1. Tavon Austin Senior West Virginia
5083 173 4.35 E Projected first round pick
As quarterback Geno Smith was getting the attention of the nation during West Virginiaís incredible start to the season, NFL scouts were falling in love with Austin. NFL teams definitely prefer big receivers as there is concerned about the durability of short/small receivers and whether they can win vs. big cornerbacks. However, in Austinís case scouts are looking the other way because few receivers in the last decade have shown the level of acceleration, playing speed and game changing open field running ability that he has. No doubt Austin will need to improve his strength to fight through the best cornerback jams, but his ability to change directions and explode in the other direction will allow him to beat most jams. He is consistently able to get separation from man coverage because of his explosiveness out of his cuts. His explosive first step up the field and dynamic open field running ability make him a legit touchdown threat on every catch and kickoff return. Do not be shocked when Austin destroys the Combine and vaults into the rarefied air of a top ten pick for a receiver under 5-9.
2. Keenan Allen Junior California
6030 E 210 E 4.40 E Projected first round pick
Whether Allen is able to workout at 100% prior to the Draft is unknown after he suffered a torn PCL late
in Californiaís 2012 season, but he has shown enough on film to still warrant a first round grade. Blessed with a rare combination of size and sprinterís speed, Allen could be a big mover in the spring if he gets healthy enough to workout. Quick to get his head and hands around, he consistently plucks the ball, gets it tucked away and starts up the field fast after the catch. Allen has shown the elusiveness to make tacklers miss out in space, the speed to out-run angles and the strength to run through arm/grab tackles, which makes him the complete package when he has the ball in his hands.
3. Robert Woods Junior USC
6010 E 190 E 4.55 E Projected first / second round pick
While Austinís strength is his ability to change games with his speed, Woods is pretty much the opposite as he produces at a high level because of his size, sharp routes and rare hands. Woods has made a big impact since his freshmen season and although he has been out-shined by teammate Marquise Lee, I am confident he will be a productive starting receiver at the next level. His long strides hide his foot quickness and let him accelerate to full speed quicker than expected. Disguising his routes until the break point allows him to turn cornerbackís hips consistently. Making highlight reel catches has become the norm for Woods and with his height, long arms, jumping ability and ball skills he will make an immediate impact in the red-zone in the NFL. Even though he is not going to set any stopwatch records with his 40 time, Woods will run faster than expected because he is an under-rated athlete.
4. Justin Hunter Junior Tennessee
6040 E 200 E 4.45 E Projected second round pick
Although his skill set is different, Hunterís draft situation reminds me a lot of long-time NFL receiver Lee Evans. Hunter looked like a superstar receiver in 2011 with the potential to challenge to be a top five pick in the 2013 Draft, but then he tore the ACL in his left Knee late in the 2011 season.