Big Ben leads a comeback over the Jaguars. The Saints continue to roll. Monday night featured an action-packed offensive showing between the Rams and the Chiefs
- Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff combine for 64 completions, 893 yards, and 10 touchdowns.
- 4 quarterbacks threw 3 interceptions
- Tyreek Hill made 10 receptions for 215 yards and 2 touchdowns
- 6 Players with 100+ rushing yards
- Saquon Barkley, Mark Ingram II, Adrian Peterson, and Phillip Lindsay all rush for 2 touchdowns
Going into the 2014 NFL Draft, it was looked at as one of the strongest wide receiver draft class ever. After one year in the league, that proved to be accurate. Five receivers were drafted in the first round and a total of 12 receivers in the first two rounds. 11 of those 12 players had productive rookie seasons. Six of that group caught more than 60 passes led by the New York Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. with 91 receptions. Four out of the five first round receivers caught at least 65 passes. As recently as 10 years ago, that was unheard production from rookies.
The 2015 class is also a very strong group. While it may not be quite as strong as last year, it still has 10 to 12 players who could get drafted in the first two rounds and five could very easily go in the first round again. That said, here are my top five.
1) Amari Cooper – Alabama
Cooper held the number one position going into the season and still has it now. He had a remarkable season with 124 receptions for 1727 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was Alabama’s go to receiver, and still, no team could stop him.
Cooper has very good size at 6’1 – 211. He is a very good athlete with excellent overall body control. Speed is not an issue as he ran 4.42 at the Combine. Cooper can be effective as both a short and deep receiver because of his speed and route running skills. He can play physical and has no trouble going into traffic to compete. He is an excellent runner after the catch.
Without a doubt, he will get drafted in the top 10 and maybe the top 5 come draft day and will most likely start from day one.
2) Kevin White – West Virginia
Going into the season, not many people knew who Kevin White was. As a junior he had a very ordinary season with only 35 receptions. The perception of just how good White is changed on opening day when he had 9 catches for 143 yards and a touchdown against Alabama. That kind of production became habit as he finished the year with 109 receptions for 1447 yards and 10 touchdowns.
He continued his big season when he showed up at Indy and blazed a 4.35 in the 40. With that kind of speed, there are some who have him rated higher than Cooper. At 6’3 – 215, he is not only faster than Cooper but also bigger. I won’t go that far, but I do like his talent. He is a good route runner who can consistently get separation on both short and longer routes. He is a hands-catcher who is excellent at adjusting to the ball. After the catch, he is like a running back with speed, power, and instincts. There really isn’t anything not to like about his game. He won’t wait long before his name is called on draft day.
3) DeVante Parker – Louisville
If there is one thing this draft has in abundance, it’s big receivers. Next on my list of the top 5 receivers in the draft is Louisville’s DeVante Parker. Parker has great size at 6’3 – 209 and excellent speed. He ran 4.45 at the Combine.
The only thing that Parker lacks that the others have is the top production. He finished the year with 43 receptions for 855 yards and five touchdowns. He did that in only six games, as he missed the first seven games with a foot injury.
I thought Parker really improves over his 2013 tape. He was a much better route runner and just looked more complete. He has great hands and consistently makes the acrobatic catch. With his size and speed he is effective as both a short and deep receiver. After the catch, he is a strong runner but not really elusive. Still, with his size and speed he consistently gets good yardage. His play is similar to Alshon Jeffery of the Bears.
4) Jaelen Strong – Arizona State
Like I said, this is the year of the big receiver. Strong is as big as any of the other receivers in this group standing 6’2 – 217. He is also very long with 32 ½” arms. Being that Strong is a long strider, he doesn’t look as fast as he really is. At Indy, he ran 4.44 so he is right there with the other top receivers.
I look at Strong as a very smooth athlete who makes things look easy. He can get open on any kind of route, and with his jumping ability (42” vertical) he is going to win all jump balls. Like the others, he was very productive with 82 catches for 1165 yards and 10 TD’s. He needs to improve his overall route running skills, but his upside is unlimited. When you factor in that he has only played two years at the FBS level, you can understand what I mean.
I see him becoming a legitimate number 1 receiver for his team by his second or third year. He should have top production for years to come.
5) Breshad Perriman – Central Florida
While I might not get any arguments on my top four receivers, there will be some who want to argue on my fifth. I had three players in mind for this spot. Ohio State’s Devin Smith, Miami’s Phillip Dorsett and Perriman. Being that Perriman hasn’t worked out yet, there could still be a change at this spot. Both Smith and Dorsett are legitimate “burners” and big-time deep threats. I figure Perriman will run in the 4.4’s, and if he does, he will stay in this spot.
When I first put on tape of Perriman, the first NFL receiver I thought of was Dez Bryant. Perriman at 6’2 – 212 isn’t quite as big as Bryant, but he patterns his game after him. Perriman is very physical and is a big play waiting to happen. In the last two seasons, he has 89 receptions for a 20.9 yard average and 13 touchdowns.
While I understand he has to become a more consistent route runner and also improve his concentration, he, like the others on this list, has unlimited upside. It wouldn’t shock me if in three years he is just as good, if not better than the four above him. This player has amazing natural talent.
Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe