The 2013 NFL Draft was full of game changing of defensive talent that could change an NFL team’s year, but it lacked the top-notch offensive players to shake up your fantasy team. The 2013 draft had 5 offensive skill players drafted in the first round, and only 12 after the first days were over. Compare that to the 11 1st rounders and 9 2nd rounders of the 2012 draft, and it’s easy to see the 2013 draft was short on top end offensive talent. 2014 will be a different story. I see next May’s draft being loaded with talent and there being as many as 15 skill position players going in the 1st and as many as 30-40 being off the board after the 2nd day. I will update rankings on a fairly regular basis and there could be some big swings as the bowls, combine and draft plays out.
- Sammy Watkins, Clemson, 6’1 205 lbs- I am a sucker for big strong WRs that use their body control and wingspan to win at the catch point, but I will get to those guys later. Watkins is the one guy that I want to drop down below Mike Evans, but just can’t. He’s fluid with his routes and catches the ball very quickly. He moves with purpose after the catch and doesn’t waste time getting downfield. He should be the first WR off the board in the NFL draft, and will be the #1 pick in most rookie drafts.
- Mike Evans, Texas A&M, 6’5 225 lbs- Evans doesn’t have top WR speed, but he will win almost every battle he is in with a DB. His catch radius is massive and once the ball is in his area it’s caught. He plays smart and knows when to cut a route off or to come back to the QB and get the ball. He’s the kind of WR that will make an inconsistent QB more consistent (Are you listening NY Jets?). He could go before Watkins in the NFL Draft and will be a top 3 rookie pick in dynasty drafts.
- Kelvin Benjamin, FSU, 6’5 235 lbs- Benjamin is moving up boards and starting to get noticed as a future NFL stud. He compares to Evans, but he is a bit more raw. He gives me a Plaxico Burress vibe when I watch him, and could become a red zone force.
- Allen Robinson, Penn State, 6’3 210 lbs- Has shown great skills in a pro-style offense and helped ease the transition of a freshman QB at Penn State. Solid body control and hands, lacks elite speed.
- Brandin Cooks, Oregon State, 5’10 186 lbs- Cooks is getting tons of Victor Cruz comparisons and I am starting to be a believer. He is elite from the slot and very solid on the outside. He will give DBs trouble during routes, but can be stopped with a solid bump at the line. Will rely on motion in the NFL.
- Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt, 6’3 205 lbs- The top WR in SEC history is the cousin of the GOAT Jerry Rice. He goes across the middle and doesn’t shy from contact. Makes tough catches and holds on to the ball. Has a long smooth stride, but won’t run away from NFL DBs.
- Marqise Lee, USC, 6’0 195 lbs- I was down on Lee, but his big Vegas Bowl has him moving on my list. Lee has ability to be a Reggie Wayne type WR in the NFL, and yes I understand that is a Hall of Fame level. He is great in the open field and is a star after the catch. I don’t know what he needs to do to get scouts to remember the 2012 Lee instead of the 2013 Lee, but the ones who do will not be disappointed.
- Odell Beckham Jr., LSU, 5’11 193- Is an elite slot WR who makes tough catches and is super quick. His size makes him an NFL slot or 3rd WR, but he will be a Sunday performer.
- Brandon Coleman, Rutgers, 6’5 220 lbs- If Evans and Benjamin are off the board and you need a big WR, you could do worse than Coleman. Coleman is faster than both, but his down 2013 season will scare off some teams early. He will need a solid combine to get some more hype, but I see him moving up quickly.
- Jarvis Landry, LSU, 6’0 195 lbs- The only player that enjoyed Can Cameron’s arrival to LSU more than Landry was Mettenberger. He has a knack for making plays when LSU needed them and he moves well if the play breaks down.
Small School Sleeper: Jeff Janis, Saginaw Valley State, 6’3 218 lbs- The D2 stud posted a 78/1,541/14 season and earned himself a Senior Bowl invite. The Senior Bowl and combine will give him a shot at making an impression with NFL scouts. He’s got a 7th Rd grade today, but that could change quickly.