I had an earlier FanPost about bolstering our WR corps by using the # 36 pick to get a solid # 2 WR prospect that could potentially grow into a # 1 WR if needed. Some options I did not consider because they really are not early second round level talent could be available early in the third round. Right where the Lions pick.
Now as a whole, this group is less likely to be able to be a # 1 WR for reasons of size or speed, but there is some pretty good talent at the WR spot that could help the Lions out. Here are three for your consideration.
1. Quinton Patton La. Tech - 6' 0", 204 pounds, 9.5" hands; 4.53 40; 33" vert
This would be my first choice for a WR selection at # 65. He is a tough, hard running, productive player. A very good blocker, who consistently made downfield blocks for his RBs and fellow receivers. A shifty runner who used his blocks well and broke through any weak tackle attempts. Great body control and a very reliable pass catcher. Okay speed, but not a breakaway threat. Well put together, but does not have # 1 WR size. He did return punts in college but not effectively. I was surprised at that after watching him run bubble screens [an La. Tech staple] so much.
He is ranked between the sixth and tenth best WR among all the prospects. Could go as early as the second round, although I think the top of the third round is more likely. He also played for the South in the Senior Bowl and did pretty well through the practices and the game.
CBS Scouting Report: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1824467/quinton-patton
DraftCountdown Report: http://www.draftcountdown.com/ScoutingReports/WR/Quinton-Patton.php
WalterFootball Report: http://walterfootball.com/scoutingreport2013qpatton.php
2. Markus Wheaton Oregon State - 5' 11", 189 pounds, 9.2" hands; 4.45 40; 37" vert.
Frankly, I had never heard of this guy until I saw him mocked to the Lions on WalterFootball.com. Did a little digging, watched some video, and am interested in him as a prospect. Reminded me a lot of
Titus Young actually. A little smallish, but explosive, elusive, and very productive in college. In the OSU offence he was quite effective running end arounds, and continually made a lot of very big plays for his team. A dynamic runner who continually got extra yards after the catch and contact. Excellent speed and good hands too, a definite deep threat. He looks like he has the makings of a very good punt or kickoff returner, but he was not used much in that capacity in college. Probably too valuable to his team to use that way. Although small, he did give a good effort blocking. He had a very good Senior Bowl week and game.
He is ranked between the seventh and twelfth best WR prospect on most sites I looked at. A solid third round prospect. My only concern with Markus is his size. He looks to be more suited for a slot WR, not on the outside.
CBS Scouting Report: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1665268/markus-wheaton
Rotoworld Report: http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/cfb/42242/321/the-making-of-markus
3. Ryan Swope Texas A&M - 6' 0", 206 pounds, 8.2" hands; 4.34 40; 37" vert.
The combine star and fastest player of the bunch. Swope has breakaway speed, is a reliable pass catcher and is a pretty good and enthusiastic down field blocker. He was very productive in college working with Tannehill and Manziel at QB. I watched his videos and just did not get that excited. Pretty much all his yards after the catch came when he got behind coverage and just ran away from the defenders. I did not see him break many tackles or make people miss much. He seemed to go down pretty easily...if he was caught. The least explosive and dynamic runner of the three I looked at. But, there is no denying his ability to blow past Corners and Safeties. Not utilized as a returner after his freshman year.
Even with his excellent Combine performance, Swope is ranked around the eleventh or twelfth best WR in this class. Thought to be a third or fourth round pick. Personally, I would be surprised if he made it through the third round, but you never know.
CBS Scouting Report: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1700943/ryan-swope
There are a few other guys who will be drafted around this area, like Stedman Baily of WVU, T. Williams of Baylor, Cobi Hamilton of Arkansas, and A. Dobson of Marshall. Some of these guys are bigger than the above three and may actually have a higher ceiling as far as being a viable # 1 WR. Who knows?
The three I profiled were all clean as far as character issues were concerned, but Swope apparently has some concussion issues as per Mike Mayock. That is probably why he is not being ranked higher. All three of these guys seem to be solid teammates and hard workers.
As I said at the beginning of this post, these guys are a bit of a step down from the second round options, but there is some pretty good value here and if the Lions do think they need another playmaker at the WR spot, I would be very comfortable with either Patton or Wheaton, a little less so with Swope due to the concussion issue.
As always, your comments, questions, and criticisms will be happily responded to. GO LIONS!!