Underrated Wide Receivers (Sleepers/Gems)

Jordan Matthews - Vanderbilt

By Nolan Kuzmick, Ourlads’ Draft Analyst

Jordan Matthews–Vanderbilt, Sr: Shows drive and effort in every route he runs. Plays well against press cover corners, can use his hands to create space and make the catch with busy arms all over him. Has top end speed combined with a big tall body that can make any catch at any distance. Shows well on WR screens on the outside to run the distance with his long strides, will go across the middle and catch the ball above his head and burn his way towards the endzone, goes deep down the sideline and has shown circus one-handed catches, as well as getting vertical and making the play in the end zone. Confident, aggressive, and hard working receiver that will continue to improve. Puts a lot of work into his blocking and frees up plays for his teammates. Made an instant impact at Vanderbilt as a rookie and broke many records, has relation to Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.

Projects as a 2nd round pick, worth a top 15 overall pick.

Cody Hoffman–BYU, Sr: Physical big receiver that goes up to catch the ball, will make the play in traffic and push for yards after contact. Has a full tool set with soft hands, proves reliable on third downs and can be your possession guy. Also has the ability to get vertical and make the big play.  Smooth in and out of his cuts with his routes, boxes out defenders with his body and plays physical throughout his route. Maintains the catch with defenders attempting to strip the ball, has a firm grip and strong hands.  Has shown his athleticism making tough catches that he adjusts to up in the air, has shown timing and ability for back shoulder catches.

Projects as 6th round choice, worthy of a 3rd round choice-my top steal at WR.

Kevin Norwood –Alabama, rSr: He’s not the biggest, fastest or strongest guy but is one of the most technically sound prospects and is a complete receiver. Runs great routes, finds holes in defenses, has sure hands, can make the big play, 3rd down possession receiver. Can go up and get it in the air and contort his body. What can’t he do? Always shows up and doesn’t give up on plays, finds an opening.

Projected 6th round, worth a  4th round pick.

Michael Campanaro–Wake Forest, rSr: Shifty WR that can change gears fast in and out of his cuts he explodes to create space between him and defenders and find holes in defenses. Very dangerous with the ball in his hands, an elusive runner that can avoid tackles and break ankles. Catches the ball away from his body, has performed catches at all levels, over his shoulder, back shoulder and shoe-string grabs. Really strong for his size, and has top end speed; a weapon that can break it for the TD on any given play. Has similar size and playing style to Wes Welker.

Projected as a 6th- 7th round player, worthy of a 4th round selection.

Cody Latimer- Indiana, Jr: Big physical wide receiver that catches with defenders draped over him. He is one of the best blocking receivers in this draft class; he frees fellow receivers on the WR screen to convert them into big plays. Has very solid hands, his QB often threw balls way over his head but it seemed like he positioned himself well.  Doesn’t create a lot of separation or adjust to the ball well and make catches in the air.

Projected 5th round, worth a late 3rd to 4th rounder.

Tracy Moore-Oklahoma State, rSr: Hard nose wide receiver that can run over defenders and has a powerful stiff-arm, often pushing men to the ground. Uses his hands to make the catch, and has fast hands to secure the ball in his arm pit and get up field right away recording a majority of his yards after the catch, breaking through contact and spinning to space. Finds open ground on slants across the middle, not afraid to take hits will run up the middle and get up with aggression after being laid out. Projected as a TE out of HS and plays like an undersized receiving TE on the outside, mismatch type guy.

Projected UFA, should be drafted in the 6th-7th round or picked up as a UFA.

Bennie Fowler- Michigan State, rSr: He is a reliable weapon that can catch the ball in traffic. Physical body receiver that can use his frame to assist him in making the play. Uses his strength as a blocker and puts forth a lot of effort in the run game. Gets behind defenders to be a big play receiver. He has improved at creating space between himself and defenders, but is not the burner type that finds himself wide open. Can contribute on special teams as a return man.

Projected UFA, worthy of a 7th round pick or sign as a UFA.

L’Damian Washington-Missouri, rSr: Does a nice job getting off the line, long strider that stretches the field, long WR that can go up and get the ball and gets feet in. Shows well as gunner on special teams. Could improve as a hands WR and being more direct and physical (bulking up would help) on the short slant routes.

Projected as 6-7th rounder, worth a 5th rounder.

Martavis Bryant-Clemson, Jr: Long strider can spread the field and draw coverage away from others. Beats defenders on the long ball can play the ball in the air and adjust to it and gets upfield in a hurry after the catch. Great hands receiver. Could bulk up a little but should do well at the next level. Reminds me of Justin Hunter (34th overall pick in 2013 NFL Draft).

Projected a 2nd-3rd round pick, shows a late 1st to 2nd round grade.

Eric Thomas–Troy, Sr: A bigger receiver that has shown good route running and hands. Plays with a natural flow for the game and when making the catching and moving around the field with possession. He is a big play type guy that was used often, getting the ball in his hands is ideal. He’s capable of going up and getting the ball and making plays on the sideline. Has a knack for getting open when plays fall apart.

Projected UFA , worthy of a late round pick or signing as a UFA.

Jeremy Gallon-Michigan, rSr: This guy is a playmaker, small guy but constantly getting open, and making plays after the catch, beating defenders, getting up in the air to get the ball and making catches in traffic. A go to receiver that is heavily involved in the offense. Could be a weapon used for specific packages, roles.

Projected 7th round, worth a 6th round shot if he fits into the scheme.

Austin Franklin-New Mexico State, rJr: A small school go-to guy that has high end speed and nice release. Used as the kick return man, lined up in wild cat for direct snaps and pitch man to get the ball in his hands. Runs smooth and makes big plays. Used in all sorts of ways, coaches wanted to find ways to get the ball in his hands. Will be interesting to see how he performs at a higher level.

Projected UFA ,  worthy of a 7th rounder or a good target to sign as a UFA and let him develop on the practice squad, providing depth at the receiver position.


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