This post is really late but here goes. First let's start with a quick status quo of the league and our team. Free agent movement has shown that second tier receivers (below the Johnsons, Fitzgerald and maybe AJ Green) are going to get in the 10 million a year range. It's also obvious that Kevin Walter isn't part of the future (written before his release). Wallace and Bowe have signed with Miami and Kansas City respectively. Houston has lost James Casey and Glover Quin so far. Barwin is unlikely to come back. However what's obvious is that Bob McNair wants a Receiver and he wants a good one. He's not going to Jerry Jones the pick and do whatever he wants and announce it to the entire league. However he is making it known that the team better be picking up a top tier receiver in April. Now onto the actual receiver stuff. Also comments are greatly appreciated!
Updated Receiver Rankings:
Tier 1: I am firm in my belief that these three are on a significantly different level as prospects than the rest.
1. Cordarrelle Patterson: In short, his shortcomings aren't quite as bad as some will have you believe. He is up there with the best in the class in raw receiver skills but also has that playmaking gene that can't be taught. Keenan Allen is just trending in the wrong direction for me to not have some skepticism.
2. DeAndre Hopkins: Hopkins is a solid 6'1 at a prototypical 215 pounds. He has the arms and hands of someone 6'4 though and is extremely long and has a great center of mass. Hopkins has done nothing but improve his stock since his bowl game (which was downright amazing). Great bowl film, solid combine, solid interviews. Trending up.
3. Keenan Allen: Allen could easily be #1 after his pro day. He needs to pull out of the downward spiral. Since the year has began Allen has been solid but is recently trending down after being shorter and lighter than expected and coming up injured to the combine. Allen is as solid a prospect as there is and I'm sure that this is just a slight overreaction for the time being.
Tier X: The thing about these two is that they could be so special but it's just too hard too tell for now.
4. Tavon Austin: Look at his highlight film or pull up a WVU game. He stops and goes like nothing. However what really makes the whole thing go, his vision. He uses all his blockers and zigs up and down the field. Not sure a prospect just like him has ever come out.
7. Justin Hunter: Hunter is freakishly fast, tall as advertised, extremely tall, and from all accounts a fine young man. There's the chance he slips into the first if a team really falls in love with him (maybe a bottom team trades back up for him out of the second). Someone will fall in love with him though. He had a fantastic combine and has pretty good film. Its obvious that Patterson took over the Alpha role in Tennessee's offense bunt Hunter was probably the #1 within the confines of the system and played like pure receiver. However for now he is hard to pin point and ranks as seventh.
Tier 2: Solid receivers, usually on the smaller side
5. Robert Woods: We'll be covering him soon but he should really be in tier one, maybe after exam week is over. Fingers Crossed!
6. Quinton Patton: I've been on this guy's bandwagon since mid season and it looks right I'm right. He's not a first round pick and shouldn't be. However he is going to be a solid round two pick for the right team. Will be well worth wherever he is drafted as long as the team uses him right.
8. Ryan Swope: Really has established himself. Forcing teams to reexamine his film. Will probably sneak into the second if a team likes him enough. However let's be clear here, Swope is strictly a slot receiver. Just because he is a solid 6' and 200 pounds with his 4.34 doesn't automatically make him an outside receiver. Swope is strictly an interior slot-possession player. He is not Tavon Austin, nor is he Robert Woods just because they're same size.
DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen and Cordarrelle Patterson are all in my tier 1 because they have the special blend of size, athletic ability and playmaking ability that teams love. Hopkins and Allen show spectacular feel for the position while Patterson can learn on the fly because of his unique playmaking skills. Allen and Hopkins are my favorites. My personal favorite is Hopkins but Allen and Patterson are damn fine players too.
It was really hard to put Robert Woods in tier two but I felt I had too. He plays bigger than he is because he can shed, release and box out much bigger players. However I just feel like he is going to have to adjust to the pro game much more differently that tier one receivers because of his stature. Woods is really the class of the second Tier right now. Patton is going to be a good, like a Mohamed Sanu. He goes to right team and gets 600 yards and five touchdowns in his first year. Solid player. Ryan Swope is a player that needs to go to a team that will use him out of the slot. He also has to go to a team that uses him right. He could be the next Danny Amendola but he probably won't be. Swope is a good player but I just don't think he succeeds unless he lands in a team that actually takes advantages of real slot receivers (so not here)
Tier X was made for Tavon Austin. The guy is insanely fast and trust me he plays way faster than Ryan Swope, no 40 time is going to change that. However he has that blend of receiver skills (route running, catching) but he is more of a scat back. His ability to actually make space with his routes and not have to take a screen or a hand off to get the ball in his hands is a major plus. He doesn't need to be handed off too because he can use his route running and hands to get space. His vision is unparalleled and his ability to pick his way through traffic is unprecedented. Combine that with the fact that he'll make a defender with bad angling fail ten times out of ten because of his raw straight line speed and you have a match up. Justin Hunter is in this group because he could really be a tier one and is really hard to pin point. His raw athleticism is intriguing. His tape is solid, needs work but is definitely a solid receiver with a good understanding of his position. However what he really has going for him right now is that it seems like he is generally a good guy and is a humble person and hard worker. He has number one, x, alpha, Johnson, Fitzgerald, blue collar, etc written all over him. Watch out.