Wide Receivers


2003 Draft Prospects

Pudge's Notes: Most NFL GMs and scouts are wary of taking wide receivers in the first round of the draft. And history backs them up. Although you are more likely to get an elite player that early in the draft, history points out that too many first round guys don't live up to expectations. Some like Marcus Nash and Thomas Lewis barely even see the field. That's why last year's draft, which had some experts predicted up to six first round wideouts only had three taken. Usually, most GMs would prefer to take a wideout in the second than in the first, because it is too much of a risk. Especially since rookie wideouts usually don't adjust right from the start. Randy Moss is a rare exception. Most rookies don't produce much better than a third wide receiver would.

 


FIRST ROUND


Charles Rogers

6'2" 202 Michigan State (4.33) Junior

Pros: Great hands, size, and speed.
Cons: Could use some improvement on his routes.
NFL Forecast: Rogers is not the complete wide receiver, but he excels as a pass catcher. He has velcro for hands, and is a very tough matchup for any cornerback because of his size, speed, and athleticism. He'll make the acrobatic catches, not for the highlights but because he has too. Is possibly the best wide receiver prospect in over a decade. I definitely see the Hall of Fame as an achievable goal for him.
NFL Comparison: Randy Moss, Vikings.
Value: Rogers is definitely worth the No. 1 pick.

Kelley Washington

6'3" 215 Tennessee (4.44) Sophomore

Pros: Great hands and makings of premier possession wideout. Good athleticism.
Cons: Lapses in concentration, and questionable attitude. Injury concern.
NFL Forecast: Although I don't believe Washington's attitude is a major issue, it just doesn't endear him well to teammates. And any type of of locker room discension is a problem. Although he has great hands, his lapses don't come with drops. He will lay out and try to make the spectacular highlight catch a bit too much rather than just reeling in the ball and making plays after the catch. Despite his great speed, Washington plays like a possession guy. Can stretch the field, but he'll do his damage on the short and intermediate routes. His neck injury should be fine, but some may question his toughness.
NFL Comparison: Keyshawn Johnson, Buccaneers.
Value: Still very young and improving, making him a sure-fire Top 10 selection if team doctors are confident about his neck recovery.

Andre Johnson

6'2" 224 Miami (FL) (4.41) Junior

Pros: Great size, athleticism, and speed.
Cons: Disappears during games and overrated.
NFL Forecast: For the guy that was the go-to guy for the Hurricanes, Johnson seemingly disappeared a lot in his college career. But when he gets hot, he is nearly unstoppable. He should be a solid No. 2 guy, but because he struggled against only above average college talent, he may never be the No. 1 guy that some have him rated at. Has great upside and workout numbers, but never really played consistently at a high level.
NFL Comparison: David Boston, Chargers.
Value: Johnson can definitely burn you, but he is really a second round wideout in a first rounder's body. Making him a good late mid to late first rounder, but a reach if he is selected in the Top 20.

Bryant Johnson

6'2" 214 Penn State (4.37) Senior

Pros: Has good hands, size, and strength. Has some speed and is good at getting separation.
Cons: Lacks pure burner speed.
NFL Forecast: I like Johnson, he has a knack for getting open. He can make plays downfield, but probably won't be much of a downfield threat in the NFL. I'm not sure if he will be a go-to guy in the NFL, although he has all the tools to do so. Just needs to work on a few things, and should be a starter by his second or third professional year.
NFL Comparison: Antonio Freeman, Eagles.
Value: He may not be good enough to deserve a Top 20 selection, he is a good selection late in the first.


SECOND ROUND


Anquan Boldin

6'1" 216 Florida State (4.61) Junior

Pros: Good speed, size, and athleticism. Has solid hands and shows great skills after the catch.
Cons: Is lacking at times in concentration and his route running could improve.
NFL Forecast: Boldin is a solid NFL prospect. He is not the complete package, but has the makings of a solid #2 guy. I forsee him having a successful NFL career, but may never be a go-to guy. But should improve any receiver corps he joins.
NFL Comparison: Darnay Scott, Cowboys.
Value: He is only a No. 2 guy, but should be a very good one at that, making him a solid second round prospect.


THIRD ROUND


Taylor Jacobs

6' 205 Florida (4.47) Senior

Pros: Has good hands and speed, and runs routes well.
Cons: Struggles to get separation.
NFL Forecast: I'm weary of receivers that develop under Spurrier since his offense has yet to prove a consistent No. 1 target. Because of this, I don't see him as anything more than a competent No. 2 guy. Jacobs is not the best guy to come out of Florida over the past few years. Should be a solid starter, but the kind that will benefit greatly from having a top-notch guy opposite him.
NFL Comparison: Ike Hilliard, Giants.
Value: Jacobs has all the skills you want, but is no star. He could definitely receive late second round attention, but is really an early third round prospect.

Shaun McDonald

5'9" 169 Arizona State (4.40) Junior

Pros: Has good combination of speed and hands.
Cons: Lacks size and has lapses in concentation.
NFL Forecast: He will drop some easy ones, but for the most part he is a solid wide receiver. Unfortunately, McDonald is very small and NFL teams are very leery of players his size. Was very hard to keep out the endzone, and should be the same way in the NFL. Probably will spend the majority of his career as a No. 3 wideout, but is good enough to start. Has some potential as a punt returner.
NFL Comparison: Steve Smith, Panthers.
Value: McDonald is a better receiver than Dwight, and if Dwight can start he can definitely too. Should get looks in the third round.

Kareem Kelly

6' 186 Southern California (4.32) Senior

Pros: Has good speed and hands. Deep threat with big play potential.
Cons: Has thin frame.
NFL Forecast: Kelly is not a great wide receiver, but has potential to be a solid deep threat in the NFL. Has great speed to stretch the field and is a good enough wide out elsewhere to start in the NFL. I forsee him being between an average starter and solid No. 3 in the NFL. Has good potential, but probably won't realize it.
NFL Comparison: Curtis Conway, Jets.
Value: Speed and hands are good enough to get him late third round attention.


FOURTH ROUND


Terrence Edwards

6' 176 Georgia (4.46) Senior

Pros: Has solid hands to be a good intermediate guy, with good speed.
Cons: Lacks size and has durability concerns.
NFL Forecast: Edwards has the makings of being a solid possession wide receiver. Despite his lack of size, he's not afraid to lay his body out there and take a hit over the middle. Needs to put on weight so that he plays closer to 185. Until then won't get many opportunities to showcase his skills. Once he proves to teams that his frame is not an issue, he should be a solid complementary wideout. His brother is RB Robert Edwards.
NFL Comparison: Marvin Harrison, Colts.
Value: Skills are good enough for the third round, but size limitations will push him onto the second day of the draft.

Talman Gardner

6'1" 205 Florida State (4.38) Senior

Pros: Has good size, hands, and athleticism.
Cons: Does not play to his timed speed.
NFL Forecast: Gardner has good enough speed to stretch the field, but does not play to at his timed speed. I see him as a possession widoeut, but is not developed enough as a pass-catcher yet. Has good upside, but needs work. Should develop into a decent No. 2 guy, but probably nothing more.
Value: Has good enough upside to be a productive starter, but still a little too raw to go on the first day.


SIXTH ROUND


Mike Bush

6'5" 198 Washington State (4.71) Senior

Pros: Good size and athleticism. Has the speed to get deep.
Cons: Still needs polish as a route-runner and pass catcher.
NFL Forecast: His workouts hurt him, and Bush showed very little improvement his senior year. Probably was the best combo football/basketball player in the nation the past few years. Bush has great upside, and could eventually develop into a starting wide receiver. But that is probably quite a ways off, and looks most likely that he will wind up on the bench for a few years and playing in a lesser league before he hits 28.
NFL Comparison: Tony Simmons, Giants.
Value: Has good enough upside to be picked in the fifth round, but too raw to go higher than that.

Carl Ford

5'11" 175 Toledo (4.50) Senior

Pros: Has good hands and speed and is dangerous in the open field.
Cons: Body catches too much and has questionable durability.
NFL Forecast: Ford will probably slip under most team's radars, but is a great playmaker that could come from nowhere and have a great NFL career. He needs to add some bulk and improve his hands. He played vs. lesser opponents, but makes a tough matchup for any respectable college corner. And with some more work, should do the same for those in the NFL. Has potential in the return game.
NFL Comparison: Todd Pinkston, Eagles.
Value: A pure playmaker that is worth a sixth round pick, but may slip into the seventh round.

Keenan Howry

5'10" 178 Oregon (4.41) Senior

Pros: Has good combination of speed and hands. Very good on punt returns
Cons: Lacks size and questionable durability.
NFL Forecast: Howry is a solid "shrimp" wideout, and probably would rate as a second or third tier guy in that category. He is a very good punt returner as he took 4 to the house in his college career. He's a productive wide receiver that has good enough ability to be a No. 3. But must be protected by the bench since he lacks the durability to be more than a backup.
NFL Comparison: Jermaine Lewis, Jaguars.
Value: Excellent punt returner combined with speed and decent hands makes him a solid sixth round prospect.


SEVENTH ROUND


Fabian Davis

5'11" 180 Wake Forest (4.45) Senior

Pros: Good speed and ability in the open field. Solid return man.
Cons: Only average hands and lacks upside offensively.
NFL Forecast: Davis will probably be a return man in the NFL because his hands are only average. He has good speed, but probably is looking at nothing more than being a No. 4 in the pros. Projects best on punt returns. His speed could be a nice change of pace offensively, but he won't get too many looks in that area.
NFL Comparison: Desmond Howard.
Value: Is a good enough return man to get a seventh round look.

Jerome Riley

6'1" 184 Washington State (4.64) Senior

Pros: Has decent hands and speed. Has potential to be solid return man.
Cons: Battles the dropsies, and struggles to gain separation. Not a deep threat.
NFL Forecast: Riley is an average NFL prospect that is good enough to get the job done. But he has good potential since he only played two years with the Cougars and was very productive. I don't see him as a starter, but could be a solid reserve as a No. 3 or No. 4 target that makes his impact on intermediate routes.
NFL Comparison: Bobby Engram, Seahawks.
Value: Riley has some upside and the makings of a solid backup wideout. Should receive seventh round attention.

Lamar Slade

6'3" 210 Pittsburgh (4.65) Senior

Pros: Has decent hands. Makes a good short-yardage target because of his size.
Cons: Will have lapses in concentration. Lacks speed to gain separation.
NFL Forecast: He was a good target in college, although not a great one. He has potential to be a decent reserve in the pros, with the possibility of climbing as high as a No. 3 on a team. But is nothing special as a prospect, but just has the right combination of hands/size to get a look.
NFL Comparison: Matt Hatchette.
Value: Slade is a marginal prospect that does not excel anywhere, but could receive late seventh round attention.

LaTarence Dunbar

5'11" 196 Texas Christian (4.52) Senior

Pros: Has good hands and shows ability on special teams coverage. Good kickoff returner.
Cons: Lacks size and does not have deep speed.
NFL Forecast: Dunbar is built like one of those blazing dwarf wideouts, but he lacks speed and will only be a intermediate backup. But he will make his impact in the NFL on special teams. He has good enough hands to be a No. 3, and plus his abilities as a return man and in coveage will make him invaluable to teams' benches.
NFL Comparison: Dedric Ward.
Value: Dunbar lacks upside at wide receiver, but his abilities on special teams and mild ability offensively make him good enough to be a late seventh round prospect.

John Olinger

6'3" 215 Cincinnati (4.50) Senior

Pros: Great size and decent hands.
Cons: Lacks speed and is not a sure-handed receiver. Still quite raw.
NFL Forecast: Olinger is a decent prospect because he has a good mix of size, speed, and hands. But in the latter two areas he could still use a lot of develop. But he has good upside. I don't think he'll ever be a starter, but he could develop into a solid backup as a #3 or #4 wide receiver.
NFL Comparison: Donald Hayes, Jaguars.
Value: Because of his size and basic receiving abilities, Olinger is worth a look late in the seventh.

Justin Colbert

5'7" 160 Hawaii (4.35) Senior

Pros: Has great speed and abilities in the open field. Upside as a return man.
Cons: Lacks size.
NFL Forecast: Because Colbert is so small, he is going to have to make his impact on special teams. Like many others in the past, Colbert blurs the lines between running back and wide receiver. Usually these types of players are successful as return men, as Colbert should be. Was very productive in June Jones' Run-N-Shoot offense, but that no longer exists in the pros. Has chance to be a star in the Arena League.
NFL Comparison: Troy Walters, Colts.
Value: His potential as a return man makes him worthy of a late seventh round pick.


UNDRAFTED


George Marshall

6'1" 190 North Texas (4.55) Senior

Pros: Is a solid playmaker with good combo of size, speed, and hands.
Cons: Does not excel anywhere as a prospect.
NFL Forecast: Played against lesser competition and was decent, but nothing special. Marshall could have a nice impact as a backup as a No. 4 wideout. Probably won't ever climb any higher on a depth chart, but could have a productive career for a few years as a backup.
Value: Has enough skills to get a few looks as a late seventh rounder, but really is an undrafted prospect.

Wilson Thomas

6'5" 207 Nebraska (4.67) Senior

Pros:Has a great combination of hands and size.
Cons: Lacks speed and polish as a wideout.
NFL Forecast: Was one of Nebraska's better wide receivers, as he caught 64 passes over the past two years which is very good for a guy in an option offense. But Thomas is just a project at wide receiver. He has great size, but is only effective in short-yardage due to his lack of speed. Could potentiall grow into a decent #3 or #4 guy that makes his impact in the redzone. But his lack of speed will likely keep him out any starting lineup. If he adds more weight, could get some looks as an H-back.
NFL Comparison: Muhsin Muhammad, Panthers.
Value: Probably too much of a project to be drafted, but could sneak into the late seventh round.

LaDaris Vann

5'9" 200 Cincinnati (4.55) Senior

Pros: Has decent hands and shows decent ability in the open field after the catch.
Cons: Uncomfortable going over the middle and not a pure deep threat. Lacks size.
NFL Forecast: I really don't see Vann sticking in the pros, he just doesn't have the heart that you usually find in the "shrimp" wideouts. He could stick however in the Arena League. He was very productive his senior year, giving him enough ability to get a look by an NFL team, but he won't stick.
NFL Comparison: Arnold Jackson.
Value: Because he has too many limitations, he doesn't deserve to be drafted.

Jermaine Mays

5'11" 200 Minnesota (4.47) Senior

Pros: Has good speed and has good potential as a kickoff returner. Looks to be solid on special teams coverage.
Cons: Receiving skills are only marginal.
NFL Forecast: Mays has the makings of a solid backup wideout, but probably won't ever be a starter. He was never the go-to guy at Minnesota, and won't be anything more than a #4 or #5 guy in the NFL. Should be a solid backup since he is a pretty solid kickoff returner and can cover on special teams, all of which teams covet off the bench. Has little upside as a wideout. But he has a good chance of sticking for a while in the pros.
NFL Comparison: Michael Bates, Panthers..
Value: Lacks value offensively, so he is little more than an undrafted free agent.


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