This Draft Class of Wide Receivers Could Be Great
Anybody who followed the 2007 College Football season knows that there are ton of great wide receivers coming into this year’s draft that could be great receivers a few years down the road in the NFL. However, anybody who does know football knows that wide receivers generally take a while to acclimate themselves to the league. Sure, you have a few wide receivers that have a terrific year in their first season like Anquan Boldin, Randy Moss, and Roy Williams have done, but that is very rare.
So what makes this year’s crop of receivers so special? Most notably, these guys are all prototypical prospects. Usually you have two or three of the top receivers in the nation who got by on quickness, savvy and work ethic. And while having all of that is very important, to be a success in the NFL right off the bat, you have to have the combination of size, speed, quickness, and all of these guys have it.
But who’s the best? Here are my rankings.
4. DeSean Jackson, California, 6’0”, 179 pounds – I’m not sure there was a more electrifying player in football last year. His ability to take the ball from point A to the end zone on any play was uncanny. He was especially a threat in plays specifically designed for him, such as screens, punt returns, and reverses. Jackson has a lot of work to do as far as catching the ball and working on his routes, but there is no denying what he can do in the open field, and that will certainly have GMs across the NFL salivating.
3. Mario Manningham, Michigan, 6’0”, 188 pounds – Manningham has made play, after play, after play over the last several seasons. He has deceptive speed, because while he may only run a 4.45 40-yard dash, he is a lot faster than his opponents are when he takes his game to the field. That may come from his ability to break the ankles or cornerbacks with his superior route-running ability. His ankle breaking routes, coupled with his unbelievable hands, make him a constant danger to make a big play, and anybody who watched Michigan football this years knows that when the game is hanging in the balance, Manningham always came through.
2. Limas Sweed, Texas, 6’4”, 215 – With his height and build he is every general manager’s dream at wide receiver. With the Randy Moss’s and Terrell Owens’s of the NFL world today, the big wide receiver has become the sexiest thing in the league since the Superbowl Shuffle. But you have to have the speed come with the height, and that is what makes Sweed a cut above the rest. At his height and weight, to have the ability to run a 4.45 40-yard dash is spectacular and envious on many accounts. That size already means that he should have no problem getting off the line of scrimmage, and he already exhibited his ability to get free from coverage throughout his college career at Texas. He is also very capable of adjusting to the ball in the air, which is necessary for a guy his height because coordinators are definitely going to center their offensive game plans around throwing him jump balls in the red zone.
1. Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma, 6’4”, 217 – There is very little question that Kelly is the most polished receiver in this year’s draft. He ran roughshod over the Big 12, and he did with a freshman quarterback. Generally, that is hard to do, but when you get open with such ease and run precise routes, even a freshman can look like a 5th year receiver. Kelly has great size, and he has the speed to go with it. He runs a 4.4 40-yard dash and he showed no problem getting separation on vertical routes against some of the nation’s best cornerbacks. Coming into the season, he was probably second to Sweed in the Big 12, but with Sweed’s wrist injury and Kelly’s dominating season, Kelly earned himself a high first round draft selection and a few more dollars than his rival from Texas did.
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