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2012 NFL Rookie Profiles: Wide Receiver

A look at the 2012 Wideouts from a Dynasty Perspective

While there are no AJ Greens or Calvin Johnsons, the 2012 Wide Receiver Draft Class brings strength in numbers to the table. The talent is not without question marks across the board, but there is certainly enough depth and potential to fill up your pre-Rookie Draft cheatsheet. This year's class is led by Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd, who both possess Top 12 upside at the position. As the NFL gets more and more pass heavy, rookies and young WR's are pressed into duty earlier than ever before. This class could have a number of instant impact types, but just as many that might need a season or two to get up to speed. From Blackmon to Joe Adams, let's take a closer look at the top WR's for the upcoming draft.

 

Beast Potential - A cornerstone only reserved for the truly elite prospects. Example from 2011 - AJ Green
Starter Potential - Will never be elite but a long term, reliable starter is a high probability. Example - Greg Little
Raw Product - This player has tremendous upside, but also a huge amount of risk. If things break right, though, a Beast or definite starter could be had. Example - Jonathan Baldwin
Developmental Product - These players are extremely raw talents but possess the upside necessary to eventually grow into legit flex options and maybe someday weekly starters on your Dynasty roster. Example - Clyde Gates



Justin Blackmon

College: Oklahoma State (Junior)
Height-Weight: 6'1" 207 lbs.
Upside: Beast Potential
Player Comparison: Miles Austin
Comments: Blackmon is an instant impact type of prospect, a more physical version of Michael Crabtree with enough speed to keep defenses honest. After a pedestrian freshman season watching Dez Bryant dominate, Blackmon has turned in two years of video game numbers. in 2010 and 2011, he combined for 232 catches, 39 total TD's and over 3,300 receiving yards. Part of that is the pass-friendly system he was a part of, but do not discount his raw ability. He has excellent hands and even better ball skills that should help him transition into a contributer from Day one. He could stand to improve his route running and will need to overcome questions about his speed and explosiveness. Upside is Beastly, but he could very well top out as a solid WR2 for fantasy purposes. A true go-to type in the NFL with little bust potential.
Tools/Skillset:  There is no questioning his total package skillset, but what he lacks is the elite size and upside of AJ Green or Julio Jones. Still, he possesses a WR1 ceiling because of his overall game. 
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: Top 5 Selection

Michael Floyd

College: Notre Dame (Senior)
Height-Weight: 6'3" 220 lbs.
Upside: Beast Potential
Player Comparison: Marques Colston
Comments: Floyd has number one receiver size, speed and ability to be the best WR in the Draft class when all is said and done. He does have some injury and off the field issues, but his upside should outweigh that for just about every team interested. At Notre Dame, Floyd was a reliable redzone target and a true go-to receiver. He has been highly regarded as a prospect since he put up 48 catches, 719 yards and 7 TD's as a true freshman. He's shown steady growth throughout his collegiate career and might be close to tapping into his full potential. While not a game breaker, he flashed a solid 40 time and can make plays after the catch. Has the ability to flash major potential as a rookie. Could be a high volume PPR talent. 
Tools/Skillset:  Floyd is not far behind Blackmon and has a higher ceiling with Top 10 Dynasty WR potential. 
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: Top 7 Selection

Alshon Jeffery

College: South Carolina (Junior)
Height-Weight: 6'3" 216 lbs.
Upside: Beast Potential
Player Comparison: Dwayne Bowe
Comments: Jeffery is perhaps the draft's biggest enigma. On one hand, he has elite upside but on the other, he has a less than desirable work ethic and attitude. After a huge sophomore season that saw him grab 88 passes for over 1,500 yards and 9 TD's, he was regarded by some as the top draft-eligible WR. And then the question marks came to the surface regarding conditioning and desire. Now that he is preparing for the NFL Draft, it seems that Jeffery has attempted to right the ship and get himself in ideal shape. Does he have the drive to be great or will he fall out of shape and out of the league after a few seasons? If he can manage to stay out of real trouble and stay on top of his conditioning, Jeffery could be a huge value pick if he falls out of the first round. 
Tools/Skillset: Risky. Ceiling is top notch, ability to reach it highly in question. Needs to show that he can separate at the next level, but has immense physical gifts and ball skills. 
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: Late 1st Round/Early 2nd Round Selection

Kendall Wright

College: Baylor (Senior)
Height-Weight: 5'10" 190 lbs.
Upside: Starter Potential
Player Comparison: Steve Smith Carolina
Comments: Wright made a name for himself as Heisman winner Robert Griffin III's speedy, go-to receiver. He has been an instant impact player for the Bears since his freshman year, as he has seen his yardage and catch numbers rise each year. The huge jump came in his Senior year, catching 108 balls for 1,663 yards and 14 TD's from RGIII. His skillset and ability should allow him to make a smooth transition into the NFL game. He doesn't draw the Steve Smith comparison just because they are both under 6', he has similar toughness and deep ability. He's a solid route runner but there is room for improvement and refinement in that area. Has the speed to separate and make big plays after the catch. Will inject a true speed aspect into the offense of his NFL team.
Tools/Skillset: Unlike the three in front of him, Wright does not have a traditional elite receiver profile. Instead, he is more of a high upside WR2. Would flourish as a complimentary receiver to a true WR1.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 1st Round Selection

Stephen Hill

College: Georgia Tech (Junior)
Height-Weight: 6'4" 215 lbs.
Upside: Raw Product
Player Comparison: Malcolm Floyd
Comments: Workout warrior? Hill torched the Combine with a 4.36 40 and boosted his stock from Day 2 flier to probably 1st round monster, but he has the goods. Averaged over 29 yards per reception as a junior and declared for the Draft. Hill would benefit from adding muscle to his frame, just as long as it doesn't affect his speed, which is impressive for his size. Has elite ball control, solid hands and explosiveness. He is a great blocker and by all accounts has a strong work ethic. Needs to improve his route running after limited route tree at Georgia Tech. Malcolm Floyd represents a comparison to his current skillset, but the sky is the limit as a prospect.
Tools/Skillset: Raw and will need to develop, but Hill's game could be Beastly. Speed to burn with his size makes him a dangerous weapon...if he can develop. High risk, high reward. 
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 1st Round Selection

Rueben Randle

College: LSU (Junior)
Height-Weight: 6'4" 208 lbs.
Upside: Starter Potential
Player Comparison:  Steve Johnson
Comments: Randle brings an ideal size/strength combination into the 2012 Draft Class. While the top 5 are grabbing all the headlines, Randle has managed to fly somewhat under the radar. He is athletic, a willing blocker and above average route runner. While his collegiate numbers are underwhelming at best, that is no fault of his (see the LSU QB situation). There is a fair amount of projection in his frame and could be worth an early rookie pick in the right situation. Could find himself on the field often as a rookie, but will take another season or two for full potential to be maximized. There is risk that he does not develop into more than a bench fantasy option, but has starter potential. 
Tools/Skillset: A complete receiver, but one that lacks big play explosiveness, Randle could carve out a long, solid NFL career. Might not be a player you ride to a championship, but certainly a valuable fantasy asset. 
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 2nd Round Selection

Mohamed Sanu

College: Rutgers (Junior)
Height-Weight: 6'2" 215 lbs.
Upside: Starter Potential
Player Comparison:  Anquan Boldin
Comments: Sanu had a very solid career at Rutgers, where he was a three year starter. He was the focal point of their offense as a junior, showing the ability to break tackles and move the chains one catch at a time. He has the look of a go-to possession receiver that could fit in nicely alongside an explosive counterpart. He has enough speed for his size, but it's not his strong suit. He's got great hands and is a physical player with strength to overpower smaller defenders in traffic. He runs good routes and could step in as a rookie and help an established offense improve. Will need to address questions about separation in the NFL.  
Tools/Skillset: Gets a bump in PPR leagues, has enough athletic ability to be considered a potential Top 25 WR talent. Billed as a possession receiver, he could be a high volume WR2 in the right sitaution. 
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 2nd Round Selection

Brian Quick

College: Appalachian State (Senior)
Height-Weight: 6'5" 215 lbs.
Upside: Starter Potential
Player Comparison: Brandon Marshall
Comments: For a small school prospect, Quick has a skillset and size/speed combination that could make him an early contributer. While he did not truly dominate in college, he is App State's all time leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving TD's. He's a large target with a huge wingspan and vertical leap. Has large hands and a basketball background, fights for the ball in traffic. Needs to refine route running and adjust to the speed of the game, but the physical tools to succeed are there. Brandon Marshall comp would represent Quick's ceiling as a fantasy player, although he is even more of a boom or bust type than Marshall was coming out. As a small school prospect, it is often tougher to make evaluations because of the level of competition, which adds to Quick's risks. Ceiling and NFL build could ease those concerns however.
Tools/Skillset: Potential to be a fantasy starter and major contributor, but patience will be required. Beastly Size, strength and upside could cause him to be over drafted in rookie drafts, but after the 2nd round, he represents solid value. 
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: Late 2nd / Early 3rd Round Selection

Tommy Streeter

College: Miami (Junior)
Height-Weight: 6'5" 215 lbs.
Upside: Raw Product
Player Comparison: James Hardy
Comments: Streeter has imposing size and speed, but needs to add strength/mass without sacrificing quicks. With just 6 catches coming into 2011, Streeter flashed NFL ability with 46 catches for 811 yards and 8 TD's as a junior. His potential is tantalizing but needs to hone his game in order to reach it. With only one season of production, he is not without risks as a prospect. He's going to need ample time to develop and that is something NFL and Dynasty owners alike are going to need to account for. He could be worth the wait, as his combination of vertical ability and size are extremely uncommon. He has questionable hands at times and is at risk of being jammed at the line of scrimmage. 
Tools/Skillset: The 2nd round version of Stephen Hill, minus the current hype train. 
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: Late 2nd / Early 3rd Round Selection

Dwight Jones

College: North Carolina (Senior)
Height-Weight: 6'3" 230 lbs.
Upside: Raw Product
Player Comparison: Sidney Rice
Comments: Jones brings a NFL frame and skillset to the table, along with a fair amount of question marks. His physical gifts are aplenty, but suffers from lapses in concentration and shaky hands at times. He managed 85 catches for 1,196 yards and 12 TD's as a senior after showing a jump from his sophomore to junior seasons. Jones is tough to tackle in the open field and can make plays after the catch, but lacks elite playmaker speed. With his size and strength, though, that should not be an issue as he can overpower smaller defenders in traffic. Will need to work on intricacies of the receiver position and focus on getting better, not just getting by on natural talent. Offseason performances were not strong and have his stock low right now. He's probably best remembered at the Combine for cutting off a route and being given an earful by the coaches. Not exactly the splash he was hoping to make. 
Tools/Skillset: The tools are there for Jones to dominate at the next level, with continued development and proper work ethic. A fantasy prospect along the same lines as Alshon Jeffery, with similar upside and equally similar downside.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 3rd Round Selection

Marvin Jones

College: Cal (Senior)
Height-Weight: 6'2" 199 lbs.
Upside: Starter Potential
Player Comparison: Damian Williams
Comments: Jones brings elite ball skills and ideal size to the field, along with top notch hands and athletic ability. Career production at Cal is far from elite, with only 13 career TD's and never more than 846 receiving yards in a given season. Upside is somewhat limited, but has value as a safer selection in the middle of a rookie draft. He plays physical, should be able to earn a QB's trust in tough spots. Jones runs clean routes, has good hands and does a lot of little things well that could get him on the field faster than some more raw prospects. Landing spot will be very important here, as he needs a team whose offensive system and needs align with his abilities. Could get more out of his ability than many who are more physically gifted. 
Tools/Skillset: Has ability and upside to be a solid to above average contributor, both in the NFL and fantasy. Not an upside selection, Jones could be a reliable target and WR3/4 option in the right landing spot. 
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 3rd Round Selection

Nick Toon

College: Wisconsin (Senior)
Height-Weight: 6'2" 215 lbs.
Upside: Developmental Prospect
Player Comparison: James Jones
Comments:  Along with an NFL pedigree, Toon has ideal size and an NFL build. He has only slightly above average speed and profiles as a possession type at the next level. His collegiate career was inconsistent and unspectacular, but he did flash enough talent to be a Day 2 or early Day 3 selection. Toon managed to score 10 TD's as a senior, along with 64 catches for 926 yards as the Badgers go-to receiver. He runs solid routes and can be a physical presence in redzone situations. For fantasy purposes, it is going to be all about his landing spot. If he gets drafted into a situation where his ball skills and size will be taken advantage of, he could find fantasy success early on.
Tools/Skillset: Not a flashy prospect by any means, Toon could certainly blossom in the right situation. Lack of top line speed limits his playmaking upside, Toon has solid WR4/5 ability because of solid hands, footwork and size. Worth a selection in the middle rounds of your Dynasty Rookie Draft. 
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 3rd Round Selection

Ryan Broyles

College: Oklahoma (Senior)
Height-Weight: 5'10" 188 lbs.
Upside: Raw Prospect
Player Comparison: Wes Welker
Comments: Had it not been for a torn ACL in November 2011, you'd be hearing a lot more about Ryan Broyles. He had an ultra productive college career at Oklahoma, including 48 total TD's and an NCAA record 349 receptions. He does have an undersized frame, which leads to concerns with jamming and also injuries. He has excellent hands and the short area quickness to be a better version of Davone Bess in the NFL. Runs very clean routes, but lacks the top end speed of a true playmaker. Ultimate upside depends on situation and usage, but can certainly be a WR3 for fantasy purposes. 
Tools/Skillset: Ideal, mid-range receiving threat. Could be a PPR machine if he's fully healed from ACL tear and can take the NFL pounding. 
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 3rd Round Selection

Marvin McNutt

College: Iowa (Senior)
Height-Weight: 6'4" 215 lbs.
Upside: Raw Potential
Player Comparison:  A taller Hines Ward
Comments: Marvin McNutt has a great name and he certainly looks the part of NFL receiver. He was productive and reliable at Iowa, catching 28 TD's in the past three seasons. McNutt is a physical receiver that uses his strong build to his advantage in traffic. He's difficult to tackle and can pick up yards after the catch despite only average speed. He possesses great hands and route running ability. Excellent knowledge of the game from former QB turned WR. Does not have the explosion or athletic ability to be a true WR1, but could certainly carve out a significant role. 
Tools/Skillset: With ideal size and a nose for the endzone, McNutt could be a value pick on draft day. Keep an eye on where he lands later this month.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 3rd Round Selection

Juron Criner

College: Arizona (Senior)
Height-Weight: 6'4" 215 lbs.
Upside: Developmental Prospect
Player Comparison: Eric Decker
Comments:  Criner certainly passes the eye test with his height and frame. He had a solid Wildcat career that included 31 TD's in the past 3 years after one as a freshman. Needs to consistently play physical and use his strength to his advantage. Does not have more than slightly above average speed, but plays faster in pads. While not the specimen that Braylon Edwards was coming into the NFL, He has good hands and can be an intermediate and downfield target, but not a home run threat. Ideal for a west coast system, Criner is a willing blocker and has major jump ball ability. Desire and concentration has been questioned in the past, but if a team can extract the talent out of him and keep him focused, he could be a steal. 
Tools/Skillset: Solid bench and possibly FLEX starter type for fantasy, Criner could better use his athleticism and body to develop into more than that. He has raw upside, but not a true WR1/2 ceiling. Situation could make him intriguing. 
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: 3rd Round Selection

Late Round and Free Agent Pick-ups

Dale Moss
 (South Dakota State) is a small school prospect that is grabbing major attention this draft season. At 6'3" and 215 lbs. and with 4.4 speed, it's easy to see why. While he did not get a Combine invite, his workout numbers would have made him a top performer. He's a former basketball player that took the Jimmy Graham route and used his extra year of eligibility to play football. Things went pretty well considering he hadn't played since high school - 61 catches, 949 yards and 6 TD's. Like other small school prospects, level of competition has to be factored in, but Moss has major untapped potential. Remember the name.

Greg Childs
 (Arkansas) is showing NFL teams that he is healthy. After a 2010 torn patellar tendon, Childs had a down 2011 and was clearly not 100% healthy. When he is right, he has an aggressive playing style along with prototypical size. While not a burner, he has good agility and burst. He possesses quality hands, body control and route running ability. Major sleeper if he falls in your Dynasty Rookie Draft. 

TY Hilton (Florida International) has speed to burn. It's not just straight line speed, either, he is incredible burst and explosion off the line. At only 5'10" and 183 lbs., though, his ability to handle an NFL pounding is a major questionmark. He could help instantly as a returner and after a year or two of seasoning, see a larger role in the passing game. Be patient here.

A.J. Jenkins
 (Illinois) may not be on many Dynasty radars just yet, but that could be a good thing for you. He has speed to stretch the field and make plays deep in the secondary. Has to show more physicality in the NFL. Needs to carry over breakout senior season into the NFL, where he showed the consistency and hands to be a playmaker. Size is just solid, but athleticism and leaping ability are major pluses. 

Devon Wylie (Fresno State) could be a dangerous weapon in the NFL, but at 5'9" and only 187 lbs. there are obvious durability concerns. Looking past that, his game is fantasy friendly, especially in PPR leagues. Wylie has the speed to turn small gains into big ones. He has good hands, runs clean routes and could make for an ideal slot talent. 

Chris Givens
 (Wake Forest) - Givens was productive at Wake Forest last season with 83 catches, 9 TD's and 1,330 yards and that led to declaring for the draft as a junior. He could use more development time so he might not be an instant contributor. He profiles across the board as slightly above average. 

Jeff Fuller
 (Texas A&M) is a big bodied WR with a checkered college career. He's big and physical, making for an ideal mid-range target and potential fantasy starter. Speed is average and lapses in concentration, as well as injury concerns, have hurt his stock. As a late round flier, you could do worse. 

Jordan White (Western Michigan) racked up some serious numbers last season - 140 catches, almost 2,000 receiving yards and 17 TD's. He's more quick than fast, but has enough size to be a solid threat at the next level. Keep a close eye on where he lands, he has some deep Dynasty appeal. 

DeVier Posey (Ohio State) has not had the best senior year. After very promising sophomore and junior campaigns, Posey got suspended as a senior and missed just about all of the season. He did catch 12 passes for 162 yards and 2 TD's in the three games he actually played, but then was a non-factor at the Senior Bowl. He resuscitated his stock some at the Combine and has enough skills to be a Day 3 selection. If he puts it all together, he could be a nice value pick in your Dynasty draft.

Joe Adams (Arkansas) has a wiry frame and is under 6', but he does have good quickness and good after the catch ability. He's had a solid four year Razorback career and could bring a speed dynamic to a needy offense. Immediate contributions could be made on returns, but Adams has starting WR potential as well. 

Be sure to read the TE Rookie Profiles and check back for the QB and RB Profiles coming soon!