2011 NFL Draft Rankings Wide Receivers
1. Jonathan Baldwin: Pittsburgh- Many people would put A.J. Green or Julio Jones at the top of this list but it was Baldwin who had the best numbers last season. In addition Baldwin is the biggest and strongest of the receivers and has great ability to go after the jump ball. I expect big things from Baldwin, and while I’m sure other receivers might get drafted ahead of him, Baldwin will likely be the best. He showed great strides in his sophomore campaign, and if he continues to develop this season he will find himself among the Top-10 picks this year.
2. A.J. Green: Georgia- Green is widely considered the best receiver in the class, and given his combination of height and speed it is easy to see why. He is a touch faster than Baldwin and Jones, and has almost as good of a vertical ability. His production dipped a bit without Matt Stafford, so he really needs to rebound this season. My biggest concern with Green is his slight frame, he doesn’t really have the strength to go over the middle in the NFL and won’t win as many of the physical battles at the next level. If he can add strength without sacrificing speed he could end up supplanting Baldwin atop the board. As it stands though I believe the NFL will value Green higher and if he has a very good season he could hear his name called first overall.
3. Michael Floyd: Notre Dame- Floyd has been quite impressive in his first two years in college, but this will be a big year for the Junior wide receiver. He loses both his quarterback (Jimmy Clausen) and his fellow wide out (Golden Tate). If he can match or even exceed his production without them, than that could say alot of just how good Floyd can be. He has a bit of an injury history, but he came back from it last year in a big way. He has very good height, speed and strength and profiles as no worse than an Anquan Boldin at the next level. I really believe he has the potential to be the 2nd best receiver in this class but I will hold off putting him above Green until I see how he does in the new system.
4. Julio Jones: Alabama- Jones still gets a lot of credit, but in reality he had a pretty bad year last season, and in fact regressed as a football player. Despite playing on an elite offense Jones was practically no where to be found. And the same can’t be said for the other elite receivers who distinguished themselves despite being surrounded by talent. Jones has the talent and the potential, but he needs to start showing it consistently on game day. If Jones rebounds and displays better hands and route running he will likely reenter the top 15-20 range.
5. Ryan Broyles: Oklahoma- Broyles has an advantage not usually found in receiver draft classes and that is his lack of size. Traditionally teams are always looking for the guys 6’2″ or bigger and have to sort through the numerous shorter wide outs to get them. This year though big receivers are all the rage and a guy like Broyles is the rare commodity. In addition to profiling as at least a slot receiver (if not a starter) Broyles also offers kickoff return abilities, and is a true home run threat. Broyles had a great sophomore campaign, which was all the more impressive considering Sam Bradford wasn’t really apart of it. He still needs to work on a few areas, but all-in-all he is a quality receiving prospect who will be in the top 50 picks.