Top 10 Rookie Wide Receivers for 2014

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Top 10 Rookie Wide Receivers entering the NFL in 2014

Some great talent coming into the league this year. Tons of teams in need of adding depth and talent outside the numbers. With all the young Quarterbacks that have taken over the league in the past three-to-five years, we are likely to see quite a few teams looking to build their receiving corps through the draft. Lots and lots of big, tall, strong play-making receivers available this year. We can expect to see a ton of rookies make an impact in 2014, just hope your team drafts the right one!

 

Sammy Watkins (Clemson) 4.43 40-yard dash : Watkins is a legitimate No. 1-caliber receiver who stepped onto the field as a true freshman and made an immediate, game-changing impact. Was slowed by injuries as a sophomore, but responded with a strong junior season and capped his career as one of the most impactful receivers in school history. Has rare speed, soft hands and the big-play ability to challenge NFL defensive backs as a rookie. Watkins was a second-team All-American selection and first-team All-ACC pick in 2013. He finished first in school history in receptions (240) and receiving yards (3,391). He was the 4th true freshman to be first-team All-American (Herschel Walker in 1980, Marshall Faulk in 1991 and Adrian Peterson in 2004).

Watkins has exceptional football playing speed. The kid can flat out fly, taking the top off a defense with ease. He has world-class track speed, extends outside his frame and plucks the ball out of the air, outstanding body control and agility, tracks the ball very well over his shoulder and is a natural hands-catcher who can make an average quarterback look good.

 

Mike Evans (Texas A&M) 4.53 40-yard dash : Evans combined with Johnny Manziel to form one of the most dominant quarterback-receiver connections in the nation the last two seasons. He’s a big, physical, strong-handed, West Coast possession receiver with playmaking ability who projects as a No. 2 in the pros where he will make his money as a chain mover and red-zone target. Evans posses outstanding size and length. He’s functionally strong to power through the jam, able to box out defenders and is a big red-zone target as mentioned before.

Evans is nearly unstoppable executing back-shoulder catches. He has strong, reliable hands. Very strong after the catch, slams into tacklers, is a load to bring down and leans for extra yardage. Productive playmaker, he averaged 20 yards per catch in 2013. Evans led all SEC receivers in touchdowns and also set school records for receiving yards in a single game and receiving yards in a single season.

 

Kelvin Benjamin (Florida St.) 4.61 40-yard dash : A monster-sized (6′ 5″ 240lb), intimidating, big-play receiver, Benjamin has the overall strength, length and wide catching radius that will demand extra coverage be rolled his way. Showed continual improvement, is still growing into the position, and possesses the traits to become a legitimate No. 1 receiver in the pros.

Benjamin has rare size and is a physical mismatch vs. defensive backs and linebackers. Eats cushion and separates with long strides. He has a very strong approach to the ball, is not easily knocked off course with his routes and will enter the middle of the field. He is an outstanding jump-ball catcher with amazing ability to pluck the ball at its highest point and regularly snatches it out of the air with superb body control and the grace of a ballerina. Very good separation speed. Adjusts surprisingly well for the low ball and tracks it well over his shoulder. He has a very energetic football demeanor and a fantastic work ethic. He shows that he is confident and competitive on the field. Benjamin is a natural hand-catcher that uses his body well to shield the defender from the ball and can beat double coverage.

 

Brandon Coleman (Rutgers) 4.56 40-yard dash : Coleman is a big, tall (6′ 6″ 225lbs), talented, West Coast receiver whose sheer size enables him to be effective outside the numbers, on slant routes and in the red zone. Not a big named player, someone that has a ton of potential that is flying under the radar. He posses outstanding size and body length, presenting a huge target. His long arms (34″) enable him to slap away defenders and swim off the jam. He covers ground with long strides but does lack big time explosive break away speed. He has a great track record of being able to track the ball over his shoulder along with play-making ability. Coleman averaged nearly 22 yards per catch and scored on one out of every five receptions over three seasons.

 

Donte Moncrief (Mississippi) 4.40 40-yard dash : Moncrief is another big, physically gifted “X” receiver with deep speed, leaping potential and playmaking ability. He has the potential to emerge as a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver in a vertical passing offense, and his best football is in front him. He has a very solid combine showing and pro day work out have ascended his draft standing. Moncrief has terrific size. Smooth accelerator, jets off the line, eliminates cushion and has speed to stretch the field vertically. Good balance and body control with the ability to track the ball over his shoulder. A natrual hands-catcher, Moncrief has the ability to pluck passes out of the air with his outstanding leaping ability. Still just 21, he needs to sharpen his route running. With average elusiveness it showed he could be contained as he produced seven games of 60 yards or less as a junior.

 

Odell Beckham (LSU) 4.43 40-yard dash : Beckham projects as a solid slot receiver in the pros. Beckham has quick hands with ability to snatch the ball out of the air and feet to slip the jam. Fluid and fast of the line with ability to break past defenders. He has the ability to sink his hips and changes gears to create separation off the line AND mid-field. Odell has terrific leaping ability for his 5′ 11″ size with the ability to climb the ladder to snatch throws above defenders. Has great ability to create seperation and yardage after the catch including showing his burst and shiftiness as a runner making him a very confident and competitive play-maker.

 

Jeff Janis (Saginaw Valley St.) 4.42 40-yard dash : Janis is a standout with rare measurables (6′ 3″ 220lbs running a 4.42 40-yard dash) and production. Janis led the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) in most major receiving categories after posting 83 receptions for 1,572 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2013. In 2012, he started in all 11 games, and his 1,635 receiving yards were the most in Division II. Janis has exceptional measurables and leaping ability (6′ 3″ and 37.5 inch vertical jump) he will test through the roof. He is a smooth route runner that accelerates into routes quickly and can separate vertically and uncover underneath working short-to-intermediate zones. He has terrific production, ability to carve up lesser competition and creates chunks of yardage. Will be a good red-zone target with an exceptional work ethic. Janis must prove that he can translate his small-school success to the field against better competition.

 

Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt) 4.46 40-yard dash : A relative of Jerry Rice, Matthews departs Vanderbilt as the most productive pass catcher in SEC history. He’s a tall, narrow-framed, West Coast possession receiver with soft hands, a professional approach and the versatility to line up inside or outside. He ended his college career as SEC’s all-time leader in career receptions (262) and receiving yards (3,759), also setting school records for receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions (24). Matthews has good form as a route runner, sinks his hips and pops out of breaks. Concentrates, tracks and adjusts to the ball with the ability to track the deep pass over his shoulder. Soft hands, sticky fingers and has leaping ability to compete for the ball in the air. Has break away speed and can open up his stride in the clear. Tought by the great, Matthews has great field awareness as well as being a solid size (6′ 3″ 215lb) target.

 

Brandin Cooks (Oregon St.) 4.33 40-yard dash : Short (5′ 10″), speedy, nifty-footed receiver who was unaffected by the departure of Steelers 2013 third-rounder WR Markus Wheaton, establishing himself as a play-maker in his own right by leading the nation with 133 yards per contest as a junior. Cooks projects as a very useful slot receiver with run-after-catch ability and some utility as an outside receiver. Light on his feet with terrific balance. Sinks his hips with ease and pops out of breaks to separate. Tracks and adjusts. Quick hands. Good concentration, body control and boundary awareness. Can turn a short throw into a long gain. Shows elusiveness, creativity and vision after the catch. Cooks was highly productive over the past two seasons, totaling 195 receptions for 2,881 yards (15.4-yard average) and 21 touchdowns he also set single-season Pac-12 records with 1,730 receiving yards and 128 receptions in 2013.

 

Allen Robinson (Penn St.) 4.60 40-yard dash : The Big Ten’s leading receiver the last two seasons, Robinson is a big, fluid, outside receiver with a nice combination of “above-the-rim” prowess and run-after-catch ability. He offers possession skills, play-making ability and red-zone utility to develop into a solid No. 2 option in the pros. Excellent size (6’2″ 220lbs and a 39″ vert jump). Good line release, ability to defeat press coverage and jams. Sinks his hips, breaks off sharply and creates separation off the line and while working across the middle of the field. He knows exactly how to work back to the ball. Has the elevation and body control to contort and make plays in the air. Turns short throws into chunks of yards and gets up-field quickly while showing shiftiness, vision and run strength. Can execute a full route tree in a pro-style offense. Robinson was highly productive over the past two seasons totaling  174 receptions for 2,445 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns.

 

Good luck to your favorite team and good luck to you and your fantasy teams!

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  • http://www.fflockerroom.com Fantasy Football Junkie

    Nice job Nardone! Now I really need to post my list of Running Backs soon!

    • http://fflockerroom.com Jonathan Nardone

      It’s about that time we start to kick it into gear! Will be working on putting together lists, notes and articles on 2nd and 3rd year Wide Receivers I expect to make an impact this season.

  • http://fflockerroom.com Christopher Ziza

    Great list. Jonathan, do you think Watkins or Evans will be around with the Lions pick at #10? There are so many rumors flying around that they want to trade up, but in this talent-heavy draft I think it would be a huge mistake.