Monday, April 2, 2012

NFL Draft Breakdown: Wide Receivers

(Photo: scout.com)
Today, I will be breaking down the top three receivers in the NFL draft this year. This draft has a large class of receivers and the depth in this draft is tremendous. There will still be decent receivers available well into day two of the draft.

Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State)
Blackmon is coming off of a stellar year for the Cowboys. He had 121 receptions for 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns.

When watching Blackmon on tape, what's not to love? He plays big. He is strong. One thing I like is his hand usage. He gets physical at the line of scrimmage to avoid being jammed. When he runs a fake in the route, he plants hard on the cut and sells it well. Blackmon has great awareness. He knows where he is in relation to the sidelines at all times. When blocking, he gets low and inside and jams the corner.

One thing he should focusing on improving is how he holds the football. He has a tendency to hold the ball loose and he runs the risk of fumbling.

Michael Floyd (Notre Dame)
Michael Floyd had a great senior year for the Fighting Irish. He had 100 receptions for 1,147 yards and nine touchdowns.

Floyd does not quite have the speed that you look for when evaluating wide receivers. The quality that makes him so good is his ability to just get open. He beats you with a quick move at the start then uses a series of fakes to make himself available to the quarterback. He has a knack for being able to get the ball at its highest point. Floyd has great hands and also presents a big target for quarterbacks to hit.

If there was one thing he could improve on, it would be his speed. I know you can't coach speed, but, if he could just get a little bit faster, I think he could be a lock to be a top 20 pick.

Kendall Wright (Baylor)
Kendall Wright performed exceptionally well for the Bears this past season. He had 108 receptions for 1,663 yards and 14 touchdowns.

The first thing that comes to my mind when watching Kendall Wright is his speed and balance. He is arguably the fastest receiver in this years draft. He's got great speed and utilizes it right from the snap. He uses his quick hands to avoid being jammed and then runs right through the secondary on his way to the endzone. He has a great feel for his location and always knows where he is in relation to the sideline.

One thing he needs to do to better prepare himself for the NFL is gain weight. At just 190 pounds, Ray Lewis may kill him if he comes over the middle.

All three of these receivers have the potential to go in the first round. I would rank them like this: 1) Blackmon 2) Wright 3) Floyd.