junior, Patterson caught 46 passes for 778 yards, he also rushed 25 times, averaging 12.3 yards per rush. Patterson totaled 8 offensive TD’s. However, almost more impressive than that, Patterson added 2 TD’s as a returner, averaging 28 yards per kickoff and 25.3 per punt. Patterson is a very raw route runner who has not developed the intricacies as Allen has. Patterson often relied on the deep ball and the cushion CB’s gave him to pad his stats.  Patterson reminds me of Bronco’s WR Demaryius Thomas. So, who is the #1 WR in the 2013 draft? If you are interested in seeing more metrics regarding these draftees and more check out http://secondroundstats.com/ and follow Greg Peshek, NU_Gap on twitter. Has some extremely useful information.              
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