The NFL season is sadly over, but we have the promise of one of the greatest offseason events in sports taking place in a little over a month. It is the NFL Draft. This year has seen the rise of a myriad of offensive and defensive juggernauts that have made a profound mark on college football and hope to do so at the next level. So, I will rank the top 5 draft prospects at multiple positions in the coming weeks ahead. Today's edition is Wide Receiver.
Watkins is one of the most dynamic players in the 2014 NFL Draft. He has the perfect blend of size and speed and also has great hands. Over his career at Clemson, Watkins has caught 240 passes for 3,391 yards and 27 TDs. He was somewhat overshadowed by the national media because of other players like FSU's Jameis Winston and Kelvin Benjamin, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, etc. He sure reminded the public of how truly great he is with an outstanding performance in his last game in college in the Orange Bowl against Ohio State. Watkins had 16 receptions for 227 yards and 2 TDs in Clemson's 40-35 victory over Urban Meyer's Buckeyes. When I look at this kid's tape, I see a guy who is extremely fast, elusive, and agile. He has the ability to take it the distance on any given play. That's why I see him having great success on Sundays.
Odell Beckham Jr. is dangerous. He is an elite receiver and a dangerous special teams ace. In 2013, he corralled 59 passes for 1,152 yards and 8 TDs despite sharing much of the receiving load with fellow star-WR Jarvis Landry. Beckham is also a lethal return man who amassed almost 1,000 yards on kick and punt returns. He also has great hands. He is another guy like Watkins that can take it to the end zone on any given play. His stats may not be as impressive as some of the other high-profile pass-catchers in the NFL Draft, but make no mistake, Beckham is special.
3. Brandin Cooks, Oregon State 5-10,186lbs. 40-time: 4.33
Cooks was probably one of the most underrated receivers in the college ranks. Cooks is the fastest wide receiver in this year's NFL Draft, has good hands, and just makes things happen. He was a big part of the Oregon State game plan last season when he amassed 1,730 receiving yards on 128 receptions for 16 TDs. He recorded the most receiving yards of any other receivers in college football last year. The only reason he is not higher on this list is because of his smaller frame compared to other big-bodied WRs. However, I compare him to a Tavon Austin of last year-awesome athlete with insane quickness that you just can't pass up.
4. Mike Evans, Texas A&M 6-5,225lbs. 40-time: 4.53
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If I was an owner of an NFL franchise, I'd want Mike Evans on my team. He proved time and time again to be an extremely reliable safety net for Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M. Evans has a big frame, and thus appears more like a basketball player than a WR. Evans had 69 receptions for 1,394 yards and 12 TDs in 2013. He has great hands and is a very dependable player. I have seen this dude numerous times on TV and have even seen one of his games in person, and this guy is truly the real deal. He's not the fastest or flashiest, but he gets the job done.
5. Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State 6-5,234lbs. 40-time: 4.61
Although overshadowed by Heisman Trophy-winning QB Jameis Winston and a slew of other talented players around him, Kelvin Benjamin was a major reason for FSU's remarkable championship season in 2013. He caught 54 passes for 1,011 yards and 15 TDs last fall. Benjamin has a great size and is usually head-and-shoulders above the opposing DBs. He has solid hands and seems to be in the right place at the right time including a memorable touchdown grab in the last few minutes of regulation to beat Auburn in the BCS Title Game. He was a major redzone target for Jameis Winston in 2013 and is extremely hard to cover.