To belatedly continue my series on creating positional big boards, I decided to tackle wide receiver. The conclusion will end up producing around 30,000 words, so I've decided to split it up. Over the past ten days, I've looked up film, read scouting reports and compiled scheme-specific information for the Vikings in order to create a tiered ranking of the wide receivers eligible for the draft, 60 receivers included all told. We're starting with the bottom tier, and will move up to the top tier as the week goes on.
A brief explanation of the system I'm using to determine wide receivers before we get into the meat. Just like my inside linebacker big board, this is not a general ranking of receivers, which will become more obvious as we approach the top tiers.
This has been one of the most difficult pieces I've had to write in a while, not because of end-length (you know how I do love to go on) but because it's easy to justify or rationalize changing a receiver's rankings up to five spots. This class of receivers truly is difficult to distinguish. This is difficult to emphasize enough, so I implemented a tiering system that might better illustrate my points.
Here, the receivers are ranked by two things: 1) the ability to fit into the Vikings offense run by Bill Musgrave and managed by Christian Ponder and 2) qualities that the Vikings are missing on their roster. When those two traits conflicted, I chose the one that could best help Ponder succeed within the philosophy of the offense.
So, while the Vikings have been striving to grab a deep threat that can stretch the field at the split end spot, it's actually much more important to find receivers that can ensure the ball finds itself in the hands of Vikings instead of the opposition.
For that, the most important qualities won't be deep speed, but the ability to create large passing windows for Ponder, generating separation and maintaining possession. Receivers that operate well in a timing-oriented offense are critical because the Vikings value receptions more than a chance at big-play potential-gaining first-downs is critically important in a ball management offense.
Stretching out the defense horizontally creates more running room for Adrian Peterson, and there's a good reason that it does better for the running game than stretching a defense out downfield: it creates more difficult pursuit and tackling angles for the defense and is generally much harder to adapt to than downfield passing threats (rolling a safety over doesn't help against a receiver who masters timing and route-running, but it does against a speedy receiver).
There's some statistical support behind this approach. Big plays don't correlate nearly as well to wins as simply being successful on a passing down. In fact, at the Colts' SB Nation site—Stampede Blue—they ran a number of statistics and found that general drive success rate (the ability to get first downs) was the single best determinant of winning teams.
That doesn't mean that the Vikings don't need players who will be open deep, but that deep passing will be part of the playbook dealing with "constraint" plays and not part of the base offense. Chris Brown of Smart Football describes the constraint theory of offense, which Bill Walsh was a big advocate of:
The idea is that you have certain plays that always work on the whiteboard against the defense you hope to see - the pass play that always works against Cover 3, the run play that works against the 4-3 under with out the linebackers cheating inside. Yes, it is what works on paper. But we don't live in a perfect world: the "constraint" plays are designed to make sure you live in one that is as close as possible to the world you want, the world on the whiteboard.
Constraint plays thus work on defenders who cheat. For example, the safety might get tired of watching you break big runs up the middle, so he begins to cheat up. Now you call play-action and make him pay for his impatience. The outside linebackers cheat in for the same reason; to stop the run. Now you throw the bubble screen, run the bootleg passes to the flat, and make them pay for their impatience. Now the defensive ends begin rushing hard upfield; you trap, draw, and screen them to make them pay for getting out of position. If that defensive end played honest your tackle could block him; if he flies upfield he cannot. Constraint plays make them get back to basics. Once they get back to playing honest football, you go back to the whiteboard and beat them with your bread and butter.
. . .
If you're a great run team, you need constraints that attack safeties and linebackers who all cheat by formation and post-snap effort to stop your run game. You must have the counters, the screens, the bootlegs, and the quick passes, which work best when the defense gives you the structure. All this comports well with a game theory approach to football. Indeed, these constraint plays are most important against the best teams because those teams put the biggest premium on taking away what you hang your hat on.
The upshot is that a good offense must: (a) find those one or two things on which it will hang its hat on to beat any "honest" defense - think of core pass plays, options, and so on, but also (b) get good at all those little "constraint" plays which keep the defense playing honest.
It is important to create plays vertically and horizontally to exploit this—run plays against a base defense until they start adjusting, then punish those adjustments. That means it isn't bad to have deep threats, but that someone who can operate the base offense is simply more valuable. Having receivers who can do more on more plays is just better.
The Vikings have a split end and a flanker in the base formation (as well as a tight end, a fullback and a halfback), and generally have players better suited to the flanker position—so finding a split end is critical. That requires a number of qualities that make them different from flankers. Split ends will have to release off the line in order to maintain timing and can't get jammed too easily. Because he's lined up further outside, he'll also generally be the receiver with more range—lengthy arms and height are good.
The split end will also be the player generally asked to operate the "constraint plays," which will generally be screens to stretch the defense horizontally and deep routes to stretch it vertically, so speed is good. Like I said above, however, it's not a controlling factor. Getting open and providing opportunities to move the ball are more critical parts of the offense.
Beyond that, the Vikings need receivers specifically to emphasize Ponder's strength and hide his weaknesses. That means receivers who can capitalize on extended plays by finding open spaces, receivers who know how to hit their breaks with correct timing and secure the ball in traffic to take advantage of what Ponder can do.
To cover his weaknesses, the best fits at receiver will have a wide catch radius to compensate for poor ball placement and a good ability to generate yards after the catch in order to consistently move the chains.
One could argue that the short, possession-style receiving game is a product of Ponder's arm strength or simply not having receiver talent, but Musgrave used similar playbooks with the Jaguars and Panthers in his tenures with both of those franchises. Those teams had Muhsin Muhammad, Jimmy Smith (perhaps the most underrated receiver in history) and Donald Hayes. It's wasn't just a question of receiver or quarterback (he had Byron Leftwich, Steve Beuerlein and David Garrard) ability—Musgrave simply likes to run shorter routes. If you don't believe that, Wobschall says the same.
Finally, evaluating Christian Ponder is a top priority. If the receiver is not ready to contribute right away, then there's not much they can do to help the front office evaluate Christian Ponder. It will be difficult to find a receiver who can do that. In the past ten years, the top 64 picks have produced 14 receivers who have had over 800 yards from scrimmage in their rookie year (out of 79 who played in games). Of those, only four chosen between pick 23 and 52 produced 800 yards (out of 36 who played games). This doesn't include those who haven't made an impact in games, like A.J. Jenkins.
So, finding one who can adapt to the NFL game immediately is a priority. I cannot emphasize the rarity of this trait and the importance of this point. You can find potential in any draft—since 1999, there has been at least one receiver who has recorded a 40-time of 4.35 or less and there is talk every year of raw "upside". Naturally, this board changes in big ways if the principles of immediate fit and instant impact are removed.
And of course, willing blockers are welcome.
This is, as the title so aptly indicates, the eleventh tier of the 62 receivers I decided to include. Like all of the tiers, each receiver in this tier had at least one game analyzed by me, with followup observations confirmed by scouting reports I read from Matt Waldman's Rookie Scouting Report, NEPatriotsDraft, Rob Rang at CBS, and the National Football Post. Naturally, these receivers had less opportunity than the others to get that attention, because I was more concerned with ranking the top receivers correctly.
The eleventh tier consists of camp bodies. These are people brought in to provide competition and scrimmage capability who have an outside shot at making special teams. As a general rule, most tiers do not have a defining characteristic, but if forced, I would say that most of this tier consists of players who have subjective talent but little on-field production, with some exceptions. Most of these players also lack athleticism but have basic fundamentals. The tenth tier seems to be largely the opposite, incidentally.
56. Rashad Ross
57. Taylor Stockemer
58. Reggie Dunn
59. Lanear Sampson
60. Ace Sanders
61. Justin Brown
62. La'Rod King
63. Drew Terrell
There should be one familiar name on that list already, Ace Sanders—he of the highlight returns. We'll get to that momentarily.
With each receiver, I'll list school, height, weight, projected round and my derived prospect athleticism score, which is different than my production score. The athleticism score determines how likely it is that a receiver has the baseline talent to get on the field and earn snaps, while my production score lists the likelihood that they will produce when on the field. The second is only applied after the first has been achieved, so I have not included the production score.
56. Rashad Ross—Arizona State, 6'0" 167 pounds (Projected Round: FA, Athleticism Score: 3.2)
Rashad Ross was a highly coveted Juco prospect that was heavily recruited by mid-tier teams hoping to crack the BCS rankings, including Auburn, Oregon State and Mississippi. He ultimately chose Arizona State, and was stymied by the Sun Devils' spread-the-ball offense and its depth. Taylor Kelly at QB had perhaps an underrated year (2nd highest NCAA rating in the PAC-12, second-highest completion percentage, highest yards per attempt and third-most TDs) but was not shy about giving the ball to any receiver on the field.
The hybrid pistol/I-formation offense they ran was designed around the running backs and give Kelly some running room as well. but Ross does have talent. As an interesting note, Nevada had offered QB Kelly a scholarship to play in their pistol offense before ASU snapped him up.
The receiving depth could easily be overstated, as ASU more likely had receivers who didn't stand out. Certainly the running backs—Marion Grice and D.J. Foster—carried the load while tight end Chris Coyle was the primary receiving option in the offense. Nevertheless, Ross was the best receiver on the corps, with the most receiving yards of any wide receiver on the roster. Unfortunately, that's only 610 yards (but 6 touchdowns).
Ross would likely play a role as a backup split end on the offense, despite his height and abysmal weight. He has deep-threat capability (4.36 40-yard dash) and releases well, even against jams. This is more due to technique than power, however, as he doesn't really have the build to bear down on physical corners. Ross knows how to burst off the line, but doesn't have the capability to thread that explosiveness in his moves elsewhere on the field.
As a route-runner, he's limited to some fairly specific routes at intermediate depth, and has shown the capability to learn and integrate important advanced deception techniques, but doesn't have a polished array of moves to consistently fake out defensive backs. He cuts cleanly out of those intermediate routes and can gain separation, but has also been a bit lazy at other route depths, particularly in his breaks out of short routes. He won't flash deep separation until later into his career, but should get a cap invite based on his 40 time.
Surprising for his size, he's an effective blocker who shows surprising technique and play recognition against bigger defensive backs. He seems to understand the importance of leverage and can pop a cornerback every so often. This isn't a consistent effort, but he has the technical skills. At times, he'll be lazy enough not to lock down a defender and they'll gain a step in the run game.
The biggest problems for Ross involve the process of the catch. He's a body catcher that sometimes attempts to extend and use his hands early in games. Without the muscle memory developed to catch with his fingertips, he moves back into old habits and is much more comfortable trapping the ball against his pads. With an already worrisome trouble with drops, he could lose the ball after contact as well.
Of course, it's his size and power that keeps him out of the draft more than his drops. It's a very bad weight to play with and he'll get abused. Ross won't get timing on his routes and he might get killed. Give him time and he has the frame to move up to a reasonable size, although it will likely mostly be in the upper body.
57. Taylor Stockemer—Arkansas State, 6'5" 215 pounds (Projected Round: FA, Athleticism Score: 4.9)
Taylor Stockemer has been the unfortunate victim of five coaching changes in four years. This might be the first piece of context to put his abysmal 2012 statistics (3 touchdowns on 31 receptions for 483 yards) and a reasonable explanation for the downturn his performance took from 2011 (7 touchdowns, 48 receptions, 756 yards).
A better explanation is that he was injured for half the season.
Slated to be the primary target in Arkansas State's generally run-heavy offense, redshirt freshman receiver J.D. McKissic instead took the load. Still, Arkansas State didn't explode offensively until Stockemer came back. They improved by a touchdown per game and finished on an eight-game winning streak (including a victory over Louisiana-Monroe and 25th-ranked Kent State). Gus Malzahn was adamant about calling Stockemer their biggest weapon, despite an array of weapons for their no-huddle offense.
Quickly, it's important to point out that Gus Malzahn ran a spread offense that was run differently from the more recognizable spread offenses run by Mike Leach, Urban Meyer or Rich Rodriguez. While Leach is willing to dazzle with complicated passing combinations that rely on flooding zones or punishing pattern reads, Malzahn's offenses were fundamentally simple. Meyer and Rodriquez loved to build on a strong and complicated running game, while Malzahn would stick with basic zone concepts executed at an extraordinary pace (not too different from Meyer's zone running game, but with fewer complications).
The reason this is important is because Malzahn asks receivers to run the type of routes that the Vikings need their receivers to run. Vertical stems at intermediate ranges instead of more passes to the flats. Specifically, dig/in-routes, curls, seams and the smash concept. More important to the offense is the tempo, but here we need to look at what receivers were asked to do.
Stockemer has the height and range to provide a reasonably large catch radius and has experience running the routes that Musgrave likes. Unfortunately, he doesn't have much experience running many other routes, so he would initially be quite limited. Even knowing that, he seems somewhat limited in his opportunities to run comeback routes, curbing his value. Still, he seemed to run them well.
Within those routes, he works well for timing-oriented offenses. He also has the tendency to drop passes, which means he would have to put in more work before becoming a serious contributor to the Vikings. Added to that are his difficulties against press coverage despite his power. While he clearly has the drive and strength to break tackles and gain yards against the catch, he lacks the elusiveness and technique that would make him an ideal split end. Certainly his height and athleticism scream upside, but he's obviously too raw to contribute right away.
58. Reggie Dunn—Utah, 5'10" 172 pounds, (Projected Round: 7-FA, Athleticism Score: 6.2)
Reggie Dunn is primarily a returner, one who might be better than Ace Sanders. At Utah, Brian Johnson ran a spread offense, overseen and heavily influenced by head coach Dennis Erickson. Johnson was the youngest offensive coordinator in the FBS, and it seems like Erickson was none too proud of his protege, as he announced that he would take over OC duties at Utah this next year.
Often called the "one-back" spread, it's been called a bit of a throwback in college football. Utah didn't quite run the version that became mildly popular in the 1980s, but simplified pass concepts in order to maximize the running game has been the core concept. In fact, it's so simplified, that Utah didn't even run stretch runs outside to spread the defense horizontally. Instead, passes to the outside consisting of screens, outside comebacks, snags, etc were used. All of these are used fairly often in the Vikings offense, although the final punch of a deep shot to spread defenses vertically didn't really happen with Musgrave's offense.
Dunn was often used to help create these pressures on the outside, although he largely played in the slot and was asked to snag inside or curl out instead of playing outside on a corner route. This limits his experience with routes and means he has a lot more to learn to be an effective NFL receiver.
Even with that, however, he's shown significant ability in route-running, as he consistently hits his landmarks and shows excellent field awareness—both knowing where the sideline is or where soft spots in zones are. He consistently breaks to the ball and works himself back to the quarterback and works with well with a quick ball and a small amount of time to make decisions.
With the ball in the air, he's been a bit brilliant: he has excellent in-air adjustments, and makes catches in tight windows, even against tough contact. There's a worry it won't translate in the NFL, however, as he's a bit of a body catcher and doesn't make difficult catches, particularly with his back to the line of scrimmage.
Dunn is also an excellent returner. He led the FBS in return average (51.3 on 10 returns) and TD returns (4), but there's a reason he wasn't given a lot of returns, although I don't know what it is yet.
At the end of the day, he's an extremely athletic slot receiver and returner with great vision, but he needs to develop more before he can contribute in any meaningful way.
59. Lanear Sampson—Baylor, 5'11" 204 pounds (Projected Round: FA, Athleticism Score: 4.1)
Baylor's offense is now somewhat familiar to NFL fans given how Washington has adopted big parts of it to run their offense with Robert Griffin III making presnap decision on packaged play concepts that could include either a run or a pass. These end up executed like a short play-action that in some ways replaces the run game and relies on yards after the catch, particularly for slot receivers like Sampson.
These routes include screens, sticks and routes that generally break inside. On other plays, Baylor's offense doesn't run much differently than a normal NFL offense, but Sampson's had a bit more experience inside than outside. That doesn't mean he hasn't played outside and found ways to contribute. He's caught a pass in every game he's started at Baylor, which speaks to his ability to get open on a variety of routes and move the chains.
Sampson can be a deep threat, given his incredible speed. He actually timed slower at the Combine than many expected at 4.4. That best underscores how quick he looks on the field and he'll find ways to get behind defensive backs. At his pro day, he ran a 4.38 40, although that shouldn't really change anyone's evaluation.
The Baylor Bear has been great in a lot of fundamental ways for a receiver, learning technical skills that are difficult to teach. He's been good catching against tight coverage or in difficult situations. He tends to win 50/50 balls despite his stature and vertical leap (33.5"). With a surprising catch radius for someone of his measureables, he has higher upside than you think, but it's not likely he'll be a game-changer.
He wouldn't be a split end prospect in the offense given his weaknesses to man coverage or press defenses. With limited acceleration (but again, high top-end speed), he also has limits at flanker. He probably would develop into a phenomenal 4th or 5th receiver, but with a limited upside profile, won't get drafted.
60. Ace Sanders—South Carolina, 5'7" 173 pounds, (Projected Round: 5-6, Athleticism Score: 2.4)
Ace Sanders is best known for—and perhaps he's only known for—an electric return against Missouri that earned him a brief national spotlight. As a punt returner, he has been great. He ranks 8th in the FBS in punt return average and has two punt return touchdowns on the year. As a receiver for South Carolina, he has 513 yards, but also 9 touchdowns. Many of those touchdowns came on short screens or slants, so nothing particularly interesting for a team that already has shifty YAC guys. Sanders is notoriously hard to tackle, however, and to underrate his play as a screen receiver would be dangerous.
Nevertheless, that seems to be his only option, as even slot routes would be a challenge for a player of Sanders' build. Even the notoriously short Darren Sproles weighed 20 more pounds and ran more of his pass routes from the backfield than in the slot.
As a receiver, Sanders has some great technical capability. He has good pad level and technique against press coverage—surprising for a 173-pound flyweight—sets up defenders in his routes and catches well with his hands instead of his body. But he has a shockingly low athleticism score, brought on by his height and weight, and won't find himself open often when in the field. Much of this is because his short-area quickness is sometimes phenomenal (6.81 3-cone score), but his long speed is disappointing at best (4.53 40-time). He doesn't have the burst that he may appear to have on film (1.58 10-yard split, worse than average for all receivers eligible for the draft and a 4.53 shuttle time, one of the slowest in the class) and won't catch up to deep balls despite being open.
Many of his receptions come from screen passes or inside slants the cornerback gave up in order to funnel the receiver inside. He doesn't have much experience with comeback routes and isn't well-known for attacking the ball, either.
Nevertheless, he's extremely fluid and well put together as a runner, and he can really execute the most exciting moves with vision and grace—some of the best vision you will see in this wide receiver class. But coupled with his danger in space is a very poor ability to adjust to the ball in the air or hold on to it after contact. He also does not maintain timing with routes.
Punt returning is also an overrated ability, particularly compared to kick returning (which people will regard as largely equal). But the best punt-returner in post-merger history, Leodis McKelvin still only averaged 45 percent more yards more than the league average in his best year. Percy Harvin, the best kick returner in post-merger history (trust me, it's not very close) averaged 72 percent more yards than average. There is relatively little variance among punt returners, and it's a skill that teams can more easily get away with not being elite in.
Further, the ability to return a kickoff 15 more yards than average field position adds more than a point per kickoff. Elite punt returners add less than half a point compared to their counterparts.
Sanders is going to get abused running normal NFL routes and his punt returning is a nice cherry on the cake for teams. He is not even a priority undrafted free agent target for a team with a better-than-average punt returner and redundancies at slot receiver—his best position, if he has a traditional receiving position at all.
61. Justin Brown—Oklahoma, 6'3" 207 pounds, (Projected Round: FA, Athleticism Score: 3.1)
Justin Brown was one of the many players who decided to transfer out of Penn State after the debacle, and ended up on a promising Oklahoma squad. Despite a poor offense, Brown still ended up with 73 receptions for 879 yards.
Brown fits the mold of a split end, tall and somewhat fast, who excels running in a straight line more than quickness. He has most of the skills he needs in route-running, but does not consistently display a few of them. He almost always hits his route marker and makes crisp routes, but is equally likely to forget to sink his hips at the break and create burst to consistently get separation.
As the year progressed, Brown improved in his ability to tell a story to defensive backs in order to deceive them. This is an underdiscussed and extremely important ability. In many ways, defensive backs have to become on-field psychologists, reading body language in order to predict how receivers will act. As such, receivers who provide false information with their body language—an incredibly difficult skill to develop—are highly valued. Improvement in this ability is encouraging and makes it likely that he's very coachable.
He's a hands-catcher that can beat press coverage, but has been inconsistent in his ability to beat out tight coverage, sometimes looking excellent by using a combination of positioning and vision. At other times, he falls victim to tight coverage because he won't extend his arms enough to create a good passing window for the quarterback. His body control is still fairly good and he does well enough to gain separation against press coverage, although his technique is very sloppy. It won't translate in the NFL, even knowing that he plays with strength.
That strength is the core of his YAC ability, as he's not extraordinarily elusive. He has a powerful stiff arm and knows how to keep driving through tackles. More, he's improved at lowering himself against contact and creating more force.
Nevertheless, without agility and explosion, Brown doesn't have much use as a receiver other than a player who can develop as a strong backup.
62. La'Rod King—Kentucky, 6'4" 222 pounds, (Projected Round: FA, Athleticism Score: -0.7)
King has been perhaps the best player for low-ranked Kentucky offense. By that, I mean he was their leading receiver with 488 total yards.
Obviously, Kentucky's offense was not conducive to high-yardage passing and that restricted King's opportunities to shine. On the other hand, if King was a capable enough receiver, it is likely Kentucky would have modified the offense to manufacture touches for King.
King's prowess is almost entirely mental—he reads defenses well and sits in the weak spots of zone coverages. He works back to the quarterback and attacks the ball in the air, and can box out opposing defensive backs well (but inconsistently). Understanding the geometry of the game is critical in the modern NFL and a way that receivers can consistently create space for the quarterback to provide the ball.
La'Rod King isn't big but he's slow.
Extremely thin and relatively weak for his height, King doesn't have the ability to push defensive backs around. His technical capability at releasing against jams is fine, but his ability to punch out with his hands is limited. As expected, his YAC relies more on elusiveness than the ability to drive through tackles, but he doesn't really get a lot out of after-catch yards.
As a hands-catcher, he's accomplished, but he drops the ball on occasion against contact. Knowing that he can extend his arms and catch the ball in tight coverage is good, but he doesn't make a lot of difficult catches and his catch radius is far lower than his height and armspan would imply. He also is a little slow getting his hands up in time to secure the catch.
Without explosiveness at the cuts, a poor athletic showing at his pro day and problems finding separation against college players, it would be hard to build a case for King as a true target, although his technical capability would serve him well on the practice squad as he attempts to bulk up and get faster at the same time.
63. Drew Terrell—Stanford, 5'9" 179 pounds (Projected Round: 7-FA, Athleticism Score: 2.5*)
Drew Terrell is another prospect who finds himself with what seems to be amazing speed, excellent measureables, a solid return game and very little production. In Stanford's Pro-style offense, Terrell had every opportunity to succeed in the slot routes he was given, and didn't do much, even when Andrew Luck was throwing the ball (81 yards his junior year and 463 yards his senior year).
As a returner, he has some potential, and ranks somewhat (but not impressively) highly in punt return average (12.1 yards). That's not quite fair, though, as it seems like his worse punt returns were really more a product of bad special teams than they were a deficiency in his ability. He has quite the highlight reel of punt returns.
Unfortunately, Terrell's pro day numbers do not provide any indication of above-average agility or speed. A reported 4..7 40-yard dash, with a 20-yard shuttle time of 4.33 would rank him last and 41st among draft-eligible receivers. This is almost certainly wrong, and it should be safe to dismiss these numbers simply by throwing on a highlight reel.
People are in love with Terrell's with game-breaking agility, but he didn't seem a step ahead of the faster college defenses he was up against, putting almost all of his highlights up in games against smaller schools. Nevertheless, it's clear he has agility and punt return prowess, giving him value int he NFL as a potential free agent.
As a receiver who could only play in the slot if on the field at all, he doesn't hold a lot of value. Nevertheless, he's a smart route runner who knows how to use his agility to create some separation. He gets appropriate depth on his route, works back to the quarterback, exhibits sideline awareness and knows where to find the soft holes in zone coverages. He also possesses a great ability to adjust to the ball in the air and react quickly to poor ball placement and gets his hands up in time.
Unfortunately, he doesn't have the greatest record with drops, and doesn't have enough technique to consistently generate separation. As a slot player, he wouldn't have to worry as much about press coverage, but it's still a massive worry given his poor handwork and small frame.
More important is that Terrell doesn't seem to have a natural talent for positioning himself in a prime position to attack the football, partially because of his spatial awareness and partially because he signals his routes by dipping too far into his break. He's got good vision, but not a lot of power to execute that vision as he can't break tackles with strength.
Ultimately, Terrell would be a marginal target for the Vikings who possesses similar return ability to player already on the roster and no significant upgrade elsewhere. There's a very small chance he produces as a fifth-string receiver on a weak corps. Nevertheless he has the physical capability and intuition to exceed other return specialists as an NFL contributor. He certainly would be a much better fit for teams needing a slot receiver or missing a punt returner, like Oakland or St. Louis.
I did not include some players, as I think they could either be better served at a different position (Mike Shanahan, Pittsburgh 6'5" 225 pounds—tight end or Russell Shepard LSU 6'1" 194 pounds—defensive back) or do not warrant consideration (Kevin Dorsey, Chuck Jacobs, Alan Bonner, Skye Dawson, etc).
The other tiers of this big board will be released sporadically over the course of the next week while I begin work evaluating cornerbacks. I know I started small, but it's fun to build up. What do you think?