Best of the West - NFL Draft - Wide Receiver Rankings

The 2014 NFL Draft wide receiver class is the deepest in years. The West exemplifies that. While there are no elite level receivers in the West, there's a ton of high quality guys who will make immediate impacts in the NFL. Marqise Lee (USC) is the closest thing to elite, but his 2013 season was plagued by injury, poor quarterback play, and Lane Kiffin. Never the less, Lee is still a top notch receiver and headlines the group coming out the West. Brandin Cooks (OSU), who pretty much was the Beaver’s offense in 2013, led the nation in receiving. There are guys with big play ability like Paul Richardson (CU) and Davonte Adams (Fresno), that would be 1st Round picks in most years. Not to mention Senior Bowl participants Robert Herron (WYO) and Josh Huff (UO), both of who drew rave reviews during the week.

1.     Marqise Lee (6’0” 195lb JR) USC: Lee came into 2013 as one of the top prospects in the draft. Unfortunately, he was slowed down by injury and quarterback growing pains, but he’s still a 1st Round talent. Lee has great speed, and stays low coming out of his breaks. He can make spectacular catches, but he also drops a lot balls. He too many times was worrying about breaking the big play before he secured the ball. Many people think Lee really hurt his draft stock in 2013, but the fact is that Lee was never really a Top 5 player. Current Projection: Mid 1st Round

2.     Paul Richardson (6’1” 170 JR) CU: Richardson was the most fun receiver to watch in 2013. He’s got a Randy Moss quality that makes him incredibly entertaining. Richardson doesn’t run super precise routes; he’s got a lot more wiggle and bend to his game. He’s incredibly slippery, and gets open with ease. The main concern I have is that he has too much bounce coming off the line. He seems to get too distracted by the defender and doesn’t get downfield in a hurry. In the NFL he’ll have to working on blowing off the line much faster. Current Projection: 2nd Round

3.     Davonte Adams (6’2” 200lb SO) Fresno: Adams is a big target who has decent speed making him a tough matchup. He was clearly Derek Carr’s favorite target as the two hooked up 131 times, 24 of them for TDs! He’s got great hands, and is excellent at positioning himself agasint the defender- very much has that basketball mentality. There’s some question as to how fast Adams really is. He looks fast compared to other players, but not track speed. Adams could skyrocket up the boards with a sub-4.5 40 time. Current Projection: 2nd Round

4.    Brandin Cooks (5’10” 181 JR) OSU: Cooks is the most versatile receiver in the draft. He can go deep, over the middle, or just take a screen and make guys miss. In the NFL he’s probably more of a Wes Welker-type slot receiver than a deep threat. He has great ball instincts, body control, field awareness and spacing, making him the perfect 3rd down receiver. He runs very precise routes, and is reliable as any to catch the ball. I'm concerned that he doesn't have elite speed- but he has the on field quickness that teams will look for. Current Projection: 3rd Round

5.     Josh Huff (5’11” 205lb SR) UO: Even if Huff couldn’t catch he’d still get drafted. Huff is an excellent blocker, and could be a special teams all-star in the NFL- think a 21st Century Steve Tasker. But Huff can catch, and he’s an explosive runner with the ball in his hands. He’s got great speed, open field moves, and is very tough to bring down. Huff’s not the best at getting open (he telegraph’s his breaks) but he’s good at finding the soft spot in the zone. What Huff does really well, is run after the catch. He makes his moves while always going forward. He’s not a #1 at the next level, but he’s a dangerous #2. More like a poor man’s DeSean Jackson. Current Projection: 4th Round

6.     Cody Hoffman (6’4” 218lb SR): Hoffman is the biggest receiver coming out of the West this year.  He’s a true possession guy who can work the sidelines or middle, but isn’t going to beat anyone deep. He’s a little stiff, but runs good routes. He uses his size well. He’s an OK blocker, but one would hope that he develops that skill at the next level, and be able to contribute in the run game and special teams. Current Projection: 4th Round

7.     Robert Herron (5’9” 180lb SR) WYO: Herron is a small but explosive player, who is extremely dangerous along the sideline. He’s got track speed, so he gets a lot of cushion from defenders. He’s slippery and quite tough to bring down. Herron also plays bigger because of his jumping ability. He’s going to contribute on some team, but seems like an ideal fit for the Patriots. Current Projection: 4th Round

8.     Shaq Evans (6’1” 210lb SR) UCLA: Evans has the ideal size, speed and route running for the NFL. He’s a stiff, yet precise route runner. Not great moves, but good strength to break tackles. He could develop into an Anquan Boldin type receiver. Current Projection: 5th Round

9.     Noel Grigsby (5’11” 175lb SR) SJSU: Grigsby missed all but one game (Stanford) in 2013 due to a torn meniscus. But he proved himself enough in 2012 to warrant being picked in the draft. He’s a small receiver, but plays bigger as he goes up a gets the ball. He uses his body well to box out defenders along the sidelines. He’s more than just a slot guy. Current Projection: 6th Round

10. Brandon Wimberly (6’3” 225 SR) Nevada: Wimberly is a big receiver who played mostly in the slot. Wimberley is a tough matchup against corners, and can go up and get the jump ball. The problem with Wimberley is that he’s just not NFL fast. He played in the slot, a lot like Jace Amaro, but not as big. It wouldn’t shock me to see a team try to bulk Wimberly up and covert him into a slot tight end. Current Projection: 7th Round

11. Austin Franklin (6’1” 180lb JR) New Mexico State: Franklin is a total wildcard. Playing at New Mexico State, he didn’t get a lot of exposure, but Franklin is a gifted athlete who is threat with the ball in his hands. He lined up all over the field for the Aggies. He’s very quick laterally, and has straight ahead speed too. He’s definitely a slot guy in the NFL. He could develop into a good kick returner.  Current Projection: 7th Round

12. Chandler Jones (5’9” 175 SR) SJSU: Grigsby’s injury opened the door for Jones to be David Fales’ go-to receiver in 2013. Jones is a pure slot receiver who got good reviews at the Shrine Game practices. He’s not super fast, but he’s sure handed and not afraid to block. Current Projection: 7th Round