NFL Draft - Wide Receivers (Part 1)
Apr 4, 2014
More articles from Mark Chamberlin
Scott Martin and I covered one of these wide receivers here . I assure you not all of my analysis of the Day 2/fringe Day 1 wide receiver prospects will be that negative. However, I am going to start off with one that fits in the same tier as Kelvin Benjamin .
Donte Moncrief, Mississippi
Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane. As expected, he dominated the NFL Combine, getting on the radar of many in the scouting community after a disappointing 2013 campaign. He has shown the ability to translate to the pro game on the field, but to say it’s been inconsistent would be very generous. I compare him to Benjamin in that when he hits the on switch he can take things over. However, the lapses in time between flicking the on switch is unacceptably long. I think Benjamin may be a case of just not getting it, which is not a good thing, but if the effort is there a coach has some tools to work with.
Based on Moncrief’s physical make up, game tape and overall production, it is difficult to explain his issues unless the reason is he just doesn’t want it enough. That is an uncorrectable problem. If he falls in the draft and develops a chip on his shoulder that may change things, but as of right now, I can’t envision him as an early Day 2 prospect and definitely not Day 1. In this deep of a wide receiver class, if he is sitting there near the end of Day 2 and especially heading into Day 3, I like him as a dice roll. At that point in the draft teams are deciding between high upside wildcards and role players; that is an appropriate fit for Moncrief, especially in this wide receiver-rich class. Any earlier and if I’m a fan of the team that drafts him, I’m queezy. I’d be very surprised if he ends up on any of my dynasty teams.
Marqise Lee, USC
Heading into the season he was the top prospect on many boards. After Sammy Watkins took the season over he became second, then Mike Evans slowly crept up on him and passed him, too. He is still third on some boards, but has fallen behind others on some, and even out of the top 5 on others. Don’t fall for it; it’s a trap. He’s not the most physically imposing prospect and his play in 2013 (done while constantly injured) isn’t awe-inspiring, but do not forget how he was looked at before this season. It’s easy to suffer from recent bias, especially with younger players; I get it. He’s still a first-round caliber draft pick, future starter and potential star in the NFL. He won’t beat you with size, speed or exceptional routes, but when the ball is in the air there aren’t many who are better at attacking it. If I’m picking later in the first round I have his name highlighted on my board. Cam Newton may blow out his shoulder due to a flurry of fist pumps if he falls all the way back to Carolina. I will be, too, if he falls outside of the top 5 on rookie draft day.
Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
I really, really liked him in January. Now as everyone else started finding out about him and the talk has escalated to him being a potential first-round pick my interest has cooled. Short, explosive wide receivers are taking over this league, as evident by Tavon Austin being selected in the top 10 in 2013. However, supply and demand must be accounted for with these types of players. While they have a place in the league, it’s become evident based on their usage that it is difficult for a team full of these types of wide receivers to be successful. The number of teams on which Cooks would be a good fit as a year one starter is small, no pun intended.
Is it worth spending a first-round pick on Cooks when Paul Richardson (WR, Colorado), Jalen Saunders (WR, Oklahoma), Dri Archer (RB/WR, Kent State), and Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, LSU) will all likely be available later in the draft? Yes, Cooks is a better prospect, but how much better? If he unexpectedly falls to Day 2 my tune will change, but he is not the potential dominant starter I expect out of a round one receiver. Tavon Austin was the exception to the little receiver rule due to his displayed toughness, versatility as a running back and ability to make plays across the middle down the field. Cooks may develop into something similar, but he has not yet. Paying the premium price expecting him to match his upside is not the way to get the most out of a draft class. As far as your dynasty teams are concerned, keep him on your radar until we see where he is drafted. He is a late Round 1 consideration in the right situation.