It's ok to say "I don't know".
- Sep 11, 2006
- Reaction score
- Louisville, KY
Some of the popular names on the board:
Some of the popular names on the board:
1) Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma
After much deliberation, especially in light of the disparity between their workout numbers, I decided to keep Dorial Green-Beckham as my number-one receiver prospect over Kevin White. It was close. However, the upside of Green-Beckham is just too tempting to slide him down the list. While I see some of the mistakes and rawness in his game, I do not feel those are so deadly when comparing him to his peers, instead of the high-end comparisons he draws.
The areas Dorial Green-Beckham needs to improve are obvious. His release techniques are largely a mess, and that was reflected in his 11.1% SRVC against press from his Reception Perception sample. Despite his big frame, he cannot free himself from the line of scrimmage, due to an inability to sell his route intentions, and his use of the dreaded “hop”. If he does not iron those issues out, he will not be able to maximize his potential, and will end up an easy target for NFL corners. Green-Beckham’s effort and desire also comes and goes on film, but you could also say that about a number of great NFL wide receivers.
All that being said, Dorial Green-Beckham is not nearly as flawed as some would lead you to believe. His 2013 tape showed me everything I’d need to see from a top wide receiver prospect. He certainly runs more routes than given credit for, and that was apparent in his Reception Perception study. Even with inconsistent route running technique, he effortlessly separates from coverage. Those same movement skills translate to when he has the ball in his hands. If he is put in the right role, Green-Beckham will amass up a ton of yards after the catch in the NFL. It would certainly help if he had some better route and technical skills, but even without them, there is nothing he cannot do on the football field.
Dorial Green-Beckham will not go off the board first among the wide receivers, and I get that. If I were in a General Manager’s seat, I’d make the same call. Those decision-makers have the information needed to factor in the risk of his off-field transgressions and year away from football. I do not, and that’s why he remains in my top spot as a prospect. Should the past manage to not rear its ugly head—always a dicey bet—nothing will hold this player back from being one of the best at his position.
Trump card: Freakish physical ability and fluidity for his size.
Pro comparison: Brandon Marshall mixed with some Demaryius Thomas.
4) Nelson Agholor, USC
Last year, when watching prospects, Odell Beckham Jr. was one of the first players I dug into. It did not take long for me to come to the conclusion, “oh yes, this works”. Nelson Agholor is not Odell Beckham Jr., but I had a similar experience when I turned on his tape. This will be the USC receiver that breaks the mold of recent failures from that program. Agholor has some of the best quickness in this class at every level of the game. He gets off the line with ease, and corners are often overwhelmed with him in press coverage. Once into his route, he displays the ability to redirect his body, whether with his hips or by shuffling his feet, with great tempo. He can certainly dust defenders on breaks and stems. Once the catch is made, Agholor is a real star. One of the best YAC threats in the class; he uses power, quickness and drive to break tackles. There were times he’d cross the whole field before anyone even had the chance to tackle him. Despite his smaller frame, Agholor often requires multiple defenders to bring him down. He relishes in the physical side of the game.
That comfort in the clashes translates to playing the ball in the air, too. Agholor is fearless in traffic, and can win contested catches. This combined with his ability to get easy separation on breaks makes me believe he can play outside in the NFL. He had drop problems in 2013, but quickly ironed those out of his game last season. Rarely will Agholor let passes get into his frame, and has strong hands to extend and snag the ball. It was extremely encouraging to watch this player take step-by-step developments to improve throughout his junior season. By his final college games, he was a near flawless player. Nelson Agholor is already a near complete player, who may still have room to grow. One of the more underrated receivers in this draft—look for Agholor to have a solid career regardless of landing spot, and truly thrive in a high-volume role.
Trump card: Quickness and drive to change directions in routes and with the ball in his hands.
Pro comparison: Golden Tate’s fearless attitude running after the catch, and contested situations, mixed with Greg Jennings’ precision.
5) DeVante Parker, Louisville
DeVante Parker has been one of the tougher evaluations for me this draft season. Some of the attributes with this player are just intoxicating, but there are some troubling moments that go without discussion by his biggest supporters. In my first visit to the RSP Film Room, both Matt Waldman and I laid out our concerns with Parker’s game (and espoused some affection for a player of the same first name you’ll find later down this list). Parker gets heralded as one of the best release technicians in this class, but it’s fair to question whether he is as developed as reputed in this area. His size and quickness paralyzed many inferior athletes that lined up across from him. Slow reactions allowed Parker to fly off the line untouched. However, he never really developed a counter punch for when a more developed cornerback did not display the same hesitation. If NFL corners don’t fall for his bread and butter move, and they likely will not, how long will it take him to readjust?
His route running needs some overhaul, despite having good potential here. While speed variance in-route can be a good thing, Parker borders on an out of control level. It would help if Parker did not fluctuate between gears so often in the same route, so that his quarterback can better rely on where he will be. This receiver also tips his routes off to those covering him. If he were more aggressive as a route runner, this would not be such a problem. At this point, Parker is unpredictable for his quarterback, but too predictable to those covering him.
All that being said, and its plenty to worry about, Parker does have very palpable upside. His strides are excellent, effortless and a real chore for defenders to keep up with. Parker can eat up cushion in a hurry and, even though he needs to add nuance to do the same in the NFL, make a play deep. Despite a wiry frame, he’s fearless in traffic and is excellent at bringing in the contested catches. His fluidity and quickness make you believe he can develop in the areas that he needs work in to become a reliable technician. It’s just going to take work. While I own some very negative views surrounding Parker, and certainly think he does not belong on Cooper and White’s level, I believe he can rise above his issues. But it will be a longer process than many think, and he may well always have inconsistencies. DeVante Parker did primarily get by with being able to out-athlete his competition in college, and he needs some time in wide receiver refinement school. Yet, there were more than enough flashes to believe he will not fade away with other members of that archetype.
Trump card: ability to eat up ground with his strides and lanky frame.
Pro comparison: both the ups and downs of Braylon Edwards
8) Breshad Perriman, UCF
The team that selects Breshad Perriman seems destined to get lambasted because they’ll be reaching for an athletic specimen. His draft stock seemed to rise to that of a first rounder in congruence with his strong pro day workout. While that usually is not a good sign, the tape always showed an impressive player. The speed and fluidity portrayed in his workout numbers is displayed on the field. In terms of big-framed receivers, who move in an effortless fashion, Perriman may be second only to Dorial Green-Beckham. He’s also a better pure power player, which (along with the jersey number and hair) makes some observers believe they are seeing a version of Kevin White-lite. When he gets the ball in open space, he can elude tacklers, or run through them. Perriman could fill a role similar to what the Broncos ask of Demaryius Thomas. UCF did not get him the ball in space enough.
Perriman has two big flaws in his game his detractors will bring up in debates about his merit; one I am more worried about than the other. While he had more than his fair share of drops, and bungles in traffic, I believe those issues can be corrected. Perriman tracks the ball, and positions himself well in contested situations, but just needs to more accurately time when he throws his hands up. He can be a bit too predictable in this regard. There are a good amount of focus drops, but those can be ironed out of a player, especially when his quarterback play is upgraded in the NFL. Perriman is also the type of player that makes his drops negligible because of the physical gifts that he’ll use to make big plays.
What concerns me more about Perriman is a lack of ability to sell his deep routes. While he displays good deception, and never tips with his head, his eyes often give away whether he intends to go short or long. His releases also give his intentions away, as he frequently uses the fatal hop move. Savvy NFL corners will be able to read that like a book, and if he fails to correct those mistakes, he will be unable to function as a regular deep threat. Perriman shows some real potential as a route runner; his head use, quickness in and out of breaks, and some of his hand fighting tells the story of a player who can develop as a technician. However, he’s yet to weave the full tale together. In the end, Perriman’s positives outweigh the negatives, and even if he never develops, he’ll end up being a deadly weapon on the simple routes. You’d be surprised how some of the best NFL wide receivers are doing just that, without anyone pointing it out.
Trump card: a frightening combination of size, speed and fluidity.
Pro comparison: all the physical gifts of Cordarrelle Patterson, just packaged much better with superior route running.
13) Jaelen Strong, Arizona State
The ride of Jaelen Strong’s reputation has been quite the roller coaster. At one point he was many analysts’ overlooked wideout, only to suddenly receive a ton of hype leading up to and then after the scouting combine. There are certainly pieces of Strong’s game that can sell a watcher. He tracks the ball well in the air, and usually gets himself in good position to make a play on it. Nothing about being in tight coverage bothers Strong. In fact, he seems to thrive in these situations. Strong is a good leaper, can judge the situation and the defender well enough to know when to go up for the ball. He needs to extend his arms more often to win contested catches at the NFL level, rather than just absorb them, but Strong should be an excellent receiver playing in traffic.
Unfortunately, there are many other questions surrounding Strong’s pro translation. As a route runner, Strong just has not shown anything near what he’ll need to do as a pro. Of course, some of that could be due to his recent jump from a low-level program to Arizona State. However, he rarely shows that he even possess the necessary traits that would lead an evaluator to believe he can one day hone that craft. Despite his strong 40-yard dash time, Strong lacks for quickness and suddenness. That’s why you will see him separate in the short and intermediate game, but why he is so often in contested situations deep. Without that suddenness, Strong will always struggle to pull away from starting caliber defenders deep. With that being the case, he’ll just be making those contested catches many swoon over in the short areas of the field. I’m just not sure how valuable that is. You can certainly find players of that ilk, albeit with a slightly lower ceiling, much later than where Strong will go off the board.
Trump card: none.
Pro comparison: a less reliable Marques Colston.