Top 5 Wide Receivers In The 2015 NFL Draft

Amari Cooper

The 2015 NFL Draft is less than two months away. Already, the XN Sports NFL Mock Draft 1.0 has been released.

Over the next two weeks, we will be releasing the top five draft prospects at each position leading up to the second edition of the mock draft.

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Much like last year, there is a surplus of wide receiver talent in this year’s draft, including many that should come off the board in the first round and be difference-makers as early as Week 1.

Here are the top five wide receivers in the 2015 NFL draft:

1. Amari Cooper, Alabama

I predicted six wide receivers would come off the board in the first round of the XN Sports Mock Draft 1.0. Interestingly enough, I did not peg Cooper as the first wideout taken.

Cooper is the most NFL-ready in terms of route-running and the ability to get open in traffic. At 6-foot-1 he isn’t your typical No. 1 wide receiver, though, and he doesn’t boast outlandish speed either.

Still, Cooper has all the skills necessary to be a difference-maker in the NFL so long that his offensive coaches put him in the right position. We saw what he was capable of doing at ‘Bama; now imagine an NFL quarterback delivering those throws.

2. Kevin White, West Virginia

While Cooper may be the safest wide receiver pick in this year’s crop, White definitely boasts the highest upside of any prospect.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound specimen is looking the buck the trend set by other former Mountaineers wideouts who have not transitioned especially well in the professional ranks. White made tremendous strides from his 2013 JUCO season to last season in Morgantown, improving his ability to beat press coverage, run certain routes and simply catch the ball.

White’s basic physical gifts will have teams picking in the top five clamoring to land him. He immediately presents himself as a red-zone threat. With so much vertical speed, it would be difficult for the Raiders to let him slip by at No. 4.

3. DeVante Parker, Louisville

Teddy Bridgewater‘s former teammate at the Ville, Parker offers a tall frame and straight-line speed in that prototypical No. 1 receiver mold.

Parker is renowned for his consistent hands and body control, and like White will intrigue teams in need of a red-zone presence. Despite not much top-end speed, Parker still shows the ability for explosive plays down the field.

Though he’s still a tad raw, you can see Parker making an impact right off the bat. He could re-unite with his former college quarterback in Minnesota or perhaps be a replacement for Josh Gordon in Cleveland.

4. Jaelen Strong, Arizona State

Perhaps the most physically intriguing wide receiver of the draft class is Strong, whose name says it all. The 6-foot-3, 212-pound wideout has above-average size and strength, and stands out among his colleagues for his big-strike ability.

Strong does not boast much top-end speed, but makes up for it with his natural athleticism and catch radius. Essentially, he’s the type of receiver a quarterback can throw open, despite what the coverage suggests.

5. Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma

One player that’ll be interesting to watch on draft day is Green-Beckham. Far and away the most athletically gifted of perhaps any NFL prospect in this year’s draft class, DGB also carries some off-the-field baggage teams are and will have to be aware of.

The 6-foot-5 and nearly 240-pound wideout is a big-play machine. His size allows him to be mismatch in the red zone, as does his massive catch radius and ability to haul in passes in traffic.  He also has enough speed to get past most NFL cornerbacks, which has led some scouts to liken him to the great Calvin Johnson.

There’s no question DGB has all of the physical talents worthy of being a first-round selection. But do NFL teams want to take a chance on a player that could be susceptible to off-the-field problems?

DGB was suspended twice during his time at Missouri, both for marijuana-related incidents. Then he was kicked off the team last April after an alleged burglary and physical altercation with a female student.

What’s key for DGB is finding a home with an organization that can put him in a position to succeed. Gordon has character red flags coming out of Baylor and is now facing yet another league suspension. But Dez Bryant also had his share of off-the-field drama, and has matured tremendously since landing in Dallas.

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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.