The class of wide receivers in the 2014 NFL Draft was one of the most acclaimed positional groups that we’ve seen in years. Twelve WRs went in the first 63 picks and there was still a ton of talent left over after that. Will there be a huge step back in the 2015 class? It’ll be a step back, but not a huge one. Like the class of ’14, the class of ’15 will be carried by the underclassmen.
The big name of draft-eligible receivers entering the 2014 season is Amari Cooper (Alabama). This guy has been making highlight reel catches since his true freshman season in 2012, and against SEC defenses mind you. He’s battled some injuries the past year but appears to be fully healthy entering his junior season this fall, and when he’s fully healthy, he’s almost unstoppable. For instance, he really only played two games last fall at 100%, the last two games of the season against the Auburn Tigers and the Oklahoma Sooners. His numbers in those two games? 15 receptions for 299 yards and a TD. Expect huge numbers from Cooper in 2014, and if declares early, expect him to be an early first rounder in the ’15 draft.
Stefon Diggs (Maryland) also struggled staying healthy last fall, but likewise looks to be at 100% by the start of this season. The junior Terp doesn’t boast elite size (6-foot, 195-pounds), but does have elite speed and quickness. If you had to compare his skill set to an NFL player, it’s DeSean Jackson. He’s got the track speed to take the top off a secondary and the shiftiness and lateral quickness to dance and juke a short gain into a long one. That kind of skill set will always garner early round consideration, simply because you can’t teach that kind of speed. Proving he can stay healthy for a full season (and proving he hasn’t lost any of that precious speed from last years broken fibula) will go a long way in determining how high his draft stock will rise.
The USC Trojans always seem to have a big name WR on draft boards and the latest is Nelson Agholor. Agholor’s top asset is deep speed like Diggs, but is more of a strider as opposed to dancer. He has good hands but tends to disappear at times. He’ll have a great game against a top defense like Stanford (8 receptions, 104 yards), then the next week against a putrid defense like Colorado, he’ll struggle (3 receptions, 38 yards). He needs to prove he can be consistent, and if he does, he could find himself an early pick if he declares.
These are just a few of the top underclassman WRs who will be draft eligible in 2015. Jaelen Strong (Arizona State), Deontay Greenberry (Houston) and Quinshad Davis (UNC) are some other names to keep an eye on. And it’s not like the senior class is without it’s share of talent, either. Ty Montgomery (Stanford), Rashad Greene (FSU), Antwan Goodley (Baylor) and DeVante Parker (Louisville) are all guys who could go early in the ’15 draft, but the class as a whole will, like with ’14, be carried by the underclassmen.