Lion’s Den: Too Early NFL Draft WR Preview

Amari Cooper is a favorite of the lion as well as alabama crimson tide fans going into the nfl draft and championship playoffs heisman finalistThe Lion evaluated the WRs of last year’s draft and determined it to be the year of the WR. Those rookies have made the Lion look wise. This year’s crop can’t compete with last years, however there are still a handful of first rounder guys who will contribute next year, especially on the right team. Let’s take a look. Among other things, a few things that I look for are the ability to get YAC, (yards after catch), big play ability, and catches in big games against good secondaries.

The Man:

Amari Cooper, Alabama: He has been the best WR in college this year and is probably the MVP of Bama. He has had big games against the biggest defenses in the Ess Eee See. His performance against Auburn last night (Editor’s Note: Your boy the Dazzle has REALLY slacked off in the month of December as it relates to posting shit here on The Jerkfest, this post was submitted by the Lion on November 30 for instance.  So apologies to C-Lion, and screw the rest of you) may get him invited to New York for the Heisman (Editor’s Note: Prophetic words, it did, and then he got blown out by Marcus Mariota.  Lots can happen in a few short weeks). The stats are all there. He is 3rd in all of college with over 100 receptions and is second in all of the NCAA in yards and TDs. He gets plenty of yards after the catch. He is a slightly poor man’s Sammy Watkins. He has the same size as Sammy, 6-1, 210 lbs, although he may be a step slower. I don’t expect him to run a sub 4.4 dash like Sammy did though. Great hands. Definite first round pick. Probably top 10.

Sure Fire 1st Rounders:

Kevin White, West Virginia: White has been so productive this year. He is 4th in receptions and yards. He plays for a mediocre team and is really the focal point of every defense. At 6’3″ he is a little bit bigger than Cooper but is about the same speed as Cooper. He isn’t as good at making yards after the catch and, as a result, he isn’t quite the big play threat that Cooper is. I like his route running for a big guy. If he can run that 4.4 range he will be a top 20 pick. He reminds me of Jordan Matthews with maybe a little more upside.

DeVante Parker, Louisville: We didn’t get to see a lot of him during the season due to a broken foot, but when he got healthy, he was spectacular.  In four games he has 35 catches for 735 yards and 5 tds. I love that he averages 21 yards a catch. While he doesn’t have a lot of catches, the guys who have more yards per catch have less catches than him. He is NFL size, at 6-3, and is built like TO. He uses his size well to get jump balls, which makes him a Red Zone beast. I question his top end speed. He needs to run below a 4.6 to be a top 15 pick. He is, at the worst his, comparable to name sharer WR DeVante Adams (Editor’s Note: Also the traditional spelling of DeVante) who went to GB last year, is probably a Michael Floyd or Eric Decker type at the next level, which is solid #2 with 1 potential.  However, if he comes in and a runs a 4.4 dash at the combine, he has the highest ceiling of all of these guys.

Tier 2:

Jalen Strong, AZ State: Everything I just said about Parker applies to Strong except slightly less so. He is 6’3 212 and is quick with good hands. He makes big catch after big catch for the Sun Devils. His production is very good. He has over 1,000 yards on 75 catches for 10 Tds. He, like Parker, does not have elite speed, but he has shown me some ability to make big plays with a 77 yard TD reception. I see him as a late first early 2nd round pick, unless he runs a 4.5 or less dash in the combine. He is a better Donte Montcrief, who was picked up by the Colts and is coming on as of late. If nothing else you gotta like his name.

Sammie Coates, Auburn: Like Parker, he has been slowed by injuries. However, unlike Parker we really aren’t sure if Coates is good because he is super raw. He is NFL size, at 6’2 205 lbs. He makes big plays though. If you watched the Alabama game, you saw him score Long TDs and look blazing fast doing it. He averages 24 yards a catch. I don’t know how much Auburn’s run heavy offense opens things up for him by forcing safeties to cheat up to play the run. Also it seems like he only runs two routes, the fly and the post. He is just very raw. He drops a lot of passes. I think he should spend another year in school. However NFL GMs love upside and he has it. If he comes out he could sneak into 1st round.

Ty Montgomery, Stanford: Montgomery doesn’t put up big numbers, but he passes all the other tests. Stanford uses him in every way you can think of. He returns kicks and gets a lot of carries and makes big plays for a team that isn’t known for them. He is has NFL size, 6-2, 215, and strength and speed. He is just a football player. He is underrated and his stock will rise in the combine.

Nelson Algholor, USC: The latest in the line of Trojan WRs to be an NFL prospect. He is somewhere along the lines of Robert Woods and Marquese Lee across the board.  Second Round pick.

Sleepers:

Tyler Locket KSU: Everything I said for Montgomery goes for Lockett. He does a little bit of everything for the Wildcats and he makes big plays, especially on punt returns. Top ten in college in yards. He is only 5-11 175 so he better be a blazer in the 40. Could be a slot in the NFL though.

Tyler Boyd Pitt: The guy just is a producer for a team that doesn’t have a good QB. 70 catches for over 1000 yards and 8 TDs. I just like what I see from him on tape and like Pitt WRs track record in the NFL.

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