Top 10 Wide Receivers for the 2014 NFL Draft

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Top 10 Wide Receivers-2014 NFL Draft

NFL Draft
Joshua Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

In today’s NFL, the role of the wide receiver is changing. The rules continue to evolve and tailor the game more toward a wide open passing offense, and with that, the need for three quality wideouts on a given team is much more of a priority than ever before. Some teams run a great number of plays out of a 3-wide set, utilizing a slot receiver almost as another starter.

Looking at the 2014 NFL draft class of wide receivers, there are some tremendous talents to keep an eye on for the upcoming season. Last season’s batch of wide receivers were a flawed group: lots of fascinating players with individual skills that wowed scouts, but all of them had enough concerns that several of the top players slid considerably.

But this season’s group is different. Whereas here weren’t much in the way of true WR1 types last season, this class has multiple prospects who fill that role: big, tall wide receivers with impressive production and the type of talent that makes them more than a role player or a specialized athlete. These are three-down, split-wide top-tier prospects.

In 2013, there were three wide receivers taken in the first round and only one in the top 10. In 2014, I won’t be at all surprised if there are six wide receivers selected in the first round, and as many as three in the top 10, with two in the top five. The 2014 NFL draft is already shaping up to be much more top-heavy than the 2013 version, and this wide receiver class is going to be a big part of that. So with that, let’s take a look at my top early top 10 wide receivers for the 2014 NFL draft.

Curt covers the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL draft, and college football for Rant Sports. Connect with Curt on Twitter @nfldraftboard.

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1-Marqise Lee, USC

NFL Draft
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Lee is an easy choice to be the top wide receiver here. His skill set is tremendous and there are very few flaws to his game. Lee is a true no. 1 wideout, and should go top five. He will have to work with a new and inexperienced quarterback this season, but his talent is so exceptional that doing so should just prove the point of how good he is.

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2-Sammy Watkins, Clemson

NFL Draft
Joshua Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Watkins has talent very similar to that of Lee. However, injuries and off-field issues push him slightly below Lee here. The problem with Watkins is that we have seen that character concerns can trump talent, so while he's a top-two talent, he could slide in the draft. Make no mistake, Watkins is an elite player in an offense that will showcase him, and should be able to impress if he can stay on the field.

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3-Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt

NFL Draft
John McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Matthews is my top senior wide receiver, and should end up in the mix for the top half of the first round. He's got excellent length and speed, but the real key for me is just what a smooth athlete he is. Teams will love how effortlessly he makes plays.

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4-Cody Hoffman, BYU

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Hoffman is another big, strong experienced wide receiver that is incredibly productive. BYU used Hoffman all over the field, and he looks to be the kind of player who can make plays all over the field. Another potential first-round talent.

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5-Josh Huff, Oregon

NFL Draft
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Huff is a speedy multi-tasking receiver who will likely have a much bigger role in the Oregon offense this season. With that, he can showcase his skills as a pass catcher much more, and show the NFL that he is more than capable of being a top-tier receiver. Huff's size isn't ideal, but he's a threat to score every time he touches the ball.

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Wide Receivers 6-10

NFL Draft
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

This next group of wide receivers have some very interesting talents who could move up draft boards as the season goes on.

6. Brandon Coleman, Rutgers

7. Mike Evans, Texas A&M

8. Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia

9. Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss.

10. Kevin Norwood, Alabama