The 2013 NFL Draft is just a little less than a Week 1 away. It is always interesting to see where each of these highly skilled football players will end up. The position of wide receiver is changed quite a bit of the years since it has now become a passing league. Where a particular receiver ends up can really dictate his fantasy value, some teams will utilize these players immediately while others could just ride the bench like Brian Quick did last season. I will take a look some of the top players at the position along with some other notable guys to watch in this breakdown for the 2013 NFL Draft.
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Tavon Austin - West Virginia - 5'9 -174 lbs
40 Time - 4.35
Strengths - He possesses incredible speed and ability to make people miss in the open field. Austin also has experience with route adustments and reading what the defense is doing which is always a plus for a player coming out of college.
Weaknesses - There is a question on whether he can handle NFL type hits. He is very small by NFL standards and really has no chance of getting any bigger based on his frame. Austin needs to work on his issues with drops and catching the ball with his hands not his body.
Final Analysis - Austin will be a first round draft pick based upon his potential but will need to be drafted by a team that knows how taken advantage of his special skill set. He played with Geno Smith in both high school and college so will need to work on his chemistry with an unfamiliar QB. Austin is almost guarenteed to be over drafted in the NFL and fantasy leagues. He will have his moments with his speed and agility but small receivers are not very reliable in th NFL and can be non-factors at times.
Compares to - Percy Harvin
Justin Hunter - Tennessee - 6'4 - 200 lbs
40 Time - 4.44
Strengths - Has the ideal size and speed to be a very successful NFL wide receiver. He is a good leaper as well.
Weaknesses - Like many college receivers, he uses his body too much to catch the ball. He also needs to get stronger in the upper body to be able to utilize his leaping ability more. Hunter has not had much success with jump ball situations due his lack of upper body strength. He was not the same player in 2012 than he was 2011 when he tore his ACL. His route running also needs to improve.
Final Analysis - Hunter will likely be a mid to late 1st round pick based upon his potential. He is still raw but should be a better player this season since he two years removed from his ACL surgery but is still more of a project since he needs to bulk up a bit and refine his skills. I do not expect much of a fantasy impact in his rookie season but with hard work could be valuable fantasy player in a few years.
Compare to - Randy Moss
Cordarrelle Patterson - Tennessee - 6'2 - 216 lbs
40 Time - 4.42
Strengths - Rare combination of size, strength and athleticism. He possesses good instincts with his route running and extremely difficult to bring down when defenders need to do it one on one. Patterson has top notch skills in the return game so could be a difference maker in that right away as well.
Weaknesses - Lacksthe top end speed that will allow him to blow by NFL corners and can lack mental focus at times. He can disappear when not involved early in the game plan and needs to spend more time learning the game not just relying on his natural skills.
Final Analysis - Patterson could have immediate impact for a NFL team. He may not have the top notch speed that his former teammate Justin Hunter has but has the build to physically handle the NFL game immediately. Patterson is projected to be a late first round pick who has good open field skills and just needs to make sure he keeps his head in the game at all times along fine tuning his route running.
Compares to - Josh Gordon
Keenan Allen - California - 6'2 206 lbs
40 time - 4.71
Strengths - He knows how to go up and get the ball at its highest point. Allen is one of the best route runners in the draft and has the mental capacity to read the defense to find spots in zone coverage. He is also not afraid to the run the underneath routes in traffic and will make plays after the catch.
Weaknesses- Long stepper who does not get up to speed as quick as some of the other top potential draftees at the position. His 40 speed was very poor since coming back from a mid-season knee injury and has struggled with injuries in his college career.
Final Analysis- Allen is high risk- high reward type player. The poor 40 time could just be a product of needing more time to recover. He has the best combo of size and knowledge of the game than any other receiver in the draft. If he can prove that he is 100%, he could be a steal in the draft if he can get his speed back but at worst he is probably a guy who stick around a NFL roster for the next 5 to 8 years. Allen appears to be a late 1st round draft pick at this point but could slip due to health questions.
Compares to - Anquan Boldin
DeAndre Hopkins - Clemson - 6'1 214 lbs
Strengths - Has a very quick first step and knows how to go up get the ball. He runs very crisp routes and does a good job of selling his fakes. Hopkins does a nice job in the open field at making defenders miss and shown ability to be a good leader. He has dealt with many tradgeries in his life so he should be able to overcome any mental challenges he faces at the next level.
Weaknessses - There could be some concerns about his character after reports of him trashing his hotel room at the combine. His speed numbers are not nearly as good as of the other top talents and like all of the receivers coming out a lack of focus is an issue. He will have to be a guy who runs the underneath routes since he lacks big play speed.
Final Analysis - Hopkins looks like he will be a second round pick because shows to be a better football player on the field than his 40 numbers would indicate. If he can develop the chemistry with the right quarterback, he could be a highly successful wide receiver in the NFL. He is likely to have a long succesful career but his fantasy success will be based on where he ends up.
Compares to - Reggie Wayne
Robert Woods - USC - Has the best hands in the draft but may have been a product of the system and we have seen other USC receivers bust out in the NFL.
Quinton Patton - Louisana Tech - Does not have top-end athletic skills and college numbers were inflated by the system he played in.
Terrence Williams - Baylor - Needs to run better routes but is a deep threat and one of the better available run blockers in the draft.
Ryan Swope - Texas Tech - The best white wide receiver prospect in the draft who needs to learn how to use his rare top-end speed.
Stedman Bailey - West Virginia - Great hands but the speed he used in college will not translate to the NFL so will need to get better at other aspects of the game.
Aaron Dobson - Marshall - Could be the sleeper of the position since he came from a non-powerhouse conference so not as noticed but has some top-notch skills.
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