The 2014 draft is much better for skill position players than 2013. While there were some electric receivers in last year’s draft, this year the crop is more polished, explosive, and diverse. In other words, fantasy football players will be taking note of where these guys get picked.
1. Mike Evans, Texas A&M- He has the best set of hands in this draft. He is a huge target, both tall and muscular. His speed and quickness are deceptive. He averaged more than 7 1/2 yards after the catch last season because he is difficult to take down and has a nice stiff-arm. His route-running will need some work, but his body positioning and ability to locate the ball at it’s highest point and snatch it are unequaled in this class. Comparisons you’ll hear a lot of: Vincent Jackson and Brandon Marshall.
2. Kelvin Benjamin, FSU- His size makes him the ideal down-field and redzone target for a NFL team. His hands are a little shaky, but his big-play ability is obvious. At this point he is a less polished version of Alshon Jeffery.
3. Sammy Watkins, Clemson- His burst is unparalleled. He gets to top speed as fast as anyone I’ve seen. He has excellent hands. My worry/wonder: more than half of his catches were off of screens. I could see him as a perfect fit in an offense like the Steelers, but what else can he do and what are his limits? His natural abilities are too much to ignore. Reminds me physically of Torrey Smith, but he has much better hands.
4. Odell Beckham Jr, LSU- This dude is smooth. His routes are precise and he glides around the field. Terrific hands catcher of the football. Kind of a combination of Eagles WR’s DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.
5. Jarvis Landry, LSU- Smart, aggressive player who attacks the ball in the air. Good route runner. I kind of see Victor Cruz when watch him play because his suddeness with the ball and toughness inside the hashes.
6. DeVante Adams, Fresno State- Guy just tore up the MWC. Fair to question the competition, but he demolished it. Reminds me of Jordy Nelson with his deep speed/size.
7. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt- Extremely productive playing on mostly an inferior team in a superior conference. He is Jerry Rice’s cousin, so that doesn’t hurt. He’s only an average athlete (I hope we aren’t underestimating him like his cousin), but does everything well. More physically imposing than he’s given credit for. Compares favorably to Michael Crabtree.
8. Marqise Lee, USC- Coming off a terrible season where injuries hindered him. I love his speed and acceleration in and out of cuts. Athletically, he’ll stand apart. I question his hands (dropped over 12% of his targets), his tackle-breaking ability, and can he stay healthy? He could be Greg Jennings (at his best) or I fear he could be Ted Ginn-like.
9. Brandin Cooks, Oregon State- He’s not quite Tavon Austin as far as explosiveness is concerned, but he’s a better receiver at this point. He gets open and gobbles up passes. He’s the ideal slot receiver because of quickness in and out of routes, reliable hands, and toughness (has never missed a game).
10. Mike Davis, Texas- He is very fast. Decent size and good route runner. He doubles as a returner and has better than advertised hands. Will challenge teams vertically with speed, but also plays the football well in the air, and is elusive after the catch. Think of a player like Nate Washington or Brian Hartline.