2011 NFL Draft Preview – Wide Receiver Prospects
The 2011 NFL draft is set for Thursday April 28 through Saturday April 30. It will be held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City with the first round on Thursday night, the second and third rounds on Friday night, and rounds four through seven taking place on Saturday afternoon.
Earlier this year over 300 of the nation’s top college prospects participated in the annual Scouting Combines in effort to showcase their talents and ability for all 32 NFL teams. Since then, many of these players have continued to enhance their position through Pro Day and individual team workouts.
By this time, each team should be left with a fine-tuned list of all the top players at each position as they work to diligently map out their draft day strategy. The following is a look at the top players on that list at the wide receiver position.
A.J Green – Georgia
Green continues to be projected as the first wide receiver off the board in this year’s draft. Some experts have him going has high as fourth to Cincinnati, but at the very least he will be a top 10 pick. Green has great size at 6-foot-4 and 211 pounds and is known for his ability to catch the ball in traffic. The closest comparison has been to Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald. He is not known for blazing speed but turned in a respectable 4.48 time in the 40 at the Combine.
Julio Jones – Alabama
Jones stock began to first rise at the Scouting Combines after running a 4.39 40 with a broken bone in his foot. His 38.5 vertical jump and an 11-foot-3 broad jump also helped his case in making him the consensus No.2 receiver in the draft. Jones has prototypical size for the position at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds which is a major plus to go along with his speed. He could go as high as 10th to Washington and should be off the board in the first 20 picks.
Torrey Smith- Maryland
Smith’s 4.37 time in the 40 at the Combines was one of the fastest of all this year’s receivers. Overall size remains a concern at 6-foot-1 and 204 pounds, but the combination of speed and great hands should have him off the board in the first-round. Last season he caught 67 balls and averaged 15.7 yards a reception for the Terrapins, who were not known as an offensive juggernaut.
Jonathan Baldwin – Pittsburgh
Baldwin could be the best pure athlete at wide receiver in this year’s draft, but there are some lingering concerns about his attitude and work ethic. He has tremendous size and speed at 6-foot-4 and 228 pounds with a 4.45 time in the 40 to go along with great hands. Baldwin has shown he is not afraid to go over the middle as well as having the ability to block downfield. He will most likely slip into the early second round, and could be a steal if he ends up in the right situation.
Randall Cobb – Kentucky
Cobb is another undersized receiver at 5-foot-10 and 191 pounds but his strong suit in this draft is his overall versatility as a kick or punt returner. He has the ability to cut on a dime and has shown decent speed with a 4.45 40 at the Combine. The Bengals, Jets, and Panthers have all expressed interest and could jump up to take him in the later part of the second round, but he will most likely still be on the board early in the third.
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