2008 NFL Draft Preview: Wide Receivers

Posted: March 22, 2008 in NFL Draft, Vince Mullins, Wide Receiver

Our Pre-draft rankings will differ from many you will read, mainly because we do  not try to project the order that players will be drafted. We prefer to project how they will rank in a couple years and who has the most upside. I also extended the list to include some unique names that have made some noise on the workout circuit.

1) James Hardy, Indiana – JR – 6-5.5/220/4.50
I will admit he is still a raw talent with a couple off-field issues, but I think he has a lot of upside based on his hands, height and hoops athleticism. Disappeared in some games but can be excused since he was the only receiving threat.

2) Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma – JR – 6-4/215/4.50
Most polished of the WR prospects, could step in to any team as WR2 except Indy or NE. Height, speed an hands are all there but I am not sure he will get much better.

3) Jordy Nelson, Kansas State – SR – 6-2.5/217/4.63
It seems Nelson is not getting the love he deserves in most draft boards, and I just don’t see why not. Plus-size, big digits but average speed.
4) Limas Sweed, Texas – SR – 6-5/220/4.50
Wrist Injuries slowed him in 2007, but his athleticism is undeniable so it is valid for him to be higher on many boards. Few Texas WRs put up big numbers in school, so a first-round pick may be a risky situation.

5) Early Doucet, LSU – SR – 6-0/213/4.53
Battled injuries this year and never put up huge numbers.

6) Devin Thomas, Michigan State – JR – 6-2/215/4.50
Devin was on NO radar at this time last year and exploded on the scene with 79-1260-T8. I have seen him at the top of a couple boards but there are just too many well-heeled prospects with good CVs…

7) Mario Manningham, Michigan – JR – 6-0/187/x.xx
Injuries slowed him down in 2008, but he was a TD machine on the other end of Chad Henne passes for a couple years after Braylon Edwards left. This is my list and I prefer larger wideouts so that is why he is so low here.

8) Andre Caldwell, Florida – SR – 6-0/203/4.55
Bubba and injuries traveled together often in his career, but the size and speed and the YAC was displayed often when he hit the field.

9) DeSean Jackson, Cal – JR – 6-0/172/x.xx
Smurf wideout, but I could not catch him if we were in the same phone booth. I bet his NFL career will take some time to get productive, but he can help immediately as a returner for any team in the NFL.

10) DJ Hall, Alabama – SR – 6-2/198/4.48
Big, fast, good hands and put up numbers with John Parker Wilson chucking it. His track speed isn”t there and he did get suspended for rules violations, but probably worth a shot.

11) Lavelle Hawkins, Cal – SR – 5-11/175/4.50
He might be a better NFL prospect than DeSean Jackson, but still small.

12) Earl Bennett, Vanderbilt – JR – 6-1/202/x.xx
This Commodore carried the offense for his entire career, finishing up early yet stil the SEC all-time receptions leader. Lacks a top gear, but accelerates well and scores with ease.

13) Davone Bess, Hawaii – JR – 5-10/195/4.60
Bess could have walked away with the all-time career receiving numbers if he stayed at Hawaii, but that programs turmoil  made it the right decision to go pro. Bess needs to be faster, but his strength and quickness should get him drafted.

14) Marcus Smith, New Mexico – SR – 6-1/210/4.53
Two nice years in a row and decent combine have him on a few lists.

15) Harry Douglas, Louisville – SR – 5-11/173/4.37
Moving down lists due to the debacle season of the Cardinals last year. Great waterbug option for a team that may already have size at WR, Douglas looks like a good WR3 right now.

16) Mario Urrutia, Louisville – JR – 6-6/220/x.xx
I don”t trust this guy, but someone will give him a chance since he passes the swimsuit test.

17) Dorien Bryant, Purdue – SR – 5-10/174/x.xx
Another player who can contribute immediately on returns, but the (lack of) size will turn a lot of times off.

18) Kenny Moore, Wake Forest – SR – 6-0/204/x.xx
May be a good 3rd down back in addition to receiving duties.

19) Donnie Avery, Houston – SR – 5-10/184/4.33
One of four players time under 4.4, Avery had a few huge games but little consistency. Hands are questionable at best.

Others:

Jerome Simpson, Coastal Carolina – SR – 6-1.5/192/4.62
Every year has its token small school sleeper. His March 28 Proday will make or break this Chanticleer.

Marcus Monk, Arkansas – SR – 6-5.5/220/4.65
Seen him play a number of times, and his game is pretty much jump balls, fly routes and run blocking. An NFL team will need to refine his game.

Keenan Burton, Kentucky – SR – 6-0.5/204/4.49
If everyone is downgrading QB Woodson, we must also be wary of Burton”s production. Both Wildcats Steve Johnson and Jacob Tamme are also slated to be drafted, which makes it interesting that he is used to sharing the spotlight.

Paul Hubbard, Wisconsin – SR – 6-3/219/4.50
Every year has a tall athletic Badger WR, but this is no Chris Chambers.

Will Franklin, Missouri – SR – 6-0.5/205/4.44
Gut feeling here is that he has some upside given the numbers. But he never produced big numbers while sharing the ball with four other studs in Columbia.

Kevin Robinson, Utah State – SR – 6-0/185/x.xx

Should get a look as a returner off the bat, late round pick who had a great EW/Shrine Game.

Jason Rivers, Hawaii – SR – 6-1/190/4.55
Lots of numbers, but needs to add weight -or- develop top-line speed.

Jabari Arthur, Akron – SR – 6-3.5/225/4.65
Intriguing prospect with size who went to Akron after a stellar Canadian HS career as a QB. Pretty good year despite minus-QB play.

Dexter Jackson, Appalachian State – SR – 5-9/179/4.36
Despite small size, he really stood out at the Senior Bowl and will move up draft boards.

Mo Purify, Nebraska – SR – 6-2.5/220/4.60
Rap as a troublemaker, and scored a bit slow on the 40. But when he played he was a difference maker in the offense-friendly Big 12.

Arman Shields, Richmond – SR – 6-1/195/4.49
Top scores at each of the Combine drills put him on everyones list.

TE or WR?

Dustin Keller, Purdue – SR – 6-2/251/4.70
Adarius Bowman, Oklahoma State – SR – 6-3/220/4.55

Word is Bowman put on another ten pounds of rock in the last three months, which puts these two in a unique tweener position. I dare anyone to find tape of Keller blocking anyone as the Purdue offense threw often.

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