Around this time last year, the wide receiver position was arguably the biggest need for the Detroit Lions. Since then, the need for a third receiver has died down, but it's still possible the Lions may be targeting a receiver in this year's NFL Draft. Here are my top 10 wide receivers in the 2015 class:
1. Kevin White (West Virginia) | 6-foot-3, 215 pounds
White had an incredible combine and shocked the world with his 4.35 40 time. I had him as my No. 1 receiver going into the combine, and he definitely cemented that status for me. He can high-point the ball better than anyone in the class and will make you miss in the open field. White is going to be a touchdown machine in the NFL.
2. Amari Cooper (Alabama) | 6-foot-1, 211 pounds
Cooper has it all. He’s great at separating himself from defenders and runs the full route tree to a crisp. He also has great speed, and if you take a look at the superimposed video of his 40 time next to White’s, it looks like Cooper actually had the fastest time. Regardless, Cooper will likely be a top-10 pick in this draft. My only concern is if he’s already reached his ceiling, because I’m not sure what he can improve on.
3. DeVante Parker (Louisville) | 6-foot-3, 209 pounds
Parker is one of the most physical receivers in this draft with room on his frame to get even stronger. He is at his best when the ball is in the air, and he has exceptional body control. I’d like to see him get better separation on his routes, and there are definitely injury concerns after his foot surgery, but he remains a first-round talent.
4. Dorial Green-Beckham (Oklahoma) | 6-foot-5, 237 pounds
DGB has had his off-the-field concerns, including the fact that he’s literally been off of the football field for over a year now. That doesn’t mean he’s not a great prospect, however. The comparisons to Calvin Johnson are a bit over the top, but he’s still a freakishly tall receiver and nearly impossible to cover one-on-one.
5. Nelson Agholor (USC) | 6-foot-0, 198 pounds
Agholor is a great athlete who contributed for USC in many ways. He saw plenty of snaps as both a kick and punt return specialist, as well as a gunner on punts. He runs crisp routes and ran the full route tree for the Trojans. Among the top WR prospects, Agholor had the highest catch rate (77.6 percent) in 2014. My only concern is with his lean frame; I’d like to see him bulk up and add some strength.
6. Jaelen Strong (Arizona State) | 6-foot-2, 217 pounds
Did I mention that this class is stacked? Strong has good athleticism relative to his size and posted the second-highest vertical jump among all receivers. He’s more of a possession receiver and doesn’t exactly blow you away with his speed, but he’s nearly impossible to stop on back-shoulder fades and timing routes. My biggest concern is his ability to separate. Defenders appeared to be draped all over him on nearly every play, and he only had a catch rate of 53.9 percent in 2014.
7. Devin Smith (Ohio State) | 6-foot-0, 196 pounds
Smith is one of the best deep threats in this class. He doesn’t run as fast (4.42 40 time) as Phillip Dorsett (4.33), but he has a knack for high-pointing the ball and winning contested battles. He ran go routes almost exclusively for Ohio State, and it’ll hurt his stock a bit, but I consider him to be a solid Day 2 option for any team that wants to develop a talented receiver.
8. Devin Funchess (Michigan) | 6-foot-4, 232 pounds
He may have run like a tight end at the combine, but Funchess is still a big-bodied receiver who can cause mismatches for opposing defenses. He’ll likely see time as both a slot/outside receiver as well as an in-line TE at the next level, so he’ll have to work on his blocking. He reminds me a lot of Kelvin Benjamin, meaning he'll struggle with getting separation, but he’ll also win a lot of contested throws.
9. Sammie Coates (Auburn) | 6-foot-1, 212 pounds
Coates is a very raw prospect with an enormous amount of upside. He’s blazing fast for his size and led this year’s WR class in yards per reception (21.4). My biggest knock on him would be his inconsistent hands. He ended the year with a 19 percent drop rate, making spectacular catches and also dropping some easy ones. A high percentage of his routes at Auburn were go routes, so he’ll have to work on incorporating the full route tree into his arsenal at the next level.
10. Breshad Perriman (UCF) | 6-foot-2, 212 pounds
Perriman was unable to participate at the combine, but he has been projected to go in the top two rounds of the draft. Like Coates, Perriman ran a ton of deep routes and wins with his speed and tracking ability.