Keenan Allen WR California #21
Size/Athleticism: Above average height for the position, but plays smaller. A little on the skinny side, but appears to have the frame to add 5-10 pounds without losing speed. Can be a dangerous runner after the catch. Has the speed and athleticism to make guys miss. Not a physical runner though, he’ll avoid contact and won’t take on any defensive backs in an effort to pick up the extra yards. Has some experience returning kicks.
Separation Skills: Decent straight-line speed. He won’t run right past many corners at the next level but he has just enough speed to get over the top when he catches a corner sitting on a short route. Route running can be a little sloppy at times. He is definitely quick enough to make better breaks than he does, but he often rounds them off which will hurt him in the NFL. Shows good field awareness. Seems to always know where the sideline is and shows great control to stay in bounds when working the sideline. Has experience lining up in the slot and on the outside. At his best on the short routes; ran a lot of quick slants and curls at Cal.
Ball Skills: Does a great job tracking the deep ball and adjusting to put himself in position to make a play. Shows the quick reaction ability to adjust to poorly thrown balls, even on the shorter routes such as quick slants. Fairly consistent hands-catcher. Does a great job securing the ball quickly and turning upfield.
Intangibles: Coaches have spoken highly of his leadership skills
Durability: Missed time in 2012 offseason with an ankle injury. Suffered a knee injury in November which caused him to miss remainder of his senior year and may hinder his performance in offseason workouts.
Comments: Allen is an interesting prospect. Cal used him in much the same way they used DeSean Jackson but, physically, the two are very different receivers. Allen’s role in Cal’s offense was likely limited due to poor quarterback play – they simply didn’t have anyone that could consistently get him the ball downfield. As a result, the vast majority of his receptions came on short routes, within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. However, he has the size to be effective as a possession receiver on routes at the intermediate level. And while he lacks the speed to be a serious deep threat, he does have the size and athleticism to win jump balls on deeper routes. He’ll need to be groomed into this role at the next level, so his immediate impact may be minimal, but he clearly has the raw talent of a future No. 1.
Terrance Williams WR Baylor #2
Size/Athleticism: Prototypical height and overall build for an outside receiver. Great body control when working the sideline. Knows how to use his size to put himself in position to win the battle for jump balls. Gives a decent effort as a blocker and has the size to continue to improve. More dangerous with the ball in his hands than he gets credit for. Speed definitely isn’t elite, but he can make some guys miss and will break off some long runs.
Separation Skills: Limited straight-line speed. Doesn’t have that extra gear to lose defensive backs with his pure speed. Route running skills are fairly basic. Baylor offense didn’t require a complicated route tree. He ran a lot of go routes and curls in colleges and benefited from Baylor’s spread offense. He won’t consistently break free on the same routes at the next level. When running slightly more complicated routes, he doesn’t display the quickness in his breaks to consistently fool corners at the next level.
Ball Skills: Fairly reliable hands, but he’ll drop some easy ones when trying to turn up-field before securing the ball. Shows the ability to catch with his hands, but gets lazy and lets it get into his body at times. Tracks the deep ball and is able to adjust while it’s in the air. Does a nice job on jump balls, which should make him a quality red zone target. Tracks the ball and times his leap well and shows good body control when coming down along the sideline.
Intangibles: 5th year senior who will be a 24-year-old rookie.
Durability: Missed one game with an ankle injury in 2011.
Comments: Williams looks like a future solid No. 2 option in an NFL offense. He clearly has some physical limitations and he doesn’t do enough of the little things to make up for them. But he has fairly reliable hands and as he improves his route running he should be a reliable possession receiver on the outside. He’ll need some time to learn how to perfect NFL routes, but could contribute immediately in certain situations due to his size and ability to go up and fight for the ball in jump ball situations.
DeAndre Hopkins WR Clemson #6
Size/Athleticism: Adequate height and overall size. Strong enough to fight through press coverage. Shows great body control when working the sideline and adjusting to poorly thrown balls. Consistently finds a way to put himself into the best position to make a play.
Separation Skills: Lacks elite speed but has the ability to get over the top when he catches the defensive back off guard. One of the most polished route runners in this year’s draft class. Really excels at the nuances of his routes, sells his fakes and picks up those extra inches in separation that can prove to be the difference at the next level. Able to use double moves to gain that extra step that he needs to create separation on deep routes. Because defensive backs aren’t afraid of losing him over the top, he sees a lot of press coverage and typically does a nice job fighting through it.
Ball Skills: Reliable, but not elite hands. Rarely drops an easy catch, but doesn’t come up with a lot of tough catches when he’s hit immediately after getting his hands on the ball. Catches away from his body whenever possible and quickly secures the football. Frequently goes up and high points the ball. Despite his good hands, he’s not great in jump ball situations. Seems to lack that extra burst to allow him to explode upwards to gain the separation he needs to consistently win the battle with the defensive back.
Intangibles: No significant positives or negatives of note.
Durability: Suffered a concussion in a car accident in December, 2011.
Comments: Hopkins is arguably the most polished receiver in this year’s draft class. He lacks the measurables to be considered an elite prospect, but he has the tools to make an immediate impact. He lacks the speed to be an elite deep threat and lacks the size and strength to be an elite possession receiver, which makes me question his ability to be a true No. 1 in the NFL. But he is strong in all aspects of the game and should be a solid second or third option. He also has the skill set to excel in the slot. He reminds me of a faster version of Davone Bess, or a less physical version of Roddy White.
Cordarrelle Patterson WR Tennessee #84
Size/Athleticism: Prototypical height and build for a No. 1 receiver. A very good athlete for his size. Has experience running the wild cat and also occasionally lined up running back. Has 52 carries over the past two seasons between JUCO and Tennessee. Also returned kicks and punts. Definitely has the potential to contribute in multiple facets of the game. A dangerous runner with the ball in his hands. Once he secures the catch, he essentially becomes a running back. Has the size to go up and fight for the ball in traffic, but is still developing his technique in this area.
Separation Skills: Has the speed get over the top on deep routes. Route running needs some work. Only asked to run a fairly basic route tree at Tennessee. Most of his receptions came on drag and go routes, with an occasional post or comeback route mixed in. None of these required double moves and due to his speed he didn’t refine the nuances of the routes.
Ball Skills: Takes a very passive approach to catching the football. Consistently lets the ball come into his chest and rarely goes up to pluck the ball with his hands. Will need to learn to be aggressive at the next level. He made very few catches at Tennessee where Tyler Bray failed to put the ball on his numbers. He has the body control to put himself in position to make the difficult catches, but he just doesn’t have the technique down.
Intangibles: Did not qualify for NCAA eligibility academically out of high school which forced him to enroll at Hutchinson CC in Kansas.
Durability: No known injury concerns. Plays a physical style of football, especially after the catch and has remained durable throughout his career.
Comments: Patterson’s potential is obvious. He has the size, speed and overall athleticism to develop into a No. 1 at the next level. But he will definitely be limited early in his career. He reminds me somewhat of 2011 2nd-round pick Greg Little, who entered the league with elite potential but, as a converted running back, simply didn’t know how to play the position. Like Little, Patterson becomes a weapon once the ball is in his hands, but it may be a struggle to get him the ball at the next level. Patterson got away with catching the ball against his chest in college due to the windows that are open at that level, but in the NFL many passes that hit your chest will get broken up as corners will close significantly faster than they did in college. All of the concerns surrounding Patterson’s game can be fixed if he dedicates himself to learning the position, so NFL teams will want to learn more about how receptive he is to coaching and how quickly he picks up new techniques.
New Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton has yet to commit running a 3-4 or 4-3 defense, but regardless of the system he runs he’ll need another guy who can get to the quarterback. Jabaal Sheard is the Browns only legitimate pass-rush threat. A versatile prospect such as Dion Jordan or Jarvis Jones would make sense with the sixth pick.
2. Offensive Guard
Shaun Lauvao is about as bad as it gets for a starting guard in this league. Since coming into the league, Lauvao leads all guards in penalties and sacks allowed – in other words, it’s time to move on. The Browns may consider Chance Warmack in the first round due to his ability to improve their pass protection and open things up in the power running game for Trent Richardson.
The Browns may re-sign Sheldon Brown, which would solve this issue in the short term. But if Brown leaves, cornerback is a significant issue. Buster Skrine filled in briefly for Brown this year and was victimized consistently. He clearly isn’t anything more than a middle-of-the-road nickel corner. Dee Milliner could be an option with the sixth pick if they wish to create an elite tandem at corner between him and Joe Haden.