NFL Draft Report: Receiver Rankings

Mike Evans (Thomas Campbell - USA TODAY)

The top eight prospects and 13 of the top 15 in longtime head NFL scout Dave-Te' Thomas' rankings are underclassmen.

In a draft flooded with underclassmen, the wide receiver talent pool is practically overflowing.

The top eight receivers in longtime NFL scout Dave-Te' Thomas' rankings are underclassmen. His group is led by Clemson's Sammy Watkins and Texas A&M's Mike Evans.

Evans is the headliner on Thomas' "Dream Team" at receiver.

"There is only one Megatron, but Evans comes as close as any receiver in this draft can in matching (Calvin) Johnson's athletic ability," reads the official scouting report — available to non-subscribers — that is provided to teams for help in their scouting. "He is that rare-sized athlete with excellent timed speed, great leaping ability, long arms and good strength. He is a physical open field runner who knows how to use his hands to get a clean release vs. the jam. He pushes off the defender well to gain separation after the catch in man coverage and has the leg drive to break tackles. He uses his frame well to screen off defenders from the ball, but needs to do a better job of judging the ball when working in a crowd."

With the Packers having no proven depth beyond Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin, receiver could be a first-round target for general manager Ted Thompson. Three players of particular interest for the Packers because of their return value are Thomas' next three receivers: LSU's Odell Beckham Jr., Oregon State's Brandin Cooks and USC's Marqise Lee. Beckham won the Paul Hornung Award as the nation's most versatile player in 2013, Cooks won the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver in 2013 and Lee won the Biletnikoff as the nation's top receiver in 2012.

Thirteen of Thomas' 15 receivers are underclassmen. The two exceptions are Colorado's Paul Richardson, whose father played for the Packers, and Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews. Thomas' scouting report compared Matthews to Anquan Boldin.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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