Everyone knows who Julio Jones and A.J. Green are, but let’s take a look at the 2nd level guys. There’s debate over whether or not there is going to be 2 wide receivers taken or more in the 1st round. From my perspective, it doesn’t appear to be so. There are certainly desperate teams there at the middle and end (Atlanta, Baltimore, St. Louis), but is the talent there? Let’s take a look
Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
6 feet, 1 Inch – 204 pounds
152 Receptions, 2218 yards, 19 TDs
Torrey Smith is called the burner of this draft. He’s not the fastest guy in the draft, but he does have elite speed. He’s also quick and elusive. He set a school record with 5100+ all purpose yards through kick returns. His ability to make people miss is going to be something to watch at the next level as well. He’ll be good after the catch and stretching the field. So what’s not to love? Hands. He’s got the smallest hands of all the prospects, and particularly for his size, its unfortunate. He’s got a smallish frame, but has some room to bulk up some. He’s had some drop troubles throughout college and there are not a lot of coaches who think you can teach a player how to catch.
Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
6 foot 4 Inc – 228 pounds
College Stats: 128 Receptions, 2337 Yards, 16 TDs
Baldwin is the big red zone target of this draft. He’s got elite size and very good speed despite his big frame. Everyone says he has a knack for making spectacular catches (probably an indictment of the quarterback play at Pittsburgh). He runs good routes and gets solid separation from defenders. He knows how to make himself big and box out defenders as well as out jump them to win the ball. Questions about his production throughout college have started to move him down boards, however. It makes sense when you watch him. He’s good at almost everything, but just disappears for long stretch of time, even entire games. It could be a product of the system around him or their inability to get him the ball consistently, but the worry is that its a work ethic issues. Then there’s the lack of team mentality. When he declared for the draft, he spent a good amount of time ripping the program he just came from.
Titus Young, WR, Boise State
5 Foot, 11 Inches – 174 pounds
College Stats: 204 Receptions, 3063 yards, 25 TDs
Titus Young is the opposite of Baldwin, in that despite size and apparently speed limitations, he has had a ridiculous productive career. Particularly considering he only appeared in 3 games in 2008. He’s essentially averaging 1000 yard seasons at the college level. There were a lot of comparisons to DeSean Jackson before the combine, but his slower numbers hurt his draft stock and deep threat ability. His pro day numbers were better, and when you watch him play he plays faster. His route running is very good and he has great ability to separate from defenders. His work at the senior bowl was very impressive. He constantly made spectacular catches and was clearly the best receiver there. His drawbacks are his size and speed. Many teams prefer receivers over 6 feet. His frame will make GMs wonder about his durability. Young isn’t afraid to go across the middle, but he may not be able to handle these kinds of shots.
Leonard Hankerson, WR Miami
6 foot 3 Inches – 205 Pounds
College Stats: 134 Receptions, 2160 yards, 22 TDs
Hankerson comes out of a very prestigious wide receiver academy, the U. He broke Michael Irvin’s touchdown record and he’s got a similar build to Andre Johnson (6’3 220 currently). Hankerson has good speed, good hands, and a knack for finding the end zone. He only had 17 receptions his first two years and turned 3 of them into touchdowns. It’s his big play ability that has scouts interested in him. He started the year as more of a 3rd round prospect, but he had a phenomenal senior year on a Miami team that floundered down the stretch. He has the size, speed, hands, route running combination to develop into a nice number 1 receiver, or at least a solid number 2, but there are some concerns surrounding him. He has had some problems with drops, though in his senior year he seemed better, and his ability to make plays after the catch is severely lacking.