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Flying Through the 2013 Draft Picks – Wide Receiver Edition

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In the table below I try to blow through my thoughts on the landing spots for the 2013 draft picks. I should note that I’m trying to update my thinking on the draft picks, although you’ll notice a good amount of me carrying my pre-draft biases into the analysis. I think another thing that’s worth noting is that in some cases I’ll need to go back through contract situations and see how soon the players on this list might get their opportunity. For instance, Chris Harper may eventually have an opportunity in SEA depending on contract situations there, while Aaron Mellette will probably get something of a shot right away. Stay tuned for more analysis, but these are my immediate thoughts:

Rnd Pick Player Tm College/Univ Article Links Comments
1 8 Tavon Austin STL West Virginia How I Ended Up the Highest on TavonTavon’s Low Profile DoppelgangersRevisiting Tavon’s ComparablesComapring Tavon to Dexter McCluster After I posted my thoughts on running backs yesterday, I actually had a moment of pause on the STL backfield as I realized that Tavon Austin is likely going to kill some of that value as STL tries to get Austin the ball. That’s more of an aside really. As far as Austin goes, I actually think the biggest impact that he’ll have is on Sam Bradford who I think now becomes the QB2 that ends up as a QB1. I just think it’s impossible for STL to add as many weapons as they did and then to somehow not throw the ball around. I’ll probably own Bradford quite a bit this year. It also seems plausible that Austin could have positive impact on Jared Cook’s value as NFL defenses will think that they have to account for Austin even though he’s likely to be light in the touchdown department.
1 27 DeAndre Hopkins HOU Clemson DeAndre the Giant We’ve been big supporters of Hopkins through draft season and I won’t say that this is the absolute best situation he could have landed in, but it’s not bad either. Ideally Hopkins would have gone to one of the teams that really needs a #1 receiver. It’s true that he won’t often see the other team’s #1 CB, but it’s also true that the Texans have historically been committed to running the ball. I still like Hopkins’ talent, but the opportunity side of the equation could be better. In any case, I don’t think you’re looking for immediate impact from Hopkins.
1 29 Cordarrelle Patterson MIN Tennessee Questioning Market Share as it Relates to Cordarrelle PattersonComparing Cordarrelle Patterson and Devin Hester This is where Hopkins could have gone that would have been better on the opportunity side. In a PPR league, I’m sure Patterson will be a beast. The Vikings will basically just do all of the stuff they were doing with Percy Harvin (the things that didn’t produce a lot of touchdowns) and they’ll do it with Patterson. When the Vikings hand out playbooks there will probably be 500 pages of wide receiver screens.
2 34 Justin Hunter TEN Tennessee Comparing Justin Hunter to Historical SEC Receivers Whoa! This was probably one of the biggest shocks in the draft for me. The Titans have a recovering Kenny Britt and they went out and signed a guy with similar upside and also potentially similar medical issues. Maybe the Titans are just ready to move on from Britt? I’m not sure, but this pick wasn’t probably the best case scenario for Britt or Hunter. I’m sure Buffalo would have liked to see Hunter fall to them just a half a dozen or so picks later and that would have been better for Hunter’s value as well.
2 41 Robert Woods BUF USC Robert Woods Comparables The Bills already have an undersized (but overperforming for his size) #1 receiver in Stevie Johnson. To add the very average (physically anyway) Woods to the mix is a headscratcher I think. Woods won’t be the #1 WR and he also probably won’t be in an offense that will create reliable points for the #2, so I’m probably not that high on Woods from either a talent or opportunity standpoint.
2 59 Aaron Dobson NWE Marshall Aaron Dobson, the Rorschach Test WR This is an interesting pick for NE. I think any time you bet against a NE skill position player you feel like you have a tiger by the tail. I remember saying last year that I wasn’t a fan of Brandon Lloyd at WR15 in re-draft leagues and I was terrified when I said it (I think I hedged that by saying that if he was WR25 in drafts, I would like him… so I wasn’t exactly right on either). But while I think there are some reasons for caution as it relates to Dobson, I’m also frankly terrified to bet against him.
3 74 Terrance Williams DAL Baylor Terrance Williams Comparables This was an odd pick for me because Dallas seems to have room for a developmental receiver, but instead they probably drafted one that is maxed out on his potential. Receivers typically have less room for improvement after they turn 24, which Woods will do this year. Obviously the pecking order in Dallas goes: Dez, Witten/Austin, then a mix of Williams and others.
3 76 Keenan Allen SDG California Keenan Allen and the Disappearing Pac-12 WR The Chargers now have Vincent Brown, who is recovering from an ankle injury, Keenan Allen, who was hobbled enough by his knee injury to run an awful 4.7 40, and Danario Alexander, whose knees are mostly made of duct tape and bailing twine at this point. Congratulations Philip Rivers and good luck with your bounce back year!
3 78 Marquise Goodwin BUF Texas Marquise Goodwin Comparables Do I think that Marquise Goodwin will have a long and productive career as an NFL receiver? No. Do I think that this pick might actually be a net plus for the Buffalo offense? Well maybe if we forget for a second that Buffalo used a 3rd round pick on a WR most likely to be a decoy in their offense… So, sort of? Buffalo hasn’t been able to stretch the field as long as they’ve had Ryan Fitzpatrick, so they made a few picks to correct that issue this year. I guess long term I’m actually somewhat optimistic. I also think it’s pretty important to stretch the field vertically if you have a QB that is going to run sometimes.
3 79 Markus Wheaton PIT Oregon St. The Best Red Zone Receivers of 2012 PIT continues their long tradition of picking up WRs in the 3rd round that are probably values and also probably won’t ever take their offense into the top 5 in the league. I’m sure in two years we’ll look back at Wheaton and go “Hey, look at what PIT did again with a 3rd round WR!” and I’m sure the PIT offense will still be bouncing around in the middle third of the league in points. But… Yards!!!! The Steelers keep drafting WRs like they want to run a NE offense, but they keep forgetting to add the Randy Moss/Gronkowski part of the recipe.
3 92 Stedman Bailey STL West Virginia Is Stedman Bailey a Bargain Waiting to Happen? I wonder what kind of odds you could get on Bailey producing more receiving touchdowns than teammates Tavon Austin over their first three years? Could you get 5-1? Would that be a good bet? Maybe not. Bailey has a lot of 2nd-tier options to compete with in STL. In any case, this was a pick that most of the RotoViz writers liked in real life and probably hated for fantasy. It just buries Bailey in a WR-corps that already has a bunch of young guys.
4 101 Ace Sanders JAX South Carolina The Jags have made some noise on incorporating analytics into their process through Shad Kahn’s son Tony Kahn. But this is a pick that analytics hates. Sanders isn’t big, isn’t fast (by any measure, let alone for his size) and had a yards/reception number that you would expect out of a player that isn’t big or fast. I guess I really hope that the Jags analytics people lost out to the football people on this one… actually I guess that probably isn’t any good either.
4 102 Josh Boyce NWE TCU The interesting thing about Boyce is that he’s probably a good example of the limits of adjusting 40 times for weight among WRs. Boyce is built more like a running back and that actually shows up in his red zone touchdown rates from college (they’re on the lower end for a good receiver). But I actually like this pick for NE. I don’t typically own very many Patriots because I’m never the highest on them, but Boyce is an interesting name and one that I’ll probably take a look at more in-depth in the next few days. The Patriots got substantially faster at WR this year, so it will be interesting to see how that ends up working out for them.
4 123 Chris Harper SEA Kansas St. The Seahawks desperately need a bigger receiver that can be red-zone relevant. Harper’s name is worth looking at in closer detail especially as it relates to the contract situations for Golden Tate and Sidney Rice. I don’t think you expect anything out of Harper this year, but I’m intrigued for the future.
4 128 Quinton Patton SFO Louisiana Tech Quinton Patton Comparables The only thing I will say about Patton is that he was a guy that was supposed to be better on tape than he was from an analytics standpoint. It was the game watchers that were hyping him. But falling to the 4th round means that the game watchers that actually work for NFL teams didn’t like him that much. So then what’s left to like really?
5 135 Denard Robinson JAX Michigan The Jags actually intend to use Robinson as a running back. He’s only on this list because Pro-Football-Reference classified him as a WR.
5 144 Kenny Stills NOR Oklahoma
5 161 Tavarres King DEN Georgia
6 171 Corey Fuller DET Virginia Tech
6 174 Ryan Swope ARI Texas A&M Ryan Swope vs. Da’Rick Rogers Boom! This is a pick that I can sell myself on (or that Matt Freedman can sell me on). The Cardinals have the kind of big outside receivers that I tend to like. But they also play in a division with a murderer’s row of cornerbacks. Enter Ryan Swope, Rob Housler and the check-down arm of Carson Palmer! I realize that Andre Roberts is still in ARI, but this is an interesting pick.
6 186 Justin Brown PIT Oklahoma
6 195 Alan Bonner HOU Jacksonville St.
6 197 Cobi Hamilton CIN Arkansas
7 209 Brice Butler OAK San Diego St.
7 216 Charles Johnson GNB Grand Valley St. Is Charles Johnson the Next Marques Colston? I’m not sure if we’ve spilled enough pixels talking about Johnson yet…
7 224 Kevin Dorsey GNB Maryland
7 236 Marquess Wilson CHI Washington St. Wilson has produced good Market Share numbers at times during his college career, so I’m bookmarking his name in my head to at least pay attention to. I wouldn’t expect anything out of him in the near future.
7 238 Aaron Mellette BAL Elon This is a pick that could actually mean something. BAL has a history of getting value out of their drafts and the departure of Anquan Boldin means that there is opportunity available. Mellette is 6-3 and ran a 4.45 at the Combine. He’s not as big/fast as Tommy Streeter, but he’s close. I tend not to get extremely excited about the small school prospects because of the amount of work involved in evaluating them and their low rates of payoff, but this is a different situation. Mellette got drafted into a huge vacuum in terms of talent. Things are wide open. Also, Ozzie Newsome is really smart.

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