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2012 NFL Draft Preview: Top 10 Wide Receivers

Thursday 26th, April 2012 / 07:50 Written by

Justin BlackmonHere we are again, the 2012 NFL Draft creeping up on us, and time to look at my last list of skill position players as I bring you the top 10 Wide Receivers.

Let’s face it, the NFL has become a passing league, and more teams are loading up on big, strong and fast ball catchers, and there is a nice crop available this year. Plenty of speed and height are available as well as game changers and guys from big-time programs that can truly deliver. In fact much of the top 10 in this article will be gone by late second round at best.

So who would you like to see your team draft? Feel free to read and comment at the end of our article, and thanks again for reading.

1. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St.: Just about anyone you ask will say Blackmon is the clear choice at number 1 for WR, and with good cause. Blackmon has excellent hands and ran a quality time of 4.48 in the 40 yard dash. Also strong and a great leaper, Blackmon has the knack for making the big catches, and making them look easy. Many compare him to fellow Oklahoma State alum Dallas Cowboys Dez Bryant, which is good and also bad, as some feel his off-field personality needs some work. Blackmon is being scouted and praised much like Calvin Johnson was a few years back, but it remains to be seen if he has all that Johnson delivered. He will go top 5, and as long as he dedicates himself to the game, should be a great asset.

2. Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech: A lot of “experts” like Hill, but not this early, but to me this is the guy who is an all-around talent and, yes even with Blackmon available, the best WR in the draft. Now you want to compare with Calvin Johnson? How about the same college, a 6′ 4″, 215 pound frame, and blazing 40 yard dash speed of 4.36. This guy has it all, speed, strength, awesome hands, and can even block in the run game. The only knock, if this is one, is that his motor runs high and at times may over run a route, but given the ball in any situation, and he can make plays. I’m not one to pin a “love” label on any unproven player, but this guy has got it all. So many teams are looking for WR, but which one will be smart enough to take Hill early enough? Bank on this guy.

3. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame: Everyone’s choice for the second WR to be taken in the draft, Floyd has some nice upsides. At 6′ 3″ and 220 pounds he is plenty tall and physical and with a 4.47 40 yard dash time has speed. He plays the vertical game well, and has long, smooth strides which make him a nice deep threat. At Notre Dame he played every WR spot asked, so he can handle the slot, the deep ball or an over-the-middle possession type route. There is a, “buyer beware” label on Floyd however. A few big injuries and some DUI charges may tarnish him some on the NFL level. However, he did get a nice endorsement from Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald, who mentioned that he’d love to see his team draft him, which is not a bad praise.

4. Kendall Wright, Baylor: RG3′s top weapon at Baylor was Wright, a 5′ 10″, 196 pound WR who is very athletic, with good hands and excellent moves. He runs very fluent routes, has plenty of experience being a 4 year starter. His size and lack of pure breakaway speed has some wondering about his pro game, but he is a hard worker. It will take plenty of hard work for him to pan into a star, and to use an early second round pick on him may prove costly. He has made his stock rise though, so we have to wait and see.

5. Reuben Randle, LSU: Another nice sized, strong hands receiver here in Randle. His 4.55 40 yard dash time shows a lack of high-end speed, but his hands are impressive and he has great body control and moves. Randle is a guy who has improved every season and shows great work ethic, which NFL scouts love. He is seen as a number 2 or even a slot guy on the pro level, but a talented one at that. A guy who may find himself a late second round or early third round pick, but also shows to have lots of positive attributes.

6. Chris Givens, Wake Forest: Givens is a guy who will require a good long look to know what you have, but does have talent. He ran a 4.41 40 yard at the combine so he has nice breakaway speed, and runs good routes with sharp, precision moves. Some say he played poorly against big time competition, which is a negative, and he does not have superior leaping skills. He does have great hands and skill, and despite being 5′ 11″ and 198 pounds, has good power with the football. Givens will most likely not be a star from day 1, but a good project worth having.

7. Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina: Jeffery is a nice looking target at 6′ 3″ and 216 pounds, and can get the separation with 4.48 40 yard dash speed. A guy with exceptional hand-eye coordination, and terrific body control, Jeffery would seem like a prime-time WR, but he has some knocks that NFL teams are watching closely. He has been known to drop big time passes, and runs poor routes, so he will need some work. He has a lot of good assets, but may not be a guy worth drafting sooner than late third or early fourth round.

8. Brian Quick, Appalachian St.: Here is a guy you can root for in this draft, the 6′ 4″, 220 pound beast, Brian Quick. Long arms, strong hands, and real good awareness make him a guy worth a look. His 4.55 40 yard dash and questionable route running skills make him fall later into the draft pool, but he is a good athlete, and in his college years showed that he knows how to use the skills he has. Some may question his smaller school competition level, but hey same could have been said for Jerry Rice. Now I’m not saying Quick will be Rice, but he even has a nice name for a WR. This is a guy I would like to see my team take on and develop, he is sure to be a good player at this level.

9. Juron Criner, Arizona: Criner is a bit of an enigma here at number 9 because he has big upsides as well as big negatives. Yes, at 6′ 3″ and 224 pounds he is plenty big and strong, but with a 4.68 40 yard dash time, he is also slow off the line. He does make big catches, even circus like catches and makes them look easy. He also has great blocking ability and excellent physical play. His route running needs lots of work to be an every down NFL guy, and with lack of game-breaking speed he may be a slot guy at best. Criner is a nice talent to have as long as he is used in the right system.

10. A. J. Jenkins, Illinois: Not very big a target at 6’0″ and 190 pounds, but great speed with a 4.38 40 yard dash. Jenkins led the conference in catches last year, and is a guy who makes a good teammate, but may not be a legit number 1. He is great at finding holes in a defense, but also has a tough time with ball protection due to smaller hands. It has also been said that he plays poor in colder weather, which is always a factor for a NFL player. This is a guy who can be an asset, but maybe in the beginning for special teams or a deep throw.

So here it is, all the top skill players and play-makers for the 2012 NFL draft. Make sure to tune in on Thursday night and see what your team takes, and leave me a comment on what you thought. Thanks for reading and Happy Draft Day!

If you’d like to hear anything else from me on topics or ideas I can be reached at [email protected]

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About the author

Eric Gargiulo is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009.

View all articles by Eric Gargiulo

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