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2010 NFL Rookie Profiles: WR

A Dynasty look at the Wide Receiver class of the 2010 NFL Draft

This year's WR class is stacked with big-body prospects.  With teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks (to name a few) looking for exactly such a skill set, expect to see some legit talent falling into ideal fantasy situations.  Don't sleep on some of the lesser known prospects of this WR group as some of the highest upside talent may not emerge for another 2-3 seasons.

Dez Bryant


College:
 Oklahoma State (3rd Year Junior)
Height-Weight: 6'2" 225lbs
Player Comparison: Terrell Owens
Comments: From the perspective of a skill set and overall upside, Bryant is easily the top WR in this class.  A blend of fantastic athletic ability, downfield speed, ability to catch the football away from his body and physically attack a jump ball, Bryant is everything you look for in a dominant  #1 Dynasty WR.  He is drawing comparisons to the leagues elite and many say he is more physically gifted than last years top wideout Michael Crabtree.  Bryant missed the final 10 games of the 2009 season due to NCAA suspension following a 9 catch 161 yard 2 TD performance in Week 3 vs. Rice.  He played a full season in 2008 amassing 87 catches, 1480 yards and 19 TD's - ridiculous numbers.  Bryant has been injured (hamstring) through the Draft Season and did not work out at the combine.  His pro day numbers were generally unimpressive running average 40 times and not completing his 3 cone drill and short shuttle workouts.  He reportedly forgot to bring his sneakers to the workout - red flag.  Major questions have risen over Draft Season regarding his overall lack of work ethic, commitment to football and maturity level.  Reportedly late to games, practices and the classroom while at Oklahoma State, he may drop on NFL Draft boards with teams not willing to invest a high pick on attitude question marks.  From a Dynasty persepective, who cares as long as he keeps himself on the field?  He might end up being a headache a la Brandon Marshall that some owners do not want to deal with, which could be to your advantage. He is the most gifted Dynasty WR prospect in the Class with an elite skill set and that makes him well worth the gamble in Dynasty Rookie Drafts.    
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 1st Round - Top 3 Selection

Demaryius Thomas

College: Georgia Tech (4th Year Junior)
Height - Weight: 6'3" 224 lbs
Player Comparison: Calvin Johnson
Comments: Despite not working out, Draft Season has been very kind to Thomas's stock.  He has quickly risen Draft Boards and is now considered to have a strong case as the first WR off the board in this years NFL Draft.  Thomas is a bit of a raw product however his blend of size and speed make him an intriguing Dynasty prospect.  He uses his large frame to shield defenders and displays a natural pass catching ability.  Having not run a 40 time this Draft Season, his speed continues to be questioned however his game tape shows plenty of separation between he and defenders.  Thomas remained relatively quiet in his first two season at Georgia Tech, although he expolded on the scene in his Junior season catching 46 balls for 1154 yards and 8 TD's in an offense considered limiting for WR's.  His amazing 25.1 yards per catch display his big play and run after the catch ability.  With some route running improvements, Thomas has as much upside as any player in this draft and has the potential to be a perennial stud WR1 on your Dynasty squad with 1,000+ yard seasons and double digit TD's.  Like most WR prospects, an immediate impact at the next level is unlikely although he should overcome his learning curve in short time.  With Bryant likely off the board within the top 3 picks of upcoming Dynasty Rookie Drafts, Thomas is well worth reaching for at the middle of the 1st, especially if your roster can handle a season before legitimate return on investment.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 1st Round - A steal in the Top 8-10 Selection.  

Golden Tate

College: Notre Dame (3rd Year Junior)
Height - Weight: 5'10" - 199 lbs
Player Comparison: Steve Smith (NYG)
Comments: Tate is built more like a Tailback than a NFL wideout.  This has not necessarily a bad thing for this years Biletnikoff Award winner, which goes to the country's top collegiate wideout.  While he will never be a true #1 WR in the NFL, his value within Dynasty circles should not be overlooked.  His skill set in the mold of a Percy Harvin, DeSean Jackson or Eddie Royal will fill a growing role in current NFL offensive schemes.  Tate is a disciplined route runner, praised for his ability to move in space after the catch.  Tate is not a slot receiver and has excellent deep ball ability to fill the #2 WR position on an NFL squad. An immediate impact at the next level is likely and may be the steal in your Rookie Drafts should he fall into the mid to late 2nd round.  
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 2nd Round - Top 10-15 Selection.

Brandon LaFell

College:
 LSU (5 Year Senior - 2005 Redshirt)
Height - Weight: 6'2" 211 lbs
Player Comparison: Anquan Boldin, Amani Toomer
Comments: LaFell (a former DB transitioned to WR) is a big time upside player that will likely need a season or two before emerging into a dangerous fantasy threat as a high end WR2.  His experience in a pro style offense should lessen his transition into the pros.  He has underrated hands and is aggressive over the middle making him a solid possession WR prospect.  He will find the field early showing his ability to block well in the passing game.  LaFell posted some of the best all time stat lines at LSU, and showed excellent perseverance working his way into the lineup behind players like Dwayne Bowe and Early Doucet.  While his yardage totals dropped from his junior to senior year, he managed to show his ability to find the end zone, posting career high season TD totals (11).  While his numbers weren't overly impressive at the combine, he did showed his toughness performing through injury by completing all his workout drills with a hamstring issue.   He was quoted following the combine that he understands this is a game you must be able to play when injured.  He is considered one of the finest athletes in this years Draft class.  As his NFL Draft stock continues to drop due to a poor combine performance and the emergence of other players, his value as a Dynasty prospect drafted in the late 2nd round continues to climb.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: Late 2nd Round - Top 15-20 Selection

Arrelious "Regus" Benn

College: Illinois (3rd Year Junior)
Height - Weight: 6'1" - 219 lbs
Player Comparison: Braylon Edwards
Comments: Benn possesses an excellent size and speed combination that uses his thick musculature to utilize an agressive run after the catch ability.  It's the catching the football part we are concerned with. Regus has legitimate upside, however like most he will likely need a season to refine his route running skills which he tends to round off at times.  Benn's stock may fall some due to his limited productivity within his Senior season, although this was primarily due to suspect QB play, numerous nagging injuries and offensive gameplan.  Benn showed great devotion working hard in Combine preparation where he ran a solid 4.48-40 and pressed 20 reps of 225 lbs., the most of any WR.  His vertical jump of 37-inches was also impressive a good indication that paired with his thick frame he may have an edge at beating press coverage at the next level. We are not overly excited about Benn, but depending on his landing spot, he should be no worse than a 2nd round pick in your Dynasty Draft. He has boom or bust potential and could end up being one of the top two or three wideouts of this Draft. However, a return on investment may take a season or two as he adapts to the pro game.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 2nd Round - Top 15-20 Selection.

Mardy Gilyard

College: Cincinnati (5th Year Senior)
Height - Weight: 6'0" 187 lbs
Player Comparison: Steve Breaston
Comments: Gilyard is the definition of perseverance.  Overcoming a lifetime of financial struggles and a long road to being a productive collegiate star (Gilyard lived in his car for 6 months during a period of ineligibility at Cinci.), Gilyard is playing with a huge chip on his shoulder and truly appreciates his success.  He is very athletic and a playmaker in the open field similar to Devin Hester, however not quite as fast. A high character personality will be intriguing to many teams looking for an immediate 3rd receiving option in the slot.  He will face a learning curve and needs to add a few pounds to help him beat press coverage, but he will undoubtedly work to become the absolute best player he can be.  He has the potential to grow into a solid WR#2 or 3 at the next level and will thrive in an environment where he shares the field with an elite, big bodied WR.  Gilyard is a nice developmental prospect capable of evolving into a solid Dynasty flex starter.  He is a steal in the late 2nd round of Dynasty Rookie Drafts.  
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: Late 2nd to Early 3rd Round - Top 20-25 Selection

Damian Williams

College: Southern California
Height - Weight: 6'1" 197 lbs
Player Comparison: Torry Holt
Comments: Williams is a very polished prospect that has the potential to make an instant impact at the next level. He was impressive transferring from Arkansas to USC, becoming an immediate impact player for the Trojans.  He is a strong player with impressive hands, however he can occasionally be out-muscled by larger defensive players.  His physical attributes are not overly impressive, but his production in the SEC and PAC-10  will intrigue NFL teams.  He is an elite route runner, although like most rookie WR's will likely struggle to beat press coverage early on.  He has also shown the the ability to overcome adversity by improving his numbers despite the loss of Mark Sanchez to the NFL.  We like him to find the field earlier than most of the WR prospects int his class.  As with most players that are considered NFL ready, there runs a risk of a player already having a low ceiling.  He also has minor injury concerns as he frequently battled nagging shoulder problems.  He should be a more valuable asset in PPR leagues because of his possession skills. Don't reach for Williams, but be ready to pounce on him if he goes overlooked in the first two rounds of your rookie draft. 
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: Late 2nd Round to Early 3rd Round - Top 20-25 selection

Carlton Mitchell


College: South Florida (3rd Year Junior)
Height - Weight: 6'4" 212 lbs
Player Comparison: Vincent Jackson
Comments: While Carlton Mitchell is currently the biggest project of this group, he has found himself ranked this high due to his immense upside.  Playing on a run-oriented team in South Florida (2009 run to pass ratio 508:297), his overall stat numbers aren't overly impressive, but his athletic ability and on-field production is unquestioned.  He comes from a deep bloodline of athletes, and has clearly carried on those genes excelling in track, football and basketball.  Prides himself on being more than just a track star on the field by aggressively blocking and taking huge hits over the middle.  For his size he has a unique acceleration which should give him an advantage off the line.  Pay close attention to where he lands in the NFL Draft although it may be some time before a return on investment.  In the right situation he may be worth reaching for in the late 2nd or early 3rd round of your Dynasty Rookie Draft.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: Mid to Late 3rd Round

Eric Decker

College: Minnesota
Height - Weight: 6'3" 217 lbs
Player Comparison: Amani Toomer
Comments: Decker quite possibly has the best hands of any WR prospect in this years class - he is known for catching any football thrown within his vicinity.  Of his 345 targets at Minnesota he dropped only 3 balls.  He impresses in every game with unmatched toughness and an ability to punish defenders rather than get overpowered by them.  He is the all time reception and yardage leader in Minnesota Gopher history.  He has also been drafted to MLB twice.  He can likely find the field immediately with his experience running the NFL route tree and his physical style of play will further strengthen his rookie presence.  Decker is considered a high intelligence player that is respected in the locker room.  He will be utilized as a possession role player utilizing physicality rather than speed and elusiveness and will serve as a prototypical WR2 in the NFL.  This limits his overall upside however his aggressive style of play could serve him well as a red zone target.  Decker will be a reliable Dynasty prospect year after year however he will likely be the type of player nobody ever gets really excited about making him an excellent acquisition candidate in 2 seasons should he get scooped up in Dynasty Rookie Drafts earlier than he should be taken.  He will serve as a high end depth player and could grow into a solid weekly Flex options starter.  
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade:  Mid to Late 3rd Round Selection

Taylor Price

College: Ohio (3rd Year Junior)
Height - Weight: 6'0" 204 lbs
Player Comparison: Chad Ochocinco
Comments: Price was a standout receiver in the MAC on a run first Bobcats offensive scheme.  While his competition level was average at best, he managed to stand out at the Senior Bowl and also post solid workout numbers at the combine (4.41 40 and an explosive 37 inch vertical) among this draft classes elite.  His acceleration is one of his best attributes and he can surprise defenders who choose to provide him a cushion off the line.  Price will require some time to develop into a Dynasty starter, but his intangibles alone are enough for him to be considered an eventual weekly starter as a WR#2 or flex option.  There is a good chance he falls into the mid rounds of the NFL draft giving the discerning Dynasty owner an opportunity to steal him in the mid rounds of a rookie Draft.  A solid upside player with room much improvement.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: Solid Mid 3rd Round Grade and a steal in the 4rd Round

Marcus Easley

College: Connecticut
Height - Weight: 6'3" 210 lbs
Player Comparison: Miles Austin - long term high upside developmental player with similar size and skill set
Comments: Marcus Easley is a deep sleeper that deserves consideration as a top prospect at the WR position.  He is a very raw product that only came onto the scene as a one year starter at UCONN - he spent his first three seasons as a walk on special team player.  With a small body of on-field work, Easley definitely is a work in progress with an intriguing blend of athleticism and perseverance - it may take him some time to find the field.  He was a standout at the combine and his willingness to block may land him on an NFL roster in the mid to late rounds of the Draft.  If your Dynasty roster allows, Easley can be had in the late rounds of a Rookie Draft as a solid long term, high upside prospect. Patience will be required here.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: Late 3rd Round to Early 4th Round


Andre Roberts (Citadel) - In a tough Harry Douglas type mold, Roberts is a high character individual that is extremely efficient in tight spaces.  Excellent hands and elusive run after the catch skills should make him a mid round sleeper for a team looking for value in the mid to late rounds of rookie drafts.

Dezmon Briscoe (Kansas) - Briscoe is a big play prospect with a nose for the end zone however at the next level he will likely fill the mold of a Nate Washington.  49 of his 219 receptions went for over 20+ yards and his 31 TD receptions in 39 games are both solid collegiate numbers.  While he doesn't possess elite speed, he is a long strider that plays a faster game speed than his 40 time suggests.  The downside here is it takes him a while to get to top speed.

Blair White (Michigan State) - An endorsement by Gil Brandt stating White has the potential to be an immediate impact player in the NFL is enough for us to keep an eye on where he lands in this years NFL Draft.  He is a first team academic all american and has been accepted into the Detroit-Mercy School of Dentistry.

Jacoby Ford (Clemson) - He has been called a premier track athlete with phenomenal speed.  The problem is we are not sure if he can be an NFL WR.  His route running is average and his change of speed ability needs to be greatly improved if he wishes to utilize his speed (4.28 - 40 at the combine) at the next level.  The NFL loves speed, so he will get a chance.

Jordan Shipley (Texas)  - An extremely productive collegiate receiver that will find a role in the slot position at the next level.  Without exceptional speed or athleticism he will likely be an average talent, but could be a valuable PPR asset.  Entering the league as a 24 year old rookie further limits his Dynasty upside.  He has shown to perform in big games and he has excellent hands.

Mike Williams (Syracuse) - Quit the Syracuse team due to undisclosed reasons.  Also became academically ineligible after cheating on an exam.  This guy is a knucklehead that will get a shot very late in the Draft.  He has some upside, but only the truly elite knuckleheads can survive the NFL and a shot on our Dynasty roster.  His upside is worth a flier very late but temper expectations.

Riley Cooper (Florida) - Ideal size, speed and strength to be a legitimate threat in the NFL and in your Dynasty league. He has top notch athleticism and reliable hands. Cooper's stock is hurt by lack of experience, burst and route running skills. Many teams will also question whether he is fully committed to football after being drafted by the Rangers and playing minor league baseball last summer.

Armanti Edwards (Appalachian State) - Armanti's NFL position has not been decided yet. The obvious comparison here is to current Dolphin Wildcat player Pat White. Measuring just 5'11" and 185 lbs., he could struggle to make it as even a back-up QB in the NFL. An elite athletic specimen, he will get looks at QB, RB, WR and in the Wildcat. He is definitely a project and may never develop into even a FLEX fantasy starter, but he does have low risk upside as a late round rookie selection. 

Brandon (Scott) Long (Louisville)  - This years combine workout warrior.  Worth drafting very late due to athletic ability alone, but were not too excited here.


View our other 2010 NFL Draft Profiles - QB - RB - TE