Author's Note: Last year, before I became a Front Page Author, I posted a few pieces on the top college prospects at the very beginning of the college football season for '09-'10. This year, I wanted to do something similar but start it a bit earlier. There are roughly 22 positions (11 on each side of the ball) to focus on. Each week, leading up to the very first NCAA Football Game for the '10-'11 Season, I will take a look at one of the positions. Once I have finished reviewing every position, I will then start creating official college football discussion threads as a FanPost for those that care to talk about college football... or learn more for that matter; I know there were several people that benefited and learned quite a bit more about who was going to be entering the league this year. Each position will vary in the amount of players I cover. Number of players per position will range anywhere from 10-20 of the top prospects. I will be ranking them as to where I think they will be slotted in next years draft should they all enter. Mind you, these are just my opinions, but I feel that the rankings are going to be pretty close to the opinions of the rest of the Nation. I haven't seen any preseason player rankings yet, so it should be interesting to compare to once they come out.
Last weekend we had some great discussion on the '10-'11 potential running backs (Click here for link) that could be entering the draft in 2011. This week, we will take a look at 20 of the top receivers that will potentially be entering next years draft.
This was an unusual year for the draft as far as wide receivers were concerned. Many of the pundits had top prospect Dez Bryant being selected in the top 15. Most mock drafts had him going that high as well, some even had him being selected top 5. Bryant ended up being selected with the 24th overall pick in the draft to the Dallas Cowboys and was not even the first receiver to be picked. Demaryius Thomas was selected by Denver, with their first pick, at 22. Overall, there were 26 wide receivers selected in the 2010 NFL Draft which is close to 10 less than the average of what is normally picked at that specific position in a given draft.
Here is the breakdown of the receivers selected in each round:
22nd- Demaryius Thomas (Broncos)
24th- Dez Bryant (Cowboys)
39th- Arrelious Benn (Bucs)
87th- Eric Decker (Broncos)
101st- Mike Williams (Bucs)
191st- Dezmon Briscoe (Bengals)
195th- Antonio Brown (Steelers)
198th- David Gettis (Panthers)
206th- Kyle Williams (49ers)
222nd- Marc Mariani (Titans)
I am listing the draft picks here to illustrate that there was not that high of a demand for wide receivers this year. As you can see, there wasn't a huge push for them until the third round. Next year, I suspect that should change and go back to the normal 30-35 wide recevers selected. There was so much talent in this years draft, but it seems that the focus was geared more toward the defensive side of the ball. Trends are constantly evolving and changing in the NFL and sometimes the talent at a certain position can already be stacked up, as it seems was the case this past year. Several talented, young prospects went undrafted.
Click continue below to see the potential crop of receivers entering in 2011.
1. A.J. GREEN | 6'4", 207 LBS. | GEORGIA BULLDOGS- Although Julio Jones could be the very first receiver selected in next years draft due to the amount of attention he will get, I don't think there is a better receiver potentially entering the 2011 Draft than A.J. Green. He is arguably the most explosive wide receiver in college football and reminds me quite a bit of Randy Moss. (((Click here for Highlights)))
2. JULIO JONES | 6'4", 211 LBS. | ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE- Jones is incredibly sure-handed with speed to match. I don't think I have ever seen a better stiff arm from a wide receiver at any level than what Jones possesses. He without question makes small defensive backs pay. As I mention above, I think there is a chance, due to hype, that Jones could go before Green should they both declare. But it's my belief that Green would be the one who ultimately has the better career of the two. Jones' production will need to go up this year though which could be difficult to do with a teammate and running back like Mark Ingram. (((Click here for Highlights)))
3. GREG LITTLE | 6'3", 215 LBS | NORTH CAROLINA TARHEELS- Greg Little was one of the best wide outs in NCAA Football last year. I anticipate that he is only going to grow and go up from here. He is a tall target with break away speed. It would not surprise me one bit if he ended up being a first round selection next year. There is always a sleeper every year in college football, someone who breaks out and has a fantastic season. Little could very well be that guy that blows everyone away. (((Click here for Highlights)))
4. GREG SALAS | 6'2", 210 LBS. | HAWAII WARRIORS- Salas will be a senior for the Warriors this year and a lot will be expected of him. Unfortunately, he plays in a conference that goes overlooked a lot of times. The numbers Salas put up last year were phenomenal. If he can repeat success in the upcoming season, there is no reason he should not be selected very high. (((Click here for Highlights)))
5. MICHAEL FLOYD | 6'3", 220 LBS. | NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH- It's too bad for Floyd that he had to play in the shadow of a player like Golden Tate. Had it not been for that, Floyd would have easily been the top receiver for Jimmy Clausen last year. This year will be all his to shine and I believe he'll get it done. I will even go as far as to say that I think Floyd has the potential to be better than Tate at the next level. (((Click here for Highlights)))
6. ARMON BINNS | 6'4", 200 LBS. | CINCINNATI BEARCATS- With the departure of Mardy Gilyard, it will be the Binns show in Cincinnati. Here is another receiver, much like Michael Floyd, that had mounds of potential but played as the number two to a very dynamic receiver. Binns has already proven that he is a threat, and this year he chould be able to amplify that quite a bit. (((Click here for Highlights)))
7. RONALD JOHNSON | 6'0", 190 LBS. | USC TROJANS- Johnson will have his chance to shine in the sun. The Southern California sun to be exact. Johnson will undoubtedly be Sophomore Matt Barkley's number one target this year. There may not be a better wide receiver in the Pac-10 in the upcoming season. (((Click here for Highlights)))
8. JONATHAN BALDWIN | 6'5", 211 LBS. | PITTSBURGH PANTHERS- There will be a plethra of very tall receivers entering the draft next year. I am not sure if that is by coincedence, or that big schools are targeting guys that the smaller defensive backs cannot cover. Either way, Baldwin could very well end up being projected higher than this. He was the number one deep threat last year for the Panthers and he will be the number one target for the '10-'11 Season. (((Click here for Highlights)))
9. FRANTRELL FOREST | 6'2", 200 LBS. | UAB BLAZERS- #7 will be at the top of the watch list for a lot of NFL Scouts. Forest is a small school guy with big game ability. I am really excited to see more of this guy play. His ablity reminds me a lot of a Tory Holt or someone of that nature. He has a really good opportunity to push his name in to the top ten as a receiver. I believe he will do just that. (((Click here for Highlights)))
10. LEONARD HANKERSON | 6'3", 215 LBS. | MIAMI HURRICANES- If you're ready to be rocked like a hurricane, get ready to watch the whirlwind combination of Leonard Hankerson and Jacory Harris. I expect the two will be hooking up quite a bit this year. Hankerson could be ranked higher than this by season end, but he still has much to prove at this point in his collegiate career. For now this is the slot I have him, but by year end, I fully expect him to be knocking at the door as a top five wide receiver. (((Click here for Highlights)))
11. AUSTIN PETTIS | 6'3", 201 LBS. | BOISE STATE BRONCOS- (((Click here for Highlights)))
12. TERRANCE TOLIVER | 6'5", 206 LBS. | LSU TIGERS- (((Click here for Highlights)))
13. MARK DELL | 6'2", 200 LBS | MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS- (((Click here for Highlights)))
14. JOCK SANDERS | 5'7", 180 LBS. | WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS- (((Click her for Highlights)))
15. MALCOLM WILLIAMS | 6'3", 221 LBS. | TEXAS LONHORNS- (((Click here for Highlights)))
16. JAMES RODGERS | 5'7", 185 LBS. | OREGON STATE BEAVERS- (((Click here for Highlights)))
17. RYAN BROYLES | 5'11", 180 LBS. | OKLAHOMA SOONERS- (((Click here for Highlights)))
18. DARVIN ADAMS | 6'3", 190 LBS. | AUBURN TIGERS- (((Click here for Highlights)))
19. TITUS YOUNG | 5'11", 175 LBS. | BOISE STATE BRONCOS- (((Click here for Highlights)))
20. RYAN WHALEN | 6'2", 205 LBS. | STANFORD CARDINAL- (((Click here for Highlights)))
NOTE: These rankings are preseason rankings. They should be taken with a grain of salt. Obviously opinions will differ on some of these rankings, but until the 2010-2011 season is close to winding down, we won't really know where any of these players stand for sure. And even after that potentially. Feel free to post your thoughts on your favorite NCAA wide receivers.