I mentioned the other day the article from SI.com's Tony Pauline about how a few receivers that were thought to be ticketed for the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft may find themselves waiting longer than expected to hear their names called. . .and, in fact, might hear their names called by Gene Washington instead of Roger Goodell. I mentioned that Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin were locks for Round One of the draft, and forgot to mention Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey, who also appears to be slotted for the first round. Beyond that, it looks like there could be any number of pass catchers that fall to the second round, should the Vikings care to target any of them. Let's take a look at who some of those players are.
Percy Harvin, Florida - 5'11", 192 pounds
As I mentioned when I did my write-up on him back when he was my initial SBNation Mock Draft pick for the Beloved Purple, Harvin is a playmaker. Whether you line him up at running back or at wide receiver, good things happen whenever he gets the ball in his hands. However, he did suffer through a lot of injuries while he played for the Gators, and you have to wonder whether his overall abilities might take a hit from the cumulative effects of those injuries at some point. There's still a chance that Harvin could go in Round One, but the events of the past couple of weeks make him a bigger risk than he was around Combine time.
Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina - 6'1", 212 pounds
Nicks had a huge bowl game to end his Tarheel career, and has ridden that momentum up the draft charts. He's not terribly explosive and doesn't have the greatest deep speed, but he makes the tough catches and can make things happen after the catch. Didn't score terribly high on his Wonderlic test, for those of you that put stock in that sort of thing.
Kenny Britt, Rutgers - 6'3", 218 pounds
Britt is a tall, lanky wide receiver, but he's tough enough to work over the middle and has the ability to find holes in opposing defenses. He's also a pretty good blocker. On the downside, he doesn't have a lot of experience with press coverage, and has a reputation for not having the best hands in the world, and is in the same category as Nicks when it comes to not having a lot of top-end speed.
Brian Robiskie, Ohio State - 6'3", 209 pounds
Now here's a guy that's quietly moving up draft boards. His dad is Terry Robiskie, who's been an assistant coach in the NFL since just after the advent of the forward pass. At the risk of sounding like Vince from the ShamWow commercials, he's a coach's kid. . .you know that he knows how to work hard! He's also faster than you'd expect him to be, and runs pretty good routes. He might not have the ceiling of some of the other guys on this list, but I personally think there's less of a chance for him to be a bust, too.
Juaquin Iglesias, Oklahoma - 6'1", 204 pounds
Iglesias had many opportunities to showcase his skills in one of the most prolific offenses in college football history, and proved time and time again to have outstanding hands and good body control. He'll make the tough catches over the middle as well. However, he hasn't proven to be very physical and can get shoved around a bit, and doesn't have a lot of top-end speed, either. He does, however, have some added value as a returner.
Ramses Barden, Cal-Poly - 6'6", 227 pounds
This is the one guy in this category I'm really torn on. The upside is that, as you can see, the guy is huge, and has big hands. The downside is that he really didn't play against top-level competition at Cal-Poly, and could be too much of a project for a "win now" team like the Vikings to end up taking a chance on. As the old adage goes, however, you can't teach this sort of size, and if the Vikings think they can coach the kid up, I think his ceiling is unlimited.
There are plenty of other names that could be added to this list as well, such as Penn State's Derrick Williams, Georgia's Mohamed Massaquoi, and Florida's Louis Murphy. The bottom line is, however, that if the Vikings don't feel the need to jump on a receiver in Round One, there's plenty of high quality prospects to be had later on down the line. I think we'll see the Vikings take a wide receiver at some point, and I think we can start looking for it to happen after their first round selection is in the books.