2014 NFL Draft Position Preview: Wide Receiver

2014 NFL Draft, Sammy Watkins
2014 NFL Draft, Sammy Watkins
Clemson Tigers wide receiver Sammy Watkins Joshua S Kelly USA TODAY Sports

Teams in need of help at the wide receiver position are in luck this year, as the 2014 is chock full of talented prospects that should remain available even later in the draft than in years past.

Two wideouts — Clemson’s Sammy Watkins and USC’s Marqise Lee — are considered No. 1 and No. 1A in this year’s crop, and from then on out its a host of prospects bunched in that next tier. There’s a chance as many as eight of the top 10 wide receivers come off the in the first round, with Watkins and Lee almost sure to be drafted sometime within the first 15 picks.

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Watkins is the clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver after a decorated college career with the Tigers. The 6-foot-1 speedster projects to be a burner in the NFL, the kind of home-run threat that could break a game open. And for a lot of rebuilding teams — those picking in the top five-to-10 picks — Watkins could be a solid chip to rebuild their offense around.

Lee doesn’t have the height of a prototypical No. 1 wide receiver, but during his time with the Trojans he proved to be one of the nation’s most dynamic playmakers time and time again. The 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner, Lee could fall somewhere in the top 15 picks, perhaps even to a contender, and what a steal that would be. USC has a very inconsistent track record when it comes to producing wide receiver talent — from the likes of Steve Smith to Mike Williams, Dwayne Jarrett to Robert Woods — but there have been little doubts about the talents of Lee.

After Watkins and Lee, the “rest of the pack” begins with Mike Evans, who was Johnny Manziel‘s go-to target at Texas A&M. Evans makes it easy for quarterbacks to find him, as he has a knack for finding the ball then generating yards after the catch. Also in the mix are a pair of LSU standouts, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.  Landry is projected to be a fit in the slot, while Beckham has the elusiveness and over-the-top speed to provide a spark in both the deep passing game as well as on special teams.

XN Sports WR Rankings:

1. Sammy Watkins

2. Marqise Lee

3. Mike Evans

4. Kelvin Benjamin

5. Jarvis Landry

6. Brandin Cooks

7. Jordan Matthews

8. Odell Beckham Jr.

9. Davante Adams

10. Donte Moncrief

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Sam Spiegelman
Sam Spiegelman is a native New Yorker covering sports in New Orleans. He likes Game of Thrones way too much. Tweet him @samspiegs.